Playing Golf In The Rain
I had a golf buddy who had moved to San Antonio from Nebraska, and quickly got very accustomed to our wonderful south Texas climate. He developed the mantra, “I don’t play golf in bad weather, because I live in South Texas and I don’t have to.” Those who live in Arizona and other southern climates are equally lucky, but this question posed by Kevin R., from the desert, revealed that wet weather is something kind of foreign to them. Kevin asked:
“I live in AZ and we have been getting some rain lately but I still want to get out and play some golf. Any tips on how the course will respond to the rain and what should I do to prepare before I get out there?”
Well, Kevin, playing your new EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge is a good start!!!

In all seriousness, however, playing in or right after a rain presents challenges for the golfer. Let’s look at this two ways – playing in the rain, and then playing a course after a rain.

I’m not a fan of playing in the rain, but sometimes you get caught in a shower and need to finish. I much prefer the dry grill room and a cold beer while it rains outside. I’m just not as mad at the golf ball as I used to be.

When that need to play in the rain happens, however, keeping dry and reasonably comfortable becomes the first goal. There is no substitute for a good rain suit and umbrella. It’s like fire insurance – you hope you never need it, but it’s comforting to know you have them. The bigger challenge is then finding a way to keep a dry towel. The tour caddies can be seen hanging their towel from the struts of their umbrellas when they get caught.

That dry towel’s primary purpose is to keep the grips dry, and secondarily to wipe the clubface right before the swing is initiated.

Whether playing in the rain or right after, wet turf presents its own particular set of challenges. Besides that previous pointer about keeping the clubface as dry as possible before you take your swing, realize that you will get moisture between the ball and the club anyway, and that will generally cause “flyers”, or shots that come off hot with less spin. That means approach shots will not hold the greens as well, unless they have been dramatically softened by abundant rain.

Golfers who generally take big, deep divots are challenged more by the rain than those who more cleanly pick the ball with shallow or minimal divots. The wet, heavier turf is harder to move for the former, and reduces clubhead speed dramatically at impact. I’m a big fan of cleaner contact anyway, given that the shock of hitting the ground is harder and harder on my hands and body as I get older. And, since I travel quite a bit and encounter all kinds of turf conditions, I find that the shallower plane through impact and minimal divot doesn’t require me to make as much adjustment in iron and wedge play from course to course.

When you encounter this softer turf, Kevin, try moving the ball slightly forward in your stance to make more of a sweeping impact and see if that doesn’t help.

Of course, wet conditions means your drives won’t roll as far (so you’ll find out how long you really are.) And the greens will be more receptive to approach and recovery shots, allowing that you’ll also get reduced spin, of course.

So, Kevin, hopefully that will give you something to go on. I’m sure we have lots of oobers who deal with rainy conditions more than I do, so watch here for some more great tips and advice.


photo source
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[ comments ]
eventHorizon says:
Keep multiple towels hanging under your umbrella. Dry towels will become your best friend. Also, hang dry gloves up there if you wear a glove.
bducharm says:
One of the best investments I ever made was a Zero Restriction rain suit! A bit on the expensive side but a GREAT rain suit...
Kurt the Knife says:
i have played in california moisture that had roostertails fly off my putts.

While a group of six watched me 4 putt after they invited me to play thru.
Kurt the Knife says:
forget the umbrellas and look for rain gear aimed at sailors.
I was a foredecker on a racing boat some years ago and my warm weather moisties are perfect for rainy golf.
Swingem says:
A good rain suit and hat (Outdoor Reasearch Seattle Sombrero), are most important, as are shoes that dont leak. Before our annual trip to Bandon Dunes in February, I spray my golf bag and rain cover with waterproofing spray made for outdoor gear and keep a large ziplock bag in one of the pockets for valuables (wallet, cell phone etc). I'm not a fan of umbrellas, if there is any wind at all they just become a problem. Foot Joy rain gloves are another a must-have. In addition to the my regular towel, I keep a dry towel under the bag's rain cover.
sigmapete1 says:
A couple years ago I was scheduled to play in a tournament in the rain and decided to give the FJ rain gloves a try. I was amazed at how well they worked. The wetter they got, the tackier they gripped. There was no need to dry the grips at all. In fact you wanted them wet with these gloves. They are a must for me now anytime it rains.
georgelohr says:
I use the FJ rain gloves (awesome) and FJ Contour shoes (awesome) and roll up the pants a little to keep the cuffs from dragging in the wet grass (this also looks very cool).
chipnputt71 says:
Hey guy do what we call (up here in the great norteast) 'suck it up and hit the ball' the round doesn't last too long.
mjaber says:
I always make sure I have a change of clothes in the car. There is nothing worse than a drive home in soaking wet clothes after a round.
normac says:
"chipnputt71" is right 'suck it up' and use those wonderfully annoying drops to improve your game (not many people play when there is the chance of rain). Do what quarterbacks do 'tuck your towel in your pants under your rain gear. The towel will be dry, you tend to your clubs quickly and eliminate fumbling through your golf bag.
DougE says:
Personally, I kind of enjoy playing in the rain, as long as the rain is not coming down in buckets. I generally have the course to myself. Can always just show up and go out. No waiting. There's no one behind you either. No pressure to rush. I work in the marine business. Spring here in the northeast is my busiest time, sometimes demanding I work 7 days a week if there is good weather. So, getting out to play golf on the perfect sunny day is often tough. However when it rains, most of the type of work I do is not possible, so that's when I sneak out and play in the spring. I play a lot in the rain this time of year. I was a professional skipper and sailboat racer for many years, logging over 100,000 miles at sea in all sorts of nasty weather. So, a little rain on an otherwise beautiful golf course (safe environment) all to myself is really a treat for me.
Banker85 says:
Im with DougE, a little rain is no problem as long as i keep my glove and grips dry! other than that a little water never hurts right?
Banker85 says:
also make sure you have golf shoes, my buddy wears tennis shoes and if its even a little wet his feet are sliding all over the place its funny we always give him a hard time.
Century1 says:
We get our fair share of rain up here in Alberta,(some years).
This is what you need, Rainsuit, full rim water proof hat,
good water proof shoes, umbrella to keep a towel dry, 2 towels,
good rain glove, small brush to remove the mud from the grooves
when you are wiping your clubs. You are now smiling all the way
to the 18th, while most people are running for cover.
phraynck says:
1)Second the FJ gloves, they do wonders in the rain.
2)Focus on keeping your lower body stable. I play in the rain similar to how I would a fairway bunker. Focus on good solid contact and a shallower swing.
3)Go to an outdoor sporting goods store(Cabellas, Bass Pro, even Dicks) and buy some water proofing spray(usually in the tent section). Even rain gear loses its effectiveness over time so the spray is useful even if you have raingear already. I have bought windproof pants and a pullover, sprayed them, and voila, raingear for a third of the price.
4)Drizzle Stick that bends. Its so much easier to get clubs in and out of your bag.
5)Spray your bag with the water proofing spray. I played in a monsoon and forgot I had some towels in a random pocket, they got soaked thru, after a while they had some nice mold and stink. Had to throw out the bag
rxman says:
You need to make the rain work FOR you. I use the rain as an excuse to not answer my wife's calls the day of a round. I therefore find that I am more tempted to play on rainy days. During some months, I actually schedule to play in the rain, depending on the "spousal weather", given the robust upside to rain as noted above.
newrider says:
Here in the Northeast playing in the rain is a fact of life. I played in pretty good down pours. A decent rain suit, shoes and very important rain gloves and it's all good. Sure you have to make adjustments but it's all part of becoming a better golfer. One advantage is you get a real good look at the contours of the greens you can use when the weather is nice. Another thing is the course really empties out. Very important to separate and dry every thing when you get home.
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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