First of all how does the average amateur handle windy conditions? Most swing harder and faster, but unfortunately that is the last thing you should be doing. Harder and faster swings lead to more mistakes, which are then compounded by the windy conditions. What you think would work, is often the opposite of what actually does work!
The very first thing you should do when playing in the wind is to throw up grass to see which way the wind is blowing where you are. Next, have a look at the trees around where your ball is going to be going to see what way the wind is blowing there. If there are no trees in that area, look at the flag. Lastly use your ears to hear the wind and this will help you to tell how strong it is. Once youve assessed the situation you should then follow the pointers below.
Into the Wind:
When playing into the wind you should take one, two or even three clubs more than usual and swing normally. Also grip down on the grip so your swing will be automatically shorter. Because the shorter your swing the lower the ball will go (generally).
Plus to help you keep the ball lower you should play the ball further back in your stance. And over all shots into a wind, widen your stance because this helps to create better balance and it also lowers your center of gravity, which can only help.
You have two options in this situation. You can play your natural ball flight and either ride or fight the wind or you can purposely curve the ball to either go with the wind or go into it. There is no right or wrongs here so you must see what works best for you.
With the Wind:
In these situations you should use the wind and get the ball up as soon as possible. If you dont hit your driver particularly high then use a 3 or 5 wood instead. Let the loft of your club get your ball up in the air but by all means tee the ball higher. Lastly, have fun with these shots and see how far you can hit it.
One last point. Remember everyone finds it more difficult in the wind so dont beat yourself up if a few shots, or even more than a few, go astray because the same thing is going to happen to everyone else. Expect the scores to be higher and go out on the day with a positive attitude. One of fun and experimentation. Good luck!