If you watched the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Maui, you witnessed the best golfers in the world challenged by the forces of Mother Nature. If it wasn’t the pouring rain wreaking havoc on their psyches, it was the hurricane like winds blowing their golf balls off the greens. As we like to say here in Hawaii: “It’s paradise, not heaven.”
Tour players have the luxury of resetting on the range, locker room or hotel room when they are called off the course. We average golfers are stuck somewhere on the course. The best way to keep your round going when it is not is to stay organized and prepared for all conditions. I will give you some tips that will help the next time you have to stop, reset, and then play golf.
Usually when the wind is blowing so hard that you have to stop your round, you might want to evaluate if it is safe enough to continue. Golf courses will pull players off the course if they sense a risk to injury. Being whacked by tree limbs and other debris is no fun. But if you are one of those brave souls who want to continue on, here are some ideas:
1) Own a good windbreaker or rain-top: Pretty simple, but you’d be amazed how improper insulation results in loss of heat and saps you of body fuel. Make sure it’s a little loose so you have room to swing. Dri Fit or Thermal Fit will cost around $50 to 80. It’s the best investment you will make.
2) Swing Easy. Especially into the wind. Swinging hard increases the dynamic loft of the clubhead and causes to the ball to curve upward. Remember: "When it’s breezy, swing easy."
3) Widen your base. Increasing the width of your stance will not only help stabilize you, but it will flatten your downward arc. That will help your ball trajectory to penetrate through the wind.
1) See #1 above
2) Always keep your grips dry. Did you notice how those caddies were always wiping their players' clubs? Too many amateurs grab the club out of our bag, hit the ball, and then complain that the club slipped. A good, wide umbrella and plenty of towels will save a lot of shots. So, stay organized.
On a mental note, resetting is not easy. During your down time, remain positive. Don’t focus on the weather, but on your ability to hit it solid and to maintain a strong mental fortitude. As always, a positive approach will go a long way.
Eddie Lee PGA
Two-time Aloha Section Teacher of the Year