Let the Wind be Your Friend
Dry season is coming…….and that means wind. And I mean a lot of wind. December is one of my favorite months to play golf in Costa Rica, especially in Guanacaste. The start of dry season will feature firmer and faster fairways allowing you to take advantage off the tee. The golf courses are in good shape with colorful flora and plentiful wildlife still enjoying the last little bits of wet season. Here are our favorite pampering spots and notes on which services make each one stand out.
In December, the heavy Papagayo winds have not quite set in yet. Playing golf in this type of wind is tricky and frustrating at times, so I like to play now as much as I can to prepare my game for the upcoming windy months. The best part is, there is still a chance you will get to play under some cloud cover. If you have been here as long as I have and play golf, you would understand why I relish the rounds in cooler temps and cloud cover. There comes a time when you pray for clouds and your decision to play is all about avoiding the intense Costa Rican sun from 11 am – 3 pm. December will most likely be the last month to play in calmer, cooler, and cloudier conditions. I appreciate every round I get in before the New Year because I know the challenge a player will face in the next three months.
Embracing the dry season and learning how to play in different conditions will really give you and your game an advantage mentally on the golf course. There may be no greater test in golf than battling 30 – 40 miles per hour winds with gusts of 35 to 45 mph. A few years ago, there was a crowd of players at the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Club bar after a Saturday morning round. I was watching the weather as the gusts topped out at 58 miles per hour with a steady wind blowing 40-45 mph.
That day, the PGA Tour was playing in Hawaii and the tournament was canceled due to wind. On the PGA Tour, when the wind hits 40 mph they stop play. Just as I am processing all of this, I peer out and watch a player’s ball roll off the ninth green. This was the windiest day I have ever seen people play in.
Success in this game depends less on strength of body than strength of mind and character.” – Arnold Palmer
Playing the wind on your putts is common here for a few months and a test that most players never experience. Preparing your game, by learning how to hit lower shots and bouncing the ball on the green is a skill in golf that many people, including professional golfers, cannot grasp. It took Phil Mickelson years to figure out how to play links golf course in the British Open. He won in 2013 and I believe this is because he embraced it.
Playing golf in Guanacaste, you get to experience and play in so many different conditions. The changing seasons and conditions of the course make it interesting and fun to play, if you do not take the game too serious. There are so many different golf courses wrapped up in one, especially if you play from different tee boxes. Not very many places are like this in the world and it will not only test your game but test your character.
JASON J. BAUER
DIRECTOR OF GOLF
HACIENDA PINILLA GOLF CLUB
Jason J. Bauer joined Hacienda Pinilla’s staff in 2008, after working at Castle Pines Golf Club in Castle Rock, CO for five years as an Assistant Golf Professional. Jason played college golf at Briar Cliff University, where he studied Business Administration, Psychology, and Marketing. He began his career as a golf professional at Desert Mountain in Cave Creek, AZ. He received his PGA Class A Professional status in 2006 and recently became a Certified PGA Professional in General Management.