By Paul Myers
If you watched Brandt Snedeker produce his incredible round of golf on the way to winning the Farmers Insurance Open, you say a player who was able to stay focused in the face of some extremely tough conditions. The winds were howling at Torrey Pines on Sunday (and Monday), leading to some very high scores from some very talented players. However, Snedeker was able to buck the trend and shoot 69 to win the event in the end.
So how did he do it? How was he able to manage such a great score while others were falling apart around him? While physical talent and plenty of hard work on his swing certainly had something to do with it, his mind set had to play a key role as well. Thinking clearly while the weather is affecting your game can be a challenge, but it is a challenge that can be conquered.
Accept the Day
The first step to playing good golf in the face of bad weather is simply accepting that you are in for a tough day on the course. Most golfers would much rather play golf on a sunny, calm day than a windy and wet one, but you can’t control the weather. The only thing you can control is your attitude toward the conditions, so putting yourself in a positive frame of mind right from the start is a great first step.
Another part of accepting the challenge that you are facing is understanding that you probably won’t be able to post the same kind of score that you would under calm conditions. Wind makes golf harder – there is no debate on that point. Therefore, you shouldn’t hole yourself to the same standard that you would when the weather is great. Assume that you are going to have a couple shots lost to the conditions, and commit to fighting as hard as you can for each and every stroke.
Change Your Targets
One of the best ways to play a good round of golf in bad weather is to adjust your targets to provide yourself with more margin for error. Your shots aren’t going to be as precise in the wind as they would be on a calm day, so don’t take on targets that are guarded closely by water or other hazards. It is simply too risky to aim near a hazard when you don’t know exactly what the wind is going to do with your ball. Instead, pick a safe target that gives you plenty of margin on all sides and keep your ball in play as often as possible throughout the round.
With just those two adjustments – accepting the weather and picking safe targets – you will be well on the way to playing good golf under bad conditions. You probably won’t ever love heading out to the course when the weather is bad, but you can still have a good day even if the sun isn’t shining.