When tracking statistics for PGA Tour professionals, certain factors do contribute to higher scores. High rough, fast greens and wind are the three biggies. The higher rough puts a premium on putting the ball in the fairway and hitting greens. The high rough around the green places some element on luck. Catching a good lie can make the difference in whether the player can “predict” the way the ball will come out and what it will do on the green once it lands on it. Fast greens demand a more skilled player with better touch and imagination and being able to place the ball in position to have up hill putts verses the defensiveness of the dreaded down hillier. Wind, though, provides the golfer the challenge of club and shot selection and the great challenge of staying steady over the putts and controlling speed.
A 10 mile an hour wind can actually be fun! Playing a little more or a little less club while coming into the green or aiming a little more left or right to adjust to a cross wind. Into or down wind can also cause the ball to stop quickly or to release another 20 to 30 feet. You will also need to do this with the chip and pitch shot. Just don’t try to adjust to going into the wind by trying to get there by hitting the ball harder. This is a rookie error. The ball will spin more, climb up ward quicker and actually travel shorter. I think a 10 mile an hour wind usually causes me to take one maybe two clubs more so I don’t try to hit harder. By clubbing up it will actually cause you to swing more within yourself and help you maintain your rhythm and tempo.
Playing in more than a ten mile per hour wind say 15 to 25 is very challenging. I played for several years on the Australasian Tour and had to learn quickly how to play in the wind. Most of the tournaments played in Australia are in or around the coast. When the temperatures rose, the wind would pick up. Every afternoon round was usually played in up to 20 mile per hour winds. You would sometimes need three extra clubs in this wind just to get the ball to the green. I have hit four-irons from 140 yards before when that club usually would go 185 to 190. I also learned how to play “knock down shots.” For the more experienced player, this shot needs to be a staple in the bag for all kinds of situations. The knock down is simply a shot that flights low and bores through the wind. When the ball flies lower it is less affected by the wind. Mostly though, the good to average player should just remember to take PLENTY of club and swing smooth.This will keep the ball a little lower and keep the ball from flying way off line.
Finally, in the wind, you must have a good short game. Playing the wind on chips and putts is very challenging. The wind moves you around when putting and can actually push the ball around on the green. Widening the stance can help stabilize you so the wind doesn’t push you around and you can stay still. Remember, when the wind is up, so to will the scores be so pars become really very good. Hang tough, use your imagination and you might surprise yourself with how well you can do when others are struggling!