Into The Breeze: Fight the urge to swing harder; an easier swing will keep the ball down.
The players who get it done in the wind are the ones who don't try to fight it. They don't swing harder or moan about bad luck. They focus on hitting the ball solidly, because a solid shot will fly true in a pretty stiff breeze, but a weak shot is hopeless.
Let's focus on playing into the wind, because that's the shot that gets most golfers. Obviously, you want to keep the ball low to neutralize the conditions. Best advice? Take a couple extra clubs, and swing at 75 percent. Fast swings create more backspin and send the ball higher, so resist the urge to smash it.
Play the ball an inch farther back than normal in your stance, and squat a little at address for stability. Then make a three-quarter swing, and try to stay more "on top of" the ball. Feel like your nose is ahead of the ball at impact, and your right hip and shoulder stay high through the strike. You're hitting down on it, trapping it against the turf.
Last point: Wind in your face will exaggerate any curve. If you play a draw or fade, give the ball more room to turn. But don't forget my big key: Take more club, and go easier. When it blows, you'll fleece your buddies.
Your finish can tell you a lot about how well you're swinging, and it's much easier to check than any in-swing position. Make sure your right shoulder is closer to the target than your left and almost all of your weight is on your front foot (right). The shaft should be angled across your back or neck, and you should be able to easily keep your balance. Checking your finish is a great way to monitor your swing, on the range or on the course.
BUTCH HARMON, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Rio Secco, in Henderson, Nev.