18 Tips For Golfing In The Rain
In many parts of the world if you want to golf regularly then you’re just gonna have to learn to play in the rain.
Some people see battling the elements as an added challenge. If you’d like to improve your chances of good golf when it’s raining then check out these tips.
Preparation Is Key
You may have heard of the 5 P’s (proper planning prevents poor performance). Making the most of golf in wet weather is largely about being prepared for what the elements might throw at you. With the right preparation and mindset, you can still enjoy a round of golf even if you need an umbrella and a waterproof suit.
I always check the forecast and local rain radar before the round so I have a good idea of what to expect and can adjust my equipment accordingly.
Here is a list of equipment you’re going to need to give yourself the best chance of a great round.
Keeping your feet comfortable during the four hours or so that you’re on the course is important whether it’s raining or not. It becomes even more important when the heavens open and splashing around with wet feet quickly becomes very unpleasant.
Try to avoid skimping on your golf shoes and if you play regularly in wet weather then make sure to buy with a waterproof guarantee. Many of the top brands offer a gore-tex shoe in their range. While they don’t tend to be cheap they will make rainy day golf much more pleasant.
Personally, I also tend to prefer wearing metal spikes if I know the ground is likely to be wet although some courses have now completely banned them so you’ll need to double-check their policy.
Make sure to go for waterproof shoes rather than water-resistant ones since the latter will only protect you from the very lightest showers.
A waterproof suit is another area to invest wisely if you play a lot of wet weather golf. A top-quality suit will become your new best friend if you’re out in the rain. Lots of players try to avoid wearing waterproofs if at all possible but often that’s because they bought one of poor quality. I’ve tended to stick to the Pro Quip and Sunderland brands although these days there are more high-quality options available if you have deep pockets (E.g. Galvin Green).
Unless you have a waterproof bag you’ll need a way of keeping the water out. You could opt for a rain hood to protect the top of your bag when you’re selecting and replacing your clubs. A better option might be a cover that encompasses your whole bag. Personally, I’ve always gone for a rain cover for the whole of my bag because it doesn’t need to rain for too long before the contents of your bag will get soaked.
If like me you tend to prefer using a cabretta leather glove you’ll quickly realize they’re not too good once they get wet. If it starts to rain so much that it’s hard to keep your unblocked handwriting then it’s best to think about buying a pair of rain gloves. These should still be able to grip the club even if they are a little wet. There will certainly be a much better option than a leather glove.
Take at least one spare towel and as an added precaution put it in a plastic bag so you know dry when you need it. If you know the weather is going to be really bad then you might want to add another towel or two.
If you tend to carry then a golf umbrella might be more trouble than it’s worth however if you use a trolley or cart then a brolly can be very useful in bad weather. Make sure you get a dual canopy model so it won’t blow inside out and in conjunction with the next item you have a way of keeping yourself dry while drying and cleaning your clubs.
In all but the very strongest winds, an umbrella holder can be a godsend. If you use an electric trolley then you can keep yourself dry under the umbrella whilst walking and still have your hands free. When you need to hit a shot you can keep yourself dry while making sure the club you selected is as dry as possible all under the protection of the umbrella.
In heavy rain, it can be very useful to have a waterproof hat. There are many different styles available from baseball caps to bucket-style hats. The only problem I found with using a waterproof hat is you do tend to get very warm unless it’s quite a cold day.
When the course is getting soaked it’s likely your ball and clubs are going to attract some mud. To give yourself the best chance of success try to keep the grooves and faces of your clubs clear of mud and other debris.
It’s much harder to hit good shots with dirty and wet clubs since it will affect the spin you can impart.
Playing In The Rain
Before you see off try to get a feel for how the greens are performing by spending a few minutes on the practice green. If there is a practice bunker then hit a few shots from there too so you have an idea of how the sand is being affected.
Try to hit a few full shots as well even if it’s only in a practice net to give yourself a reminder of how your waterproof suit might affect your swing.
Probably the most important asset when playing golf in the rain is the right mindset. If you’re the sort of golfer who blames bad shots on outside influences all the time then golf in the rain is going to be very, very difficult.
You need to lower your expectations as to what is achievable. Even tour professionals find it much more difficult playing in the rain and they work on their game all the time and have a caddie to keep everything dry. If you just turn up at the course once a week you can’t really expect to beat your handicap when the weather is inclement.
You need to treat the bad weather as an extra challenge to be beaten rather than allow it to overwhelm you.
Try to stick to your pre-shot routine and take care of everything that you can take care of. Make the best swing you can and then move on to the next shot. As long as you went through the correct process then you have nothing to berate yourself for even if your score wasn’t your best. For more mental game tips check out this article.
If this isn’t currently playing preferred lies but your ball picks up some mod then it’s good to know what is likely to happen when you hit your shot. The rule of thermal in the ball will tend to curve to the opposite direction of where the mud lies. So if there’s mud on the left of your ball it’s likely to swerve to the right and vice versa. If there’s mud on the back of your ball where you’re looking to strike it then that means you’ll end up with a poor strike that lacks distance.
It’s likely that you will be losing some carry distance on full shots as well as most or all of your run out. For that reason, you are going to need to club up. During the early part of the round try and get a feel for how much shorter your shots are flying and take more club accordingly. If it’s starting to get really wet then your ball may well start to plug on landing. This may mean taking even more club as the round progresses! Learn to hit the ball better not harder!
Short Game When It’s Wet
As the greens get wetter you’ll find you need to strike the ball more firmly and this means it will affect the lines you need to pick. Hitting the ball harder means the ball will be affected less by any slopes so you need to adjust your read to allow for less break on your putts.
Chipping from wet rough will mean having to hit the ball harder as well but you will also have less control over the connection as you are more likely to get water or grass trapped between the ball and the clubface at impact. You might want to grip down slightly but take a firmer hold to try and prevent the club from twisting.
If you find yourself chipping from a muddy lie you may be better off using a straighter-faced club or possibly even a putter to improve your chances of getting the ball close to the hole depending on your ability and confidence.
This could be complicated by lots of surface water on the green. You may need some loft to clear the water and get near the hole.
Pitching from further away may lead to shots that plug if the green is sufficiently wet. You may also be able to use puddles on the green as a way to stop your ball.
Escaping From Bunkers When They Are Wet
Many amateurs find bunker shots tricky at the best of times. Trying to escape from a soaking wet bunker is that much worse!
Even if you are okay at getting out of bunkers when they are dry that technique doesn’t really cut it from soaking wet, compacted sand.
It’s likely the club is going to skim off the surface of the compact sand rather than gliding through like it normally would. If you’re going to escape at the first attempt then keep the clubface square to the target and try to avoid taking too much sand. Keep your weight on your front foot and swing with a steep swing. You won’t need as much power as normal since you’re not taking anywhere near as much sand with this type of shot.
With a fairway bunker, you’re not normally trying to hit the sand before the ball anyway but if you do when the sand is compacted you may still get a reasonable result.
Rules Can Be Your Friend
Many people like to moan about the rules of golf being too complicated and long-winded but on occasion, they can come to your rescue. There are a couple of rules to be aware of when you’re playing in damp conditions.
You can take free relief from casual water which is defined as “any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance. Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player. Manufactured ice is an obstruction.
Dew and frost are not casual water.
A ball is in casual water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water.”
You have to find the nearest point where you are not affected by the casual water and then drop the ball within one club-length of that point. If your ball is on the green then you are also able to take relief from casual water that is on your line of play to the hole.
Winter Rules (Preferred Lies)
During the winter or periods of excessive rain, the committee may decide to implement a local rule allowing preferred lies which are sometimes known as winter rules. This will usually only apply to closely mown areas such as fairways, fringes and greens. The player can take relief of up to 6 inches not nearer the hole and while doing so they also have the option of cleaning their golf ball.
After Golfing In The Rain
If you’ve been playing golf in the rain then there are still a couple of other tips worth remembering.
Dry Your Equipment
Make sure to dry out all of your equipment properly. Don’t just leave a soaking wet bag of clubs in the trunk of your car or garage.
Take all your clubs out and give them a wipe down and clean the club faces of any mud. Remove all the equipment from your bag and dry that out as well.
Don’t place golf shoes or leather gloves on direct heat however as that will likely damage them. The best thing to do for your shoes is to remove any insoles and then stuff them with newspaper or a shoe tree if you have them and allow them to dry somewhere warm.
Open out your umbrella in the garage to let it dry.
For extra bonus points, you can probably clean off the mud from your trolley/cart as well.
This way you’ll have nice clean tidy equipment ready to go the next time you play rather than moldy headcovers and wrinkly gloves.
Change Of Clothes
It’s always useful to have a change of clothes handy after playing in the rain to save you sitting in the bar soaking wet or driving home that way.
18 Tips For Golfing In The Rain: Conclusion
Playing golf in the rain can be a test of both your skill and your patience but with the right preparation, mindset and strategy you can still have an enjoyable game.
How much rain will you put up with? Let me know below.