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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
6:30 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Gunby: In Prescott, they call the wind ‘Mariah’

Tee It Up

One of the weather challenges we face playing golf is the wind. And in Prescott, the wind blows a lot. Almost all golfers dread playing in the wind as it really plays havoc with their game.

I recently held a round table discussion with some experienced local amateurs about playing golf in the wind and just want to share with you some ideas that they brought up that you may want to consider.

We all know the wind can burn the skin. Boom-Boom, one of these esteemed players, needs lots of protection from the sun so he wears a wide-brim hat. To keep his hat from getting blown into the next county, he utilizes a strap on it. Dark Cloud, a well revered player in the area, breaks the wind by wearing a windbreaker or long sleeves, even in the summer. This keeps him from getting wind-burned.

DB, who needs eye protection from dust and pollen, wears sunglasses, the type that wraps around and has a strap on it. And CK, who has a tough time teeing his golf ball up and is a victim of his balls from falling off regular tees when it is windy, uses “Martini” tees.

Tour players can “work” the ball – shape the shots to minimize the effects of the wind. For a right-handed player, they may want to fade a shot into the green when facing a right to left wind and draw the ball when facing a left to right wind.

This takes a lot more talent than most of us have. So here are a few tips for you.

As far as the execution of shots while playing in the wind, these well-respected players agreed on one thing: “When it is breezy, swing easy.” A lot of players try to hit the ball harder when a strong wind is in their face. Most of the time, this type of hit produces lots of backspin and sidespin. Guess where the ball goes? Not where it was intended, that’s for sure. When you swing easy, you produce less spin (side and back) and thus have more control. Leave your ego at home and use more club with less loft.

Most right-handed players consistently hit a fade or slice. If you are in this majority, and the wind is from left to right, accept the fact that your ball will travel a lot farther from left to right, will run once it hits the ground, and play for it. If the wind is from the right, aim for a straight shot and let the wind hold your natural fade/slice relatively on line. Just remember that it will not travel or run as far as when the wind is from left.

Depending on the green speed, you may have to adjust for the wind on your putts. Balance is critical, and no more critical than when putting. Sometimes widening your stance or adopting a knock-kneed stance (like Arnold Palmer) helps you keep your lower body stable in the wind.

Right now, our courses are suffering, and many holes are extremely dry. Soon, our “Monsoon” weather will arrive and along with the rain, the winds will die down. Nature’s wet, liquid sunshine will be like gold to our courses, making them green and lush. Then we must adjust to playing golf in wetter conditions for, hopefully, a few months. I agree with our respected panel in that we all welcome the monsoons.

John Gunby Sr. is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Reach him by email at sportsdesk@prescottaz.com.