Wind putting. Did that hurt your ears? I didn’t even censor it. Putting in the wind is a curse in disc golf and no one ever wants to hear that terrible phrase uttered as they’re walking out to the course. Sadly we must face it, especially those of us in windy geographies like the Midwest where the wind whips around the bend.
Your solution? Most likely to automatically find the heaviest most overstable putter available and throw that brick at the chains. If not, then good for you! There certainly is a time when fighting the wind is felicitous, but please consider all your options first. Wind is such a powerful and prominent force that it’s often the wiser choice to putt with the wind.
How do you putt with the wind when it’s coming right at you? What I mean is you should know how the wind will affect your disc and use it to your advantage. Knowing that a strong headwind will push my putter toward the sky, I’ll often use a lighter weight understable putter and throw it low to the right of the basket and let the wind carry it up to the left. The reason this can be a better option than fighting the wind is because missing with a soft, well placed throw has a lower chance of flying errant than missing with forcefull throw at or above basket level which may be blown into the three putt range.
What else can you plan for? Well, first know your putting style whether it’s hyzer or anhyzer, push or spin, wind has different effects on different putting styles. Then consider the depth of your putter and its glide, the deeper your putter and the more it floats the more exaggerated the wind effect will be. Also, more spin on your putter will lead to more glide, but will also lead to a more controllable flight in the wind. I am a right handed spin putter (typically anhyzer) and here’s what I expect the wind to do to my disc.
Headwind: With a nose up release it pushes my disc up and left, with a nose down release it sends my disc straight down.
Tailwind: Pushes my putter down, usually a little left when I release on an anhyzer line, sometimes a little right if I throw a hyzer putt.
Left-Right Sidewind: Throws my putter slightly up and drastically right on my straight or anhyzer lines, or almost straight down on a hyzer putt.
Right-Left Sidewind: Drops my putter nearly straight down on an anhyzer line, kicks my putter high from a straight line, flings my putter high and left on a hyzer line.
Tornado whirlwind: I’ve never stayed around to find out but I’ll take recommendations.
Think of it this way, putting is about accuracy. If you’re fighting your way to the basket then you’re likely using more force than finesse and that causes a dramatic decrease in accuracy. Instead of strong-arming your putt, understand how the wind will affect your putt so you can place your putter on the appropriate line for the wind to alter the path toward the basket.
In my closing remarks, I’ll reiterate that it’s a grand idea to consider all options before instinctively reaching for your heavy, overstable putter to fight the wind. I still use that wind fighting putter especially in a light breeze or in extremely unpredictable gusts, but I carefully consider if that’s the best option and frequently use the wind to help me find the basket. Finesse not force.