This is not Colorado and we haven’t seen humidors being set up anywhere, but expect the thinner air of West Virginia to be a cause for concern this week on the PGA Tour. The Greenbrier sits approximately 2000 feet above sea level, which will have a small impact on carry distance for tee shots and long irons. Do not expect much debate about the affects of altitude with short irons. The golf ball dimples and increased backspin created by short iron shots should negate much of the altitude affect.
Altitude should also play a bigger role for afternoon groups, as the mixture of thin air and warmer temps increase the distance balls will be flying. This is where our caddies will make the biggest impact this week. No golfer wants to spend time worrying about mathematics. The previous three days have allowed both caddies and players to come up with a pretty set formula. Duane Bock and Kevin Kisner will be using a 5% adjustment all week. Meaning a “200 yard shot will only play 190 yards.”
All of this could be for not as weather is expected all weekend. If rain and cooler temps move into the area, elevation should play less of a role in decision making.
Word in the caddie hut is that the greens will be extremely firm this week. Combine this with adjustments in ball flights caused by elevation, and you have the major dilemma this week for players and caddies. Jon Yarbrough, who is on the bag for Scott Stallings (and one of the favorites among other caddies this week), expects weather to be a major influence this week.
“If by chance it stays dry, you are going to see a pretty high winning score.”
Taking altitude, firm greens, and judging flyers out of the light rough into consideration, “club selection will be even more difficult… However, most of the time, the pros do make it look simple because they really re that good.”
One toilet for 156 caddies!!! You read that correctly. Only 1 toilet. Throw in the 1 working tv and things are a bit claustrophobic for the guys this week. Take into consideration that this event is considered the “toughest place for a caddie to find a place to stay all year long,” and you can see why there may be some animosity amongst the loopers.
As one caddie stated, “it is in a small town to start with that doesn’t have many hotels. Unfortunately, the only way to get a hotel is to go through the tournament because they buy all the hotel rooms in town and rent them to people at a ridiculously high price.”
However, we do not want to take anything away from the actual service that is provided this week by the Greenbrier staff and volunteers. “A hot breakfast and lunch are provided each day and even a late day snack.” The people working here are what make it enjoyable, even if the facilities for caddies are not suitable for this many individuals. Thank you to those that are working so hard to make our stay as comfortable as possible.