Gear & EquipmentAugust 1, 2011

Check the weather for your 2012 golf trip

Are you planning a golf trip to, say, Doral on the second weekend in February, 2012? Better check the weather first.

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The cynic might wonder why, given that forecasters aren't necessarily successful predicting the weather tomorrow, much less next week or next month. The cynic would be surprised to learn that there is a company that specializes in long-range forecasting with enough accuracy that companies like WalMart and Target employ it to help with their seasonal buying decisions.

Weather Trends International has now brought its expertise to the consumer with an app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad that it is marketing it to golfers under the name WeatherTrends360.

"January in Florida we have warm and dry," said Bill Kirk, CEO of WeatherTrends360. "In February, we have cold and wet." Maybe you should forgo that trip to Doral and head to Pebble Beach in February, Kirk said. "We have Pebble Beach warm and dry in February."

Convincing the cynic is "our biggest challenge," Kirk said. His response is that "Fortune 500 companies pay us, 50, a hundred, $200,000," he said. "They're not going to pay us a nickel if we're not accurate."

WeatherTrends360 uses statistics math and climate cycles, among other data, in an algorithm to produce its forecasts in 195 countries and 42,000 zip codes in the U.S. It claims 80 percent accuary, a number it said is confirmed through an independent auditing firm.

"This weather pattern today is a mirror image of the 1970s," Kirk said. "Everything we see happening today -- floods, tornados, snow, drought in Texas -- it all happened in the '70s."

The app sells for 99 cents.

-- John Strege

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