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Secrets from a Golf Pro
Golf courses elsewhere are often designed with the wind in mind—long downwind holes and short upwind holes. Not so in Bermuda, where the wind is anything but consistent or predictable. Quirky air currents make play on a Bermudian course different every day. The wind puts a premium on being able to hit the ball straight, and grossly exaggerates any slice or hook.
The hard ground of most Bermudian courses means you must abandon the strategy you use on heavily watered tracks. Your ball will run a lot in the fairway, so don't overestimate the distance to hazards. Around the greens, it's wise to run the ball to the hole rather than chipping. Not only will you find it difficult to get under the ball on the firm fairways, but your shot will be subject to the vagaries of the wind. If you're in the clinging Bermuda grass rough, your club face is likely to turn if you try to swing through it.
How should you prepare for a Bermuda trip? Practice run-up shots from close-cropped lies using a 5- or 6-iron—or a putter from just off the green. Use midirons to practice punching shots from the rough, angling back into the fairway rather than trying to advance the ball straight ahead and risk landing in the rough again. Putting surfaces are often undulating and grainier than bent grass, so putts will break less than you expect. They'll also die much more quickly unless you use a firm stroke.
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