Gusting winds in Parker, Colo., on Monday made holes the like the par-3 11th play all the more difficult. (The PGA of America)
Strong winds whip Colorado Golf Club on Monday
Winds gusting upwards of 50 mph whipped across Colorado Country Club on Monday, making the first practice day for the 71st Senior PGA 'non-productive' for some who played.
PARKER, Colo. -- PGA Head Professional Graham Cliff has been a fixture with Colorado Golf Club since the club's origin in 2006, but he had not witnessed anything like the gusts Monday that pounded the site of the 71st Senior PGA Championship.
"I thought I had seen it all living here, as far as wind, until today," admitted Cliff. "You have to believe the locals when it comes to talking about the weather. They say that until the snow is gone from the top of Pike's Peak, there will be a breeze."
The National Weather Service (NWS) reported Monday afternoon that a storm system crossing Colorado brought along high wind warnings over the northeast plains. The NWS also announced that while mild temperatures in the high 60s and sunshine abounded in the greater Denver area, wind speed averaged between 35 and 50 miles per hour, with some gusts as high as 70.
Cliff reported that 36 players in the Senior PGA Championship field were able to get in practice rounds Monday before the afternoon gusts set in. In all, 110 competitors in the Championship officially registered Monday.
"It was unplayable on the greens," said PGA Professional Jeff Roth of Farmington, N.M., who stopped to gaze south across the practice range toward Pike's Peak. "I love this golf course, but I could only see myself playing nine holes. After that, it was non-productive."
Roth, who had the bulk of his career in Michigan before landing a new position last March at San Juan Country Club in Farmington, said wind also played havoc at his home course.
"We had continual gusts around 30 miles per hour for the previous eight weeks," said Roth. "You think that you can adapt to it, but there are limits. I know that I am very pleased to be in this Championship, and we will look for the wind to die down here and we can all set out to see what we can do on this course."
"The wind is expected to die down this evening and we should gradually be coming back to normal by Wednesday," Cliff said. "There was no damage to the golf course."
Willis Young, the on-site meteorologist for the Champions Tour, said that winds on Tuesday should be between 10 and 20 miles per hour, with gusts up to 25.