Being a Canadian golf pro, I have played in all sorts of weather, from blistering heat, to sideways rain and even snow. An inevitable realization of playing tournament golf, is that on occasion you have to play in bad weather.Furthermore, after watching the weather turn for the worse on the Canadian Open this year (Good Job Mike), and the British Open’s affinity for nasty rain and winds, I thought it would be good idea to provide some tips for playing in the wet stuff.
Keep your hands dry
Your hands are your only connection to the club, it is imperative to keep them dry. We all know how difficult it is to swing with wet hands and/or grips. To start off, bring extra gloves and towels and keep them either in a waterproof pouch or even consider placing them in a garbage bag before throwing them in your bag. Before each swing, dry your hands and your grips with a towel. Also remove your glove after each swing and keep it dry. You may even want to consider buying rain gloves, which have rubber beads on them to really help you grip the club in the rain.
Use your umbrella to your advantage
Apart from having a large, sturdy, windproof umbrella, be sure to use the “stretchers” to your advantage… hang your towel and glove from them. When you’re at the green, cover the top of your golf bag with your rain cover, and bring the umbrella with you while you read your putt or chip. In terms of the rules, remember that your umbrella constitutes your equipment, so you cannot leave your umbrella in a bunker, nor can you leave it along your line of putt.
Water-proof clothing is a must
I’m talking water-proof here guys, not water-resistant… don’t be tricked by those clothing company marketing ploys. Gore-Tex makes wonderful stuff, but it’s on the pricey side. There are plenty of lower-end companies that make lines of water-proof clothing as well… it’s important to try a couple practice swings wearing the clothing before buying it to make sure it’s not too restricting.
Wear a hat
A hat is also very important… for keeping you dry and keeping the water out of your face. Getting your head soaked, with water dripping down your face is no way to play golf, let alone score. Tiger Woods has been known to turn the bill of his hat up backwards so that water droplets don’t impede his vision while looking down at a putt or chip. Next time you’re in the same situation, you may want to give this a try.
Focus and stick to your routine
You can’t control the weather, and remember that these conditions are likely effecting everyone else on the course as well. It’s important to stick to your pre-shot routine, and also don’t feel the need to rush or quicken your rhythm. Much like a shot on a perfect day, devote your entire attention to the task at hand.
Be aware of the effects of rain
- The rain will soften up the fairways and greens making you shots run less.
- Consider hitting a 3-wood off the tee for extra carry and accuracy.
- Take an extra club on all iron shots, as the rain tends to take a couple yards off each shot.
- Hit putt and chip shots a little firmer than usual.
- Know the rules of casual water in fairways, bunkers, alongside hazards and on the green.
Finally, if there is lightning around, I suggest you get off the course immediately, or find a shelter to hold up in. We lose way too many golfers to lightning each year so don’t make yourself a target.