Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club


Ride The Wind

By Sean Foley Photos by J.D. Cuban
February 24, 2015

I don't know of any caddie-player team on the PGA Tour that competes without knowing two things: (1) The prevailing wind direction for the round and (2) the wind direction at any given moment. It's against the rules to use a compass during a round, but you can use a weather app on your phone to find out the wind speed and direction. Don't underestimate the importance of this in determining club selection and shot shape.


Although you might know what to do into the wind—take more club and swing easier—downwind shots tend to cause players fits, because the ball often reacts counter to what you might expect. Unless you hit a shot on a fairly high trajectory, it won't ride the wind. Instead, it will get knocked down because of a reduction in backspin, and the expected distance gains won't materialize. To take advantage of a breeze at your back, first set up to hit a higher shot: Address the ball farther forward, and let your spine tilt away from the target a little (right). For this tee shot, I have the ball aligned with the heel of my front foot. You can see my shoulders are tilted back.

Even though your front shoulder will be much higher than your back shoulder, keep some weight on your front foot so you can shift toward the target on the downswing. To hit it higher, a good swing thought is: Stay behind the ball.

Sean Foley is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.