Gunby: And They Call the Wind “Mariah”
Tee it Up
Spring has sprung and one of the challenges we face at this time of year is the wind. And in Prescott, the wind blows a lot. Almost all golfers dread playing in the wind as it really wreaks havoc on 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 they brought up that you may want to consider.
We all know the wind can burn the skin. Boom-Boom, one of these respected players, needs lots of protection from the sun so he wears a wide-brim hat with lots of sunscreen lotion. 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. 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. Many players who have tremors use these tees all the time.
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 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.
If you are new to this area, these winds will continue until the “monsoon” season and when fall arrives, get ready for what I think, is the best time of year to play golf. The courses are beautiful and in great shape and the temperatures are moderate with very little wind.
John Gunby Sr. is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.