Golfers are hardy folk but even they can't play during a thunderstorm...
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The Open Golf Championship, at Royal Birkdale in Southport, Merseyside, is always in the lap of the gods with the weather. It is renowned for being a traditional links test, with hard, fast fairways and plenty of roll, all of which come from sunny days with a drying wind. However, competitors and organisers may have to defeat the weather elements of wind, rain, fog or thunder.
The strength of the wind is always the major factor in the difficulty, or otherwise, of the competition - the harder the wind blows the more difficult the conditions become and the higher the golfers' scores are.
Rain makes conditions unpleasant for players and spectators alike. Heavy rain can stop a competition if it is heavy enough to flood the greens and fairways. But thunderstorms are the weather element that everyone dreads. Lightning poses a significant risk and play has to be suspended, with players and spectators taken off the course until the storm has passed by.
Golfers are a notoriously sturdy bunch. Completing 18 holes in all weathers takes determination.
The Met Office works in tandem with one of the most prestigious golfing bodies - the R&A - to ensure that participants and spectators benefit from the best possible forecasts.
The Met Office keeps co-ordinators at the R&A fully briefed about the weather conditions for the Open and Amateur Championships, plus seven other key events in the golfing calendar.
Met Office forecasters are on site for the duration of The Open. Course officials consult with our forecasters to help determine the weathers' influence on everything from pin placement to traffic management. Pressure intensifies if weather delays postpone the schedule of play but the forecasters endeavour to find weather windows to allow the event to be completed.
Last updated: 7 April 2011