It seems like everything in my life this week has been reminding me of golf. We must be getting close to spring! Just this week after returning from New York, I came home to find no snow accompanied with a cold, windy, drizzle. What many might consider a golfer’s worst nightmare. There are a lot of reasons why rain can be detrimental to your score, not to mention the fact that most people don’t consider it nearly as enjoyable as playing in warm, dry conditions. But unfortunately, some days it just isn’t meant to be. Luckily for you, there are ways we can cope with playing in the rain.
I can still remember playing spring golf my junior year of high school. I was in a school tournament at Geneva National Golf Course in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (beautiful course by the way if you’re ever around, designed by Palmer and Player) and after the second or third hole the rain began. Almost immediately the four of us started to rummage through our bags searching for a jacket and rain pants but just as we had finished with the rain gear, the skies opened up. Torrential rain and howling winds whipped through the valley we were standing in. While some unfortunate golfers finished out on the green we hid behind some of the tall oaks that guarded the fairway until the worst of the storm was past (which was maybe five minutes). Even though eventually the rain and wind subsided slightly (both were still a big factor for the rest of the day however) the course was soaked and so were we. Days like this are how I learned how to play in the rain.
Earlier that day my entire team had prepared for the worst after looking at the weather forecast and, out of all of them, I was the most determined to be unaffected by our spring climate. In my experience, there are three areas you need to prepare for when it comes to playing in the rain:
- your equipment
- the mechanics of golf
- and your mindset
One of the easiest things to recognize when it comes to rain is the need to keep your equipment in good condition, this isn’t just your clubs but also your cloths and electronic devices in your bag.
Of course it always helps to have a water proof pocket in your bag but if you don’t I made a habit of keeping a good amount of wooden tees in a plastic bag. Whenever I got stuck heavy rain I could dump the tees into a pocket and replace the bag with a phone, wallet, keys, ect to make sure they stayed dry. Keeping a windbreaker or a water proof jacket is also a good idea if you know bad weather might be coming. For me, I would just tie it to my bag stand so I didn’t have to move too much of my other golf equipment around and also so I could access it quickly. Finally you need to take care of your clubs. We all know that there’s no way to keep them absolutely dry but a trick that worked well for me is a two towel system. I would keep the towel on my bag wet to clean mud off of my clubs while keeping another towel dry but putting it in the spokes of my umbrella so I could dry off the club grips and my hands.
When we play in the rain we also have to accept the fact that the conditions aren’t optimal for golf. One problem with the rain is it gives the club a better chance of slipping out of your hand but more importantly, it makes it easier for your feet to slip around. In my opinion the ladder is much more dangerous. Not only can it be harmful to your game, but you can also get seriously hurt by sliding down a hill or even just slipping during your swing (I guarantee I’ve done both). The most important thing you can do to prevent this is to wear good golfing shoes, but even with them on, slipping is still a possibility. Simple things like checking the ground you’re standing on or even digging your shoes in (a very very little bit) can all help prevent you from slipping.
Finally, you have to take a different mindset to golfing in the rain. Especially in a competitive environment, worrying or complaining about the rain can only distract you from playing your best golf. But even recreationally, if you spend all your time complaining about how wet you are or how hard the wind is blowing, you’re only ruining your own experience and the experience of the people you’re playing with. We all know that playing in the rain can suck but personally I find it to be an enjoyable challenge. I like to look at the different ways the rain can change your golf game and enjoy trying to outsmart mother nature by changing my game to compensate for the new conditions. Also, I just enjoy the seclusion that usually comes with a rainy day. And even if you don’t, there is nothing more rewarding than stepping into a warm, dry clubhouse with your buddies after your round.
So don’t let the rain get you down, especially now that (some) of the US is starting to come into spring. There are ways that you can make sure your game (and the early scores in your handicap) don’t suffer too much, but a true golfer will appreciate a 40 degree rain in May as much as a beautiful, sunny, 80 degree day in July (or at least they’ll enjoy the spring rounds… it’s hard to beat 80 degrees and sunny). So until next time golfers, grab your umbrella and your rain jacket and let’s go play in the rain.
Facebook: The Golf Academy