What's your take on the rain? Some people love a good shower, while others...not so much.
For golfers, rain can be both a hindrance and a blessing. On the one hand, wet conditions do come with challenges that make it much more difficult to play.
But on the other hand, rain can provide you an opportunity to score some extra points, and you can actually have fun doing so under the circumstances.
How do you deal with the challenge?
Whether you relish or dread it, there are usually reasons for both.
But rather than getting frustrated, it's time to master it. In this blog, we'll discuss how you can deal with the conditions, in the event that you get caught up, or willingly play in the rain!
The Trouble With The Rain
Most people in the right frame of mind would not willingly go to the course if it has been raining heavily beforehand. But what if it started raining while you were there?
You may or may not have to abandon your game. Nevertheless, there are definite challenges that you'll encounter along the way to look out for.
Have you ever had a ball impacted? It is one of those things that are truly annoying AF.
An impacted ball is one that has been hit and is "stuck" in damp mud. The force of your shot causes it to lodge in the ground and become quite resistant to being hit out.
Even the most skilled golfers have struggled with this one. You could try to use a tee to help you get more leverage, but it will still be difficult. The other option is to take a penalty and drop the ball, but that's not ideal either.
Mis-hitting The Ball
There's a lot that goes into a good shot, including how much contact is made with the club face. While hitting fat or thin shots has its place, when the outfield is soggy, you are subconsciously going to be hitting the ball thin more often than not.
The reason is simple; you don't want to make contact with wet mud and risk a nasty divot. No divot repair tool will be able to fix that.
Not to mention that even the slightest bit of mud on the clubface can impact where the ball goes. Your shot will go off to the side, and it will be difficult to control.
Thin shots might not be the end of the world, but you will want to be more aware of them when playing in wet conditions.
Have you ever been clobbered on the head by a wild club? Me neither. Let's keep it that way.
Wet grips are slippery, and it can be challenging to keep your clubs from slipping out of your hands.
It's essential to have a good grip on your clubs, especially when making contact with the ball. A loose grip will cause you to mis-hit the ball and send it flying off in who-knows-what direction.
To avoid this, make sure to grip the club tighter than usual. You might have to adjust your grip a few times during the course of the game, but it is better than losing control entirely.
If you're anything like me, you have probably slipped and fallen on your backside at least once in your life. It's not a pleasant experience.
Wet shoes can make it challenging to keep your footing, especially when swinging. The last thing you want is to slip and fall while making contact with the ball.
Plus, it just makes for an all-around miserable experience. Wet shoes feel so uncomfortable to walk around in, and they can make your feet comfy motels for fungi to thrive.
Apart from the lack of roll-on distance you will get following a shot, the ball will also travel shorter distances through the air.
Wet grass holds the ball back, and you will find that your shots don't go as far as they normally would.
This is one of the more significant issues you'll face while golfing in wet weather since it can significantly affect your game.
You might have to adjust your club selection to make up for the lack of distance. It's essential to experiment a bit and find the sweet spot.
The amount of distance you achieve after a shot will vary depending on how much it is raining and how hard you hit the ball. But in general, you can expect your shots to be shorter than usual.
This is partly because the humidity of the air increases during and immediately after rain. This causes a "denseness" to permeate the air and restricts free flight.
Golf Cart Damage
If you're looking to really draw the ire of course managers/owners, the fastest way to do it is to pummel your cart through while the ground is soggy. The tracks left by these carts are just horrendous and will take weeks of time and effort to fix.
At a bare minimum, stick to the assigned paths that are intended for golf carts. These are often made of concrete or some other solid material that can withstand the weight and movement of the carts.
If you must take your cart off-track, be sure to avoid any areas that show signs of wear or damage. These areas are more likely to give way under the pressure, and you don't want to be banned from the course for causing extensive damage.
To be clear- the myth that being in the rain or cold causes a cold has been debunked thoroughly. Getting ill is always caused by opportunistic pathogens, including viruses and bacteria.
However, bad weather can still contribute to you getting sick. This can be attributed to stress, seasonal pathogens, or drying out the mucus membranes in your nostrils that make entry of infectious microbes easier.
How To Deal With The Rain
With all the reasons to not play stacking up as previously mentioned, you might be thinking that its better to just not play at all when it is raining.
This doesn't have to be the case though, as there are ways you can still enjoy a game while staying (reasonably) dry.
Wear The Right Clothes
The first step is to dress for the occasion.
You don't need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe of water-resistant clothes specifically for playing in the rain, but you should make sure that you are wearing clothes that will keep you dry and comfortable.
Many golfers opt for rain pants and a rain jacket. This will keep your lower body dry while allowing your arms the full range of motion needed for a proper swing.
Other options include ponchos, or rain and water-wicking materials that are designed to keep you dry without impeding your movement.
Warm clothes are also a good idea, as it can get cold standing around in the rain. A pair of long pants and a sweater under your protective gear should do the trick.
Use Rain Covers For Your Clubs
Another way to keep your clubs dry is to invest in some quality rain covers.
These fit snugly over the clubs and protect them from the elements. They are typically made of waterproof materials and sometimes have a drawstring closure to keep them secure.
This is a good idea even if you are wearing rain gear, as your clubs will still be exposed to the elements when you take them out of your bag.
Plus, by keeping the unused clubs in your bag covered and dry, you're less likely to have to deal with rusting or water damage down the road.
Use A Towel
You might not be able to keep your clubs dry, but you can at least keep them clean.
A towel can be used to wipe off any mud or debris that has accumulated on your clubs during your round. You can also use it to dry off your hands before taking a shot.
Just be sure to use a separate towel for your clubs and one for your hands, as you don't want to transfer any dirt or moisture from your clubs to the grip of your club.
Use A Waterproof Bag
If you don't have rain covers for your clubs, another option is to put them in a waterproof bag. These bags are typically made of PVC or some other durable, water resistant material.
This will keep your clubs dry, but it won't do much to protect them from the impact of being jostled around in the bag. So if you can, try to keep the bag as close to the ground as possible.
The last thing you want your gloves to be is cumbersome, as they will likely have a negative impact on your grip.
But if you are playing in the rain, it is a good idea to invest in a quality pair of rain gloves. These gloves will help you keep a firm grip on your clubs, even when they are wet.
Yes, they might be a bit larger than what you're accustomed to, but their fast drying and grip-supporting qualities tend to suit the occasion.
Use A Golf Umbrella
Perhaps the most obvious way to stay dry while golfing in the rain is to use an umbrella.
Golf umbrellas are designed with golfers in mind, and are usually larger than traditional umbrellas to provide more coverage.
They also have a longer handle so that you can easily hold them in one hand while still having the other free to grip your club.
Just be sure to not use the umbrella in a way that will obstruct the view of other golfers, as this can be considered rude and result in you being asked to leave the course.
Waterproof Shoes With Cleats
Cleats are generally important enough in dry weather, but many amateur players opt not to wear them. Do they regret that decision if it starts to rain? 100%. The only thing guaranteed besides a less-than-stellar round is a high likelihood of a fall, which can not only damage your clubs but your body as well.
When playing in the rain, it is imperative that you wear shoes with cleats. This will help to keep you grounded and prevent you from slipping on wet grass or mud.
The rules that you are accustomed to changing quite a bit in the rain, and nowhere is this more obvious than with club selection. You might be accustomed to using a five iron when you're about 150 yards from the center of the green (under normal weather conditions), but you would be better off selecting your four iron (or hybrid) that offers a bit more distance, while also keeping the flight of the ball lower to the ground (and therefore less affected by wind).
Hit Putts Firmer
Remember- you will almost certainly experience less roll with your ball in wet conditions. As a result, you should aim to hit your putts firmer than you ordinarily would in order to make up for this lack of roll.
Use Casual Water and Winter Rules To Your Advantage
Remember how we mentioned that there could be advantages to playing in rain? Here they are. These rules were developed to make the game more fair and fun for everyone when playing in bad weather.
First, if your ball lies in a casual water hazard, you are allowed to move it to a spot that is no closer to the hole and not in any additional hazard.
You can also do this if your feet would be in the hazard- but only if you can keep them dry by standing on something (like a cart path).
Winter rules apply to mud-impacted golf balls as well. If your ball lies in mud, you can clean it and place it within six inches of its original spot. No penalty strokes are required.
While we hope you don't have to use these rules too often, they can come in handy (and give you an advantage over the other golfers) when playing in adverse conditions.
If you play regularly, you're bound to get caught up in the rain a few times. This is really not a reason for panic. Yes, it comes with its own set of challenges, but you can still have a good round.
Just be sure to take the proper precautions, use the right equipment, and embrace the fact that you might have to change your strategy a bit. Doing so will help to ensure that you enjoy your round- rain or shine.