Monday, January 07, 2013

Golfer's Hell In Paradise

Thanks to a very strong ridge of high pressure over the North Pacific, Hawaii has been blasted by strong trade winds over the past couple of days.  For golfers, this is hell in paradise...and for professional golfers, the PGA Tour's first tourney of the year on Maui has been pushed back not once, not twice...but yes, three times so far due to high winds, with scores being wiped out twice (both on Friday and again yesterday).

Strong high pressure northeast of Hawaii has helped increase trade winds to stiff levels.

Winds gusted on Maui to over 50 mph with this wind event, which wasn't even the highest winds reported on the island chain as the Big Island reported a 70 mph wind gust.  Gusty or stiff trade breezes in Hawaii aren't unusual in January but thanks to the strength of this high pressure center, combined with a trough in the atmosphere across Hawaii, has allowed winds to increase beyond what's typical for January across the island chain and making for some rather funny moments on the golf course...unless you're the golfer, of course.

“I hit it 25-30 feet left of the pin and we were walking halfway down and my caddie said, ‘Hey, your ball is moving,’ and it rolled about another five feet,” PGA golfer Ben Curtis explained to the Golf Channel. “I get over it for the third time and this time I see it's going to move and it started to move a foot, two feet, three feet and just started picking up pace and off the green it went, 25 feet or so.”

I could imagine Happy Gilmore would have a field day trying to just "tap it in" in conditions like these.

Thankfully, winds will relax slowly over the next day or two as this high center moves farther from Hawaii and the trough over the islands fizzles.  While gusty today, peak gusts should only approach 40 mph.  The PGA will try to play 36 holes today, 18 tomorrow to make the tourney official.