Working Out Distance In Windy Conditions


When you’re playing golf, a number of factors will influence how well you can play. Aside from your actual skill level, there are obviously many things which can affect performance such as the clubs you’re using, the clothes you’re wearing, and of course the weather.

One of the main meteorological factors that has an influence on the success of a particular shot is the wind. It’s usually completely unpredictable, but it can actually make a big difference when it comes to where the ball actually lands after you hit it compared to where you originally intended it to land.

It is possible to figure out a good estimate of how the wind might impact your next shot, allowing you to make adjustments accordingly. You should start with the following tips:

  • Check the weather forecast to see how strong the wind is likely to be and what direction it will probably be coming from. You can even check for live updates on your phone (if you haven’t left it behind to relax during your game, of course).
  • Buy a handheld anemometer, which can give you plenty of useful information about the wind speed, temperature and so on at your current location.
  • The simplest method for golfers is to simply rip a small handful of grass and toss it up in the air to judge the direction and approximate strength of the wind.
  • As an alternative to the grass method, you can try checking the clouds directly above you to confirm the direction in which the wind is currently blowing.

Once you get some experience, you should be able to approximately estimate what the speed of the wind is at your location on the golf course as well as the direction of it. This gives you all the information you need to compensate for these conditions when you take your next shot. First, though, you need to calculate the adjusted distance you should be aiming for.

  • For a headwind, add 1% to the distance you’re aiming for based on every 1mph of wind. For example, to make a 100-yard shot with a 5mph headwind, you’ll need to treat the distance as 105 yards.
  • Downwind has slightly less impact, but it’s the opposite effect, so you need to take 0.5% off your intended distance for every 1mph of wind to avoid overshooting. Following this rule, the same 100-yard shot with a 5mph wind from behind can be made if you aim for 98 yards.
  • Crosswinds may be unpredictable but they don’t typically affect your distance. There is no calculation you can do to correct any deviation here.