One of my favorite golf sayings is, “Nae wind, nae golf.”
Try telling that to the pros, who had their share of complaints after the first round of this year’s Valero Texas Open, when winds blew well over 30 miles per hour.
Only 12 players broke par...and a staggering 31 failed to break 80.
A few even withdrew from the tournament rather than face the wind!
Everyone who faced the wind had a lot to contend with...
Rough weather -- especially wind -- can turn some pros into crybabies, but I'd argue true lovers of the game delight in the challenge of playing golf the way it was originally played.
And although the British Isles and Ireland are famous for their many wonderful wind-exposed layouts, you don't need to cross the pond to enjoy a windy golf experience.
We know where you can (and should) go right here in the USA.
Imagine a golf course so windy that, for fear of normal flagsticks blowing out of the cups, uses short ones that are commonly found on putting greens!
That course is not in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland, but rather in Rhode Island. It is the quiet Point Judith Country Club, a Donald Ross design. I have not had the pleasure of playing it (please comment below if you have!).
I have, however, played the nearby Newport National Golf Club, a public Arthur Hills track where winds can rip across the land at up to 50 miles per hour, which I experienced in a junior golf tournament some years ago. That made the already-challenging course tough as nails, but it was still fair due to the wide fairways on the open site.
It’s a good rule that any course on the ocean is going to get its fair share of breezes. Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course is certainly one of those, as is the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort, which tends to be overshadowed by other top Florida resort courses. The Nicklaus-designed layout has as many holes on the ocean as any in Florida, with the long par four ninth and 18th holes clinging to the coast. Even though they play about the same length when I last played the course, due to the wind I hit a driver and five wood into number nine and a driver and eight iron into 18.
One course known for ever-present wind is the Links at Brigantine Beach near Atlantic City, New Jersey. In fact, the breezes there are so relentless that pros have been known to seek it out in preparation for teeing it up across the Atlantic in the Open Championship. The layout is not going to bowl you over and the course snakes through a residential community, but if you're looking to practice your wind-cheater, there are few better places in the Northeast.
Moving west, the Great Plains is understandably home to a number of great courses where wind is a constant companion. And currently, the state of Nebraska has a near-monopoly on excellent public-accessible courses, such as Wild Horse in Gothenburg and Bayside in Brule. And of course, the Prairie Club in the northern part of the state is known for breezes that can have you hitting sand wedge into one hole one day and a 5-iron the next.
What are the windiest courses you’ve played? Have you ever hit driver-sand wedge into a par five? How about driver-three wood into a 350-yard par four? We want to hear all about your wacky, windy golf experiences below.