Today kicks off the 2010 Open Championship. After a 5 year hiatus, the golfers have returned to the home of their game in St Andrews, Scotland. But Just like at last years Open Championship, they are going to be faced with some nasty winds, heavy rain, and some low flying clouds.
The weather ALWAYS plays a factor on a golf course, but hits especially hard on a links track like St Andrews. Calm, dry days allow players to take more risks and concentrate on ball-striking, which can be difficult because of the different turf and soil conditions found on a links course.
But crank up the wind or throw in some sprinkles of rain and it’s back to square one. Golfers are forced to play conservatively, and an errant shot can be much tougher to come back under bad conditions.
So here are some tips to remember the next time you’re caught in the elements:
Rainy Day Play
- Keep your grips and clubheads clean and dry. Make sure you’ve got a towel or two in your bag, and wipe everything down after each shot.
- “Sweep” the ball. Hit the ball cleanly with more of a sweeping motion; your club head will tend to dig or catch in wet grass otherwise.
- Club up. Wet weather means heavier air, so your shots won’t go as far as they do normally. Club up one or two clubs until you get a feel for how the ball is flying.
- Greens will be slower. Wet greens will slow your ball down considerably, so add some muscle to your chips, or try to land them closer to the pin than normal since they won’t as much. Same goes with putts.
Blowin’ In The Wind
These tips are for playing into the wind.
- Club up. Strong winds may need more than one club up, but watch for sudden gusts or calms that can throw you off.
- Choke up. Grip the club with a short handle and try for more of a punch shot. The low trajectory will save you some distance and increase your control, which should keep you in the fairway.
- Stay smooth. Don’t try to overpower the wind, keep your swing speed steady.
For a crosswind, adjust your aim to the appropriate side. Clubbing up isn’t a bad idea, either.
For playing downwind, remember to club down! You might want to try teeing your ball a little higher on your drives – getting the ball into the “jetstream” can add up to 30 yards to your drives!
– Scratch The Caveman
Rock Heads: Add your bad weather tips in the comments below! What’s the worst weather you’ve seen on a golf course?