There was so much rain on Friday night that many golf courses around the Province were closed the following day, so I missed my weekly fix of winter golf. Disappointed, I put the spare time to good use though and came up with a list of “Top Ten Tips” for playing in the rain (with help from “Golf Monthly”) as I reckon we’ll see a good deal more rain before the winter’s out!
1) Waterproof gear
If you’re a committed all-weather golfer you’ll know that good quality waterproofs are worth their weight in gold. They don’t come cheap, but in our Northern Irish climate you’ll get your money’s worth! Make sure the trousers have zips at the bottom, which make them easier to get on in a hurry over your spikes. Wet feet make for miserable walking, so if your shoes have done their waterproof time, invest in a new pair.
2) Grips and spikes
There are two key points of contact in a golf swing – with the ground and with the club. If either is less than solid, your game will be compromised in the rain. Better to replace grips and cleats before they start to cost you shots rather than after.
If the rain is on for the day, your glove will be soaked though after several holes, so always keep one or two spare gloves somewhere dry (inside a plastic bag) to be introduced when glove number one has done its time. Now that the temperature has dropped you should probably invest in a pair of winter gloves which will keep your hands warm, as well as helping you to keep your grip in wet conditions.
5) Dry towel
It can be almost impossible to make a decent swing if your grips are too wet, so a supply of dry towels is highly recommended. It’s another role for the trusty carrier bag. Hanging a towel from under your brolly is a tried and trusted pro trick.
6) A decent umbrella
You’ve probably been on the course with someone who’s using an umbrella they got free with their car or won in a raffle. It does a good job of keeping the rain off, but one big gust of wind and it’s wrecked! Wind and rain is a tough combo to deal with for a large umbrella, so make sure your brolly boasts a good-quality, strong construction, ideally with those vents that help stop it blowing inside out in stronger gusts.
7) Spare scorecard
If you’re playing in a competition, a spare scorecard kept somewhere safe and dry is a good idea in case it proves impossible to stop the original getting mushed to a pulp. Writing down your scores every few holes rather than every hole will help prevent this by limiting its exposure to the elements… as long as you’ve got a good memory!
8) Allow for less run
When the ground is wet, the ball won’t run as far. Obvious, we know, but this needs to be factored in to how you play. Less run off the tee may mean you can take more club on holes where you would normally hold back. Approach shots are more likely to stop dead on landing; chips and pitches are more likely to grab; and putts will be slower, meaning they need to be hit more firmly and will therefore take less break.
9) Hit more firmly in the rough
Wet grass will grab the club much more than normal and slow the clubhead’s progress. So keep everything firmer than usual through impact in wet rough to stop the grass grabbing the club with assorted undesirable consequences!
10) Accept that scoring won’t be as good
Most of us aren’t blessed with the luxury of caddies and even after adopting all the above measures, it can still be difficult to keep everything dry enough to score well in the rain. So don’t get too despondent when you drop shots – it’s the same for everyone and others will be struggling too.