March winds require adjustments on the course

We have had some severe winds this winter and the month of March is typically windier. There are a number of adjustments you can make in your swing and club selection when playing in the wind.

Here are some tips that might be useful:

If the wind is in your face:

  • Take one extra club for every 10 mph. If you normally would hit a 7 iron, go with the 6 iron.
  • Look at the tree tops in the distance and see what they are doing; when hitting to a green, look at the flagstick and see which way the flag is blowing.
  • Widen your stance and flare out both toes; this helps lower your center of gravity and helps with your balance.
  • Choke down on the club and take a controlled three-quarter backswing at a 75 percent speed.
  • Play the ball one inch farther back in your stance and lean your weight a little more on your target side.
  • Learn to hit a "knock-down" shot with an abbreviated follow through.
  • Remember to "swing easy when it's breezy" into the wind.

If the wind is behind you:

  • This is one time when you can swing harder with your clubs because it will create more spin and make the ball stop when it gets on the green.
  • On tee shots, you might want to hit a 3-wood or tee your driver up higher.
  • When hitting into the green, use one less club with your weight neutral or slightly behind the ball.

Playing in a cross wind:

There are two theories of playing crosswind shots and it has to do with your level of ability.

  • Beginners should play in the same direction of the wind and let the wind take the ball; thus if the wind is blowing left to right, aim left of the target.
  • Better players can play in the opposite direction of the crosswind. If the wind is blowing left to right, they can close their stance, play the ball back in their stance and hit a right to left shot which will counteract the wind and produce a fairly straight shot.

Putting in the wind:

  • Wind can really affect your putting. Widen your stance to get a lower center of gravity to help with your balance. It is important to keep your lower body quiet.
  • Use a shorter stroke when you are putting with the wind and lengthen your stroke when putter into the wind.
  • Maintain a consistent tempo and don't speed up or slow down your stroke.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses.; www.

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