How To Play Better Golf In The Rain
The Rain Game - Your scores don't have to soar when it pours
By Brian Weis
When Glen Turk, Senior Editor of Midwest Golfing Magazine, handed me the assignment to write an article about golfing in the rain article, my only response I was, "why me?"
He claimed, I was the resident expert. Many a times, he witnessed my scores improve during wet conditions. I really never gave much deep thought to his observations and I must admit I initially struggled on why it was the case.
My soul searching took me back my youth golfing with my dad at the West Bend Country Club. I remembered vividly, on the ninth hole the heavens opened and it began to lightly drizzle. As we were headed down the fairway to the clubhouse, I asked if we were going to call it quits. My father, an admitted workaholic, looked at me and said "Go back home? And do what? Work?!?"
It was as clear as an August day, my dad's refuge from work was golf. His simple phrase on the tenth tee box has shaped my attitude for my adult years. "Let's make the most of this and let's have some fun."
Despite the light rain, I followed his lead and carded one of my best 9 hole scores. From that day forward, I just made a correlation that I play well in the rain. A few years later, I shot my best high school match in a torrential down pour despite having one shot where my 5 wood flew out of my hands and went farther than the ball.
Over the years, I have played countless rounds in foul weather and more often than not I played well. Only to watch my fellow golf partner's scores balloon up and have a miserable time.
My advice is as simple as the acronym R.A.I.N.
R - Readiness
Trust me, I am not "Mister Organized" and my wife will attest. But I am always prepared for inclement weather. Not only is my umbrella attached to my golf bag but more importantly, I store an extra glove and towel in a zip lock bag. The plastic bag is used to keep those contents dry and it is a safe harbor for other valuables like my phone and wallet. Like many golfers, my clubs are permanently in my trunk during the golf season. I also store a gym bag full of other golf essentials like extra clothes, rain gear, etc.
The most important thing to have on hand is an extra towel and anything to protect your clubs and grips like the drizzle stick, the rain wedge, or the waterproof cover that comes with most high end golf bags.
A - Attitude
I touched upon this in my introduction but I feel your attitude is the most important aspect. If you flat out hate the rain, then don't play. If you are mildly annoyed by it then just change your mind set. Start by affirming why it is good to be on the golf course. Maybe you need the time to relax, be with friends/family, or you simply love the game. If you can see the positive in the situation, you have laid the foundation for success.
It is well chronicled that sports is 90% mental. So if you plant the seed you hate the rain and you are miserable, then that thought will help define the outcome. Instead, verbalize a positive statement, like this actually fun or I could be home mowing the lawn. Reinforce it in your head until the rain no longer is a negative thought.
I - Intuition
I hate to be "Captain Obvious" here but the rain and wet conditions will change the game.
1) Less Roll Means More Club
In wet conditions the ball roles less. So if need be, club down and fire at the pins. If you are a high flight ball hitter and do not get a lot of roll in ideal conditions this will not impact you as much. I find that many lower ball hitters struggle with rain because they cannot properly match up the yardage with their clubs.
2) Hit Firmer Putts
When greens are wet they roll slower. In some cases, if it raining hard in the morning the greens might not get cut so they are even slower because the grass is longer. In certain conditions, it might be so wet that you can see putting trails from previous golfers. Use these marks to visually study the greens. Sometimes you are lucky enough to have a putt someone took previously, showing you a line. Studying these marks will give you knowledge on how the conditions are affecting the putting surface.
3) Clean Your Equipment.
Your clubs have a greater chance to collect mud, dirt, and grass clippings. Clean your clubs with a tee or club brush and give yourself the best possibility to hit a pure shot.
What about your ball? What if it collects serious mud or grass? Under the normal rules of golf, the golfer must always play the ball as it lies without making any improvements to its lie or the ball. Under certain conditions, usually wet ones, a golf course or rules committee can modify the rules to "lift, clean and place." This means you can mark your ball by placing a tee into the ground right behind the ball, then lift the ball, clean the ball and then place it back within 6 inches of the original position, no closer to the hole. This applies "through the green" which means anywhere except in a hazard.
4) Wet Sand
Most golfers hate the sand and despise wet sand even more. In light rains, the sand can be wet on top and fluffy underneath. In that situation play it like a traditional sand shot. Harder or longer rains will compact the sand completely. To play that shot swing easier and slap the sand because the ball will come out faster and travel farther. Gauging sand conditions can be tricky since you cannot test the sand with a practice strike without incurring a penalty. I look at my balls entry marks and my spikes marks from walking in the sand to help me determine how hard the sand is compacted.
5) Wet Grip Or Glove
In really heavy down powers, you might find your equipment to being completely drenched. If you find yourself with a drenched golf glove and extremely wet grips try removing your glove altogether and concentrate on a slow swing. One of the biggest mistakes that golfers make in ideal conditions is they grip the club too hard. Yes, there is a fear of losing the club but a lighter grip is actually better for your swing. If you have one swing thought in the rain it should be to relax, swing slower and remove any access pressure in your hands. This might be the key reason I physically strike the ball better in the rain.
No - A Few No No's
1) When Not To Play
While I absolutely love playing in the rain, when I see lightening or hear thunder I know it is time to call it quits. If you see lightening or hear lightening is not the time or place to be a professional storm chaser. Seek cover or head for the clubhouse to wait it out. If it appears there is no end in sight, take a raincheck and return a different day.
If there are heavy rains, the course may institute a cart path only day. Please adhere to these rules. In my college days, I worked on grounds crew and carts can leave some damaging rut markers that take days if not weeks to repair. If you feel your cart driving over soggy grass head for higher ground.
So the next time it starts raining cats and dogs, enjoy the day and smile because you could be home doing yard work.
Article Tags: Golf In The Rain
Revised: 06/13/2011 - Article Viewed 28,169 Times
About: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler