Making a golf ball do what you want it to do on a calm day is tough enough, but when the wind begins to blow, it can be a real challenge, even for the world's best golfers.
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That was the case Wednesday in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda. Even world No. 1 Rory McIlroy had to acclimate himself to the changing conditions.
"The wind's up a little bit and from a slightly different direction," McIlroy said. "It's a little tricky out there today."
For Bubba Watson, trying to putt while being buffeted by the wind might be more difficult than trying to shape a shot.
LESSON LEARNED: Tips for putting on a windy day
So what can you do to combat windy conditions? PGA professional Nicole Weller of The Landings Club in Savannah, Ga., offers five tips for amateurs to keep the ball low and in control:
1. When it’s breezy, swing it easy. Don’t fight the wind, work with it. Allow the ball to ride the wind when downwind and plan for it in club choice into the wind.
2. Sometimes when hitting an approach shot into the wind, it’s pretty cool to take 1-2 clubs extra, depending on the wind’s force and plan for the ball to be hit so that it would end up past the hole but then watch as the wind "knocks it down" right near the flagstick.
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3. Into the wind, I find success teeing the ball higher so I can level out the approach to the shot and send it more driving into the air instead of teeing it lower and having to then go down after the ball, creating more cut and spin that lifts it too high into the air.
4. If the flag is blowing pretty hard, I’d club up or down one club or play at least 5-10 yards left or right to allow for drift. If the flagstick is actually bending a lot in the wind, I’d club up or down 2-3 clubs or play at least 10-15 yards left or right to allow for drift.
5. Stinger or three-quarter punch shots into the wind can hold the lines fairly well. Instead of a high sweeping finish with low irons, take one or two extra clubs and use all the energy in a three-quarters swing with a finish pointing right at the target, not up into the sky.