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How You Can Play Better In The Wind: Controlling Trajectory

How You Can Play Better In The Wind: Controlling Trajectory

There are some absolute certainties that you will face when you play the game of golf. It’s not like basketball or hockey, where you’ll face the same conditions every time you play. Golf is unique in the sense that there are always environmental factors that you will have to deal with. You could play the same course for the rest of your life and it will play differently every single time.

The biggest environmental factor you’ll face is the weather. No matter how long you have been playing, you’ve probably played in some weather that makes you question why you’re even out playing in it! One environmental factor you’re guaranteed to play in, no matter rain or shine, is the wind. 

The wind can add a tremendous amount of strokes per round if you don’t know how to play the wind. It affects your ball and ultimately your club selection so being able to hit the right shots will allow you to make the right decisions for your game on the course. To play the right shots, one skill you should learn so you can play better in the wind, is how to control your trajectory.

What Is Trajectory?

First step to becoming a better wind player is understanding trajectory and how the wind will affect your ball. There is no 100% accurate, sure fire way to judge the wind but there are ways you can create a formula for you to go by. Our own Golf Fanatics coach, Andrew Rice, has worked with PING Engineer, Chris Broadie, on developing a wind formula that will help the everyday golfer like you. We strongly encourage you to take a look at it to learn how to judge your distances in the wind!

After using the wind formula, you can determine what distance you need to hit. For example, say you’re 165 yards out and the wind is blowing straight back into your face. You wouldn’t hit your normal 165 yard club as you would come up short due to launching your ball up into the wind. You would want a much lower shot to cut through the wind and get the distance you’re looking for. You do that by controlling your trajectory. But what does controlling your trajectory entail?

Trajectory is the peak height that the ball will get off of the ground. You’ve probably seen this watching a professional golf event as they show the tracer of the pro’s shot. You won’t be able to hit lower shots just by adjusting your loft. It requires both loft and speed!

The higher a player’s club speed, less loft is needed. The slower a player’s club speed, the more loft is needed. If two players were to hit their 7-irons with the same launch angle, one has 120 mph ball speed, the other has a 90 mph ball speed, those two balls will have significantly different peak heights. Being able to control your loft at impact (which is known as dynamic loft) you will find that you can control your trajectory.

Dynamic Loft

Being able to control your dynamic loft at impact will make you a better ball striker and wind player. One of the best ways to make adjustments in your swing is to create a certain feel and that’s no different when it comes to dynamic loft. To understand what dynamic loft should feel like you should grab a club and try this!

Creating Dynamic Loft

  1. You’ll want to start by grabbing a club (let’s say a 7-iron for this example) and hold it straight out in front of you with your normal grip. 
  1. You’ll then want to close the face down about 30 degrees.
  1. Hold that closed face! Now you want to push the handle and your hips forward to the point at which your face returns back to its original vertical position.

Repeat the three steps above and you now have the feeling of where you need to be at impact. If you take a look at that same position in your normal golf swing, you’ll notice that position allows you to deloft the club!

You can create the loft but now it’s time to execute the shot. If you want to strike the ball consistently at a lower trajectory you’ll want to make a few adjustments in your setup

The Setup

This shot isn’t made for extra distance. It’s made to help you control the ball. To do that your setup will need to be slightly different from your normal setup.

  • You want to create a stance that is slightly narrower than your normal stance. When you make a narrow stance it causes you to reduce your swing leading to lower trajectories and less distance. Just keep that in mind when you pull this shot off!
  • You’ll also want the ball further back in your stance than normal.
  • Your weight should be on your front foot (75% to 25%).
  • Take the shot! When you do, you want to have the feeling that your hands and handle are significantly in front of the ball at impact. 


You can’t always play golf in perfect weather. Although we wish you could! There will be environmental challenges that you will face and the beauty about the game of golf is that you will have to play through them. Wind is no exception, but you now know how the pros play so well in those rough conditions. Although we don’t want to say it, the off-season will be here before you know it and those tougher conditions will start coming into play more frequently. So now is the time to work on this part of your game! Get out there and be the best wind player on the course.

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