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Gusty winds could impact Ryder Cup golfers

Posted at 8:02 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 15:16:10-04

WHISTLING STRAITS — September weather in Wisconsin can bring heavy rain, heat, thunderstorms, and cold temperatures. With this year's Ryder Cup along the shores of Lake Michigan, golfers should prepare for all sorts of weather.

“Whistling Straits, it's a much more open golf course. There's nothing really blocking that wind, so it's going to be more intense than you would see when you're on a typical golf course,” says Scott Walecki, Dretzka Park Golf Course General Manager.

Walecki says it's going to be a difficult game against the wind for golfers this year.

“So, with an open kind of layout like that is, it's going to be windier and it's been tougher, and it's a definitely huge role in playing golf, it's probably the hardest thing for a golfer to overcome,” Walecki says.

Just a 10 mile per hour wind can impact a golfer's game. As the wind strengthens, it makes it more difficult to have an accurate shot.

“It will affect the way you play. The flight the ball is a little bit lower,” says golfer Bill Enginous.

Golfers have 14 clubs to choose from. There are drivers for teeing off, there are putters & wedges for the short game, but during windy weather the irons may be the most important ones.

“If you're 150 yards away from the hole, you’d standardly maybe use a seven iron. Well if you're into the breeze, a seven iron is not going to get this, you got to use a six iron or a five, which is going to go longer and further than say a nine or an eight,” Walecki said.

As the iron number gets smaller, the club gets longer and loft angle is less, pushing the ball farther.

Physics says a downwind will reduce lift on the ball and shorten the distance it goes, but golfers will tell you just the opposite.

"I had almost a gale wind at my back and reached a par 5 in two,” says golfer Mike Durand.

A headwind increases the lift, but also increases the time the ball interacts with the air, shortening the distance it travels.

A crosswind can push your ball more than 50 yards off target.

"If it's going right to left, near going perpendicular to it, you're going to aim farther right or farther left. So, wind definitely plays a big role,” Walecki said.

Golfers could be impacted by cold temperatures, especially those teeing off early in the morning.

“The ball isn't going to travel nearly as far, typically most golfers where way more layers so your mobility and flexibility changes,” Walekci said.

Colder air is denser than warmer air, which increases the drag on the golf ball and shortens the distance it will travel.

No matter what the weather will be, unless it's thunderstorms, golfers will have to adapt elements to win this year's Ryder Cup.

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