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Climate change could alter Plantation Course design

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Will global warming lead to design changes at the Plantation Course at Kapalua?

NBC’s Mark Rolfing, who makes his home in Hawaii, believes so as the PGA Tour prepares to open 2014 on Friday with its Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

“It's interesting,” Rolfing said after playing a few holes at on the Plantation Course Monday. “We saw the incredibly bad weather last year. The weather patterns have definitely changed here in Hawaii. I think climate change is really kicking into effect here. When this course was designed 25 years ago, it was designed for a trade-wind condition, that we expected pretty much 300 out of 365 days every year. That just hasn't been happening. We haven't really had consistent trade winds in the last month or so, and it looks like we're going to have some opposite winds, some Kona winds, later this week for a few days.”

Rolfing reports that Ben Crenshaw, who designed the Plantation Course with Bill Coore, will be on site this week to study how the changing weather is altering the way the course plays. He reports Crenshaw is looking to “get a sense of some issues that really need to be dealt with long term, in terms of the course, because the holes are actually going to play backwards when the wind turns around.”