Playing Links Golf: Conquer the Wind
By Abby Parsons, PGA
Muirfield has hosted of sixteen Open Championships, the 1973 Ryder Cup and the 2022 AIG Women's Open. Getty Images
The LPGA Tour is closing out the 2022 Major Championship season this week at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield – where the game’s best will take on conditions that are windier than most.
Muirfield has one of the most unique layouts in all of links golf. The majority of links courses play along a coast where both nines face roughly the same direction; however, the home of the 2022 Women’s Open does not follow this structure.
The pair of nines on this spectacular golf course run in two loops, one clockwise and one counterclockwise. With this layout – the players can expect to experience a different wind direction on nearly every hole.
Another example of unique wind patterns is Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, where I serve as a PGA Professional. This very distinct layout makes the average, and not so average, golfer a bit uneasy when they feel the wind. Although the Pete Dye design has a layout that is more like a standard links course of playing along a coast, a golfer can experience up to three different wind directions (IF the wind isn’t swirling) during a round. For those who play in these unique conditions, and even those who play regularly, checking the wind direction on a weather app is a must before teeing off.
And the players teeing it up at Muirfield this week are going to wish they only had three different wind directions to worry about.
There are several different approaches to conquering the wind on a golf course. Many prefer to shape their shot against the wind to play a straight ball, and many utilize a shot that matches the wind direction to increase their distance. When the wind is howling in your face, it is best to swing for a low ball flight to attempt to pierce through the breeze. The shot tracer this week is going to paint a beautiful picture.
The most creative and imaginative golfer this week will be the one hoisting the trophy on Sunday. Keep an eye out as players throw grass in the air, it is going to look different just about every single toss. It’s going to be a fun week in Scotland. Enjoy.