Gone With The Wind: How To Play Good Golf In Bad Weather

It's finally the weekend, so you know what that means? Time for a round of golf. Only problem is, the weather is less than ideal. Determined to not let the weather dampen your spirits like it might have done to the course? That's the spirit!

Of course, you do need to know how to play in bad weather, because it's not as intuitive as it might seem.

But don't worry, with a few adjustments to your game, you can still play good golf in bad weather. Let's check out the ways you can still have a good game on even the worst weather days.

Know What You're Playing Against

First, always check the weather forecast before heading to the course. This way, you can be prepared for what Mother Nature has in store. If the forecast is calling for windy conditions, be prepared to modify your game.

city skyline overcast and cloudy

Likewise, rainy days might require different clubs and more attention to detail when it comes to cleaning your clubs after each shot. By being prepared for the conditions, you can take steps to ensure that you're still playing good golf (or at least better than you would have been!)

Adjust Your Game for the Conditions

Second, always adjust your game for the conditions. If it's windy, you'll need to be extra careful with your club selection and shot placement. In general, you'll want to avoid hitting the ball high into the air. The wind will just carry it away from the target.

Instead, try to hit the ball low to the ground. This will help keep it on course and decrease the chances of losing your ball in a gust of wind.

Choose the Right Club

In general, you'll want to choose a club with more loft in rainy conditions. This will help you get the ball in the air more easily, which is important because wet conditions can make it difficult to get much distance.

different types of golf clubs to choose from

A club with too much loft might not be the best choice on a dry day, but in rainy conditions, it can help you keep the ball on the fairway.

Wet Conditions = More Spin

The one silver lining to playing in the rain is that wet conditions can actually help you add more spin to your shots. If you're having trouble getting any spin on your ball, try spraying it with a little water before hitting your shot. This will help the ball spin more and could lead to some better results.

If playing in the wind:

Of course, you'll also need to take into account the strength of the wind. A strong wind might require you to use a club that you wouldn't normally use in calm conditions.

Likewise, imagine if your club accumulated sand or wet mud on it during a shot. This would obviously lead to less spin and much more frustration.

As such, it's important to take the time to clean your clubs after each shot, especially if they've been sitting in puddles or wet grass.

In windy conditions, you'll want to choose a club that can help you combat the wind. For example, if you're playing into the wind, you might want to use a lower-lofted club like a 3-wood or 5-wood. These clubs will help you keep the ball low to the ground.

If you're playing with the wind, you can afford to be a little more aggressive. Try using a higher-lofted club, like a 7-iron or 9-iron. These clubs will help you get more distance and keep the ball in the air longer. This is taking advantage of the tailwind effect.

Dry Your Clubs

Rain can make golf a little more difficult, but it doesn't have to ruin your game. The biggest thing you need to be careful of is keeping your clubs dry. If your clubs are wet, they won't have as much friction with the ball and won't spin as much. This can lead to some really wild shots!

wet golf club

To combat this, always keep a towel on hand to dry off your clubs after each shot. It's also a good idea to keep an umbrella with you to stay dry between shots.

Take A Wider Stance

One of the most important tips for playing in wind is to take a wider stance. This will help you keep your balance and avoid getting blown over by a gust of wind.

taking a wide golf stance

A wider stance changes your center of gravity too, so apart from stabilizing you better, it actually changes the biomechanics of your shot (a good thing in this case).

Your swing will be shorter in response, as your body finds it more difficult to rotate when the feet are set wider apart.

Of course, you don't want to take an overly wide stance, as this will make it difficult to swing the club properly. Just be aware of your footing and adjust accordingly.

Keep Your Hands Dry

Another important tip for playing in the rain is to keep your hands dry. Wet hands will make it difficult to grip the club properly and could cause you to lose control of your shot.

If your hands do happen to get wet, try wiping them off on a towel or on your golf shirt. You might also want to consider wearing gloves that are water and moisture-wicking.

Wear the Right Clothing

Of course, you'll also want to make sure you're wearing the right clothing when playing in bad weather. This means dressing in layers that you can easily take on and off as the temperature changes.

 wearing a jacket while playing golf in cold weather

You should also consider wearing waterproof or water-resistant clothing. This will help keep you dry and comfortable, even if you happen to get caught in a rainstorm.

Keep Yourself Warm

Yes, cold is also a consideration and also a bad weather condition. We're not necessarily talking about winter storms, but a cool, autumn day can make golfing quite uncomfortable.

In these conditions, you'll want to make sure you keep yourself warm. This means dressing in layers that will help trap in your body heat. You might also want to consider using hand warmers or toe warmers. These can be placed in your pockets or inside your gloves and can help take the edge off of a chilly day.

Remember, it's important to stay comfortable when playing golf. If you're too cold or too hot, it will be difficult to focus on your game.

Plus, stay mobile during the round. Don't aimlessly stand around waiting for your body temperature to become lower. Instead, keep moving and stay active. This will help increase your blood flow and keep you warm.

Extreme Heat

A hot, sweltering day might seem like ripe pickings for a lovely game of golf, wouldn't it? Whoaaa not so fast cowboy. Yes, while it definitely doesn't have a direct impact on the playability of the game itself, it will affect you.

hot sun on golf course

The main thing to consider is how the heat will affect your body. If it's too hot, you could become dehydrated or even suffer from heatstroke. As such, it's important to take precautions when playing in extreme heat.

Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Water is always best, but sports drinks can also help replenish electrolytes. Avoid alcohol or beverages with caffeine, as they will only dehydrate you further.

You'll also want to make sure you wear light, breathable clothing. This will help keep your body cool and comfortable. And be sure to apply sunscreen! A sunburn will not only ruin your day, but it could also lead to long-term damage.

Remember- it just takes a small degree of dehydration. 2% water loss will take a massive chunk out of your performance and how you're feeling. So make sure to keep hydrated!

Don't Fight The Wind

You won't win. If anything, you're likely to become more frustrated when your all-out attempts amount to nothing. Instead, controlled strikes are the way to go. Increasing swing speed won't help. Instead, keep the speed to about 75% of what you normally hit. This will help ensure accuracy and prevent the ball from being blown off course.

windy beach conditions

Allow the ball to travel lower than you normally would by not trying to fly the ball.

Plus, expect curving to occur. Every shot you take in wind, you need to make room and expect it. Yes, this tends to make golfers very unsettled but it's the way to go.

A good tempo is what you need more than anything else to maintain the lead and not let the wind fluster you.

Don't Use A Death Grip On The Clubs

It's fairly common knowledge that gripping your club too tightly tends to affect the shot. However, this becomes even more important in bad weather conditions.

When the wind is blowing and the rain is falling, it can be easy to tense up and grip the club too tightly. This will only make your shots worse. Instead, try to relax and use a light grip on the clubs. This will help you maintain control and improve your accuracy.

It is unlikely that the club will go careening off into the distance, so there's no need to grip it like you're holding on for dear life.

It's Necessary To Use Hybrids and Fairway Woods In Rain

A wet ball behaves differently than it would if it were dry. It won't travel the same distance as it would, plus, the rain might actually reduce the flight of the ball. Woods have the largest clubhead and promote flight.

But, in conditions where you need to hit the ball lower to the ground, hybrids are key.

They have a smaller clubhead than woods, but they're still larger than irons. This makes them perfect for hitting the ball in wet conditions.

Ideally, you should carry a few different options with you so that you can adjust as needed since the weather can change on a dime.

Keep Your Eyes Focused On The Ball

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's worth repeating. When conditions are bad, it can be easy to lose focus and take your eye off the ball. Just think of drizzles on your face or the wind whipping around you.

All of these can be distractions, but it's important to maintain focus if you want to play your best golf. So keep your eyes on the ball and make sure you're fully concentrated on each shot.

Adjust Your Shot

You are allowed to adjust your shot as long as you remain between the tee markers. If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, you can adjust your shot to compensate. This will help improve accuracy and prevent the ball from being blown off course.

So for example, if the wind is blowing in an east to west direction, you would want to position your tee more to the eastern side (so that you don't have to play against the wind).

Just remember- you can only adjust your shot once you've chosen your club. So make sure you select the right club for the conditions before making any adjustments.

Hit Putts Firmer

You won't get nearly as much speed on the greens when it's rained compared to a dry day. Water-resistance on the grass will slow down your putt speed tremendously so you need to hit more firmly and with more speed to compensate for this.

golf putt accuracy

Final Thoughts

Bad weather doesn't have to ruin your golf game. With a little preparation and the right attitude, you can still enjoy a round of golf- even in less than ideal conditions. Just remember to dress appropriately, keep your clubs clean, and stay hydrated. It's equally as important to be able to adjust your game for the prevailing conditions, as one set of rules does not dictate the game in all forms.

Keep at it and soon the guys will be wondering what has gotten into you that your golf knowledge has grown so much. Have a great round out there!