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How to Golf in the Rain

For a lot of golfers, opportunities to play are few and far between. If you’re one of them, you know that a rainy day sometimes isn’t enough to stop you from hitting the links. But, you should be aware that there are certain practical and performance-related issues that come with a round in the rain. This guide has you covered, but you should probably bring an umbrella, too.

Staying Dry

If you’ve ever watched the pros play in the rain on TV, you’ve seen just how many measures they take to stay dry. You probably don’t have the luxuries a pro has — a caddie holding an umbrella over you while you putt, for instance — but it’s important to do the best you can to stay dry during your round.

Here are some of the best ways an average player can do just that:

  • Carry an umbrella: This may seem like a no-brainer, but doing anything in the rain is usually a much nicer experience when you’ve got one of these handy. A great idea is to buy a golf-specific umbrella, which is designed to cover not only you, but your bag, too. Your clubs should stay under the umbrella the whole round, and the only time you can justify not being under it yourself is when you’re hitting your shot.
  • Wear water-proof clothing: Rain gear is available at most golf shops and if you live in a place that’s hit by rain pretty regularly, it’s a great investment. Quality rain gear will let the water slide right off of you, and it won’t weigh you down or impede your swing.
  • Wear a hat: Another pretty obvious suggestion, wearing a hat will keep the rain out of your face and eyes. If you have long hair, especially, you know how much of a distraction it can be when it gets wet.
  • Cover your bag: Most bags come with a rain cover, but if yours doesn’t, you can easily pick one up from any golf shop. Zipping on one of these covers protects your clubs, especially your grips at the bottom of the bag. Keeping your grips dry is extremely important, and it goes hand-in-hand (pun intended) with keeping the most vital part of your body dry: Your hands.

Keeping Your Hands Dry

The most important part of your body to keep dry is your hands. Without having a good grip on the club, you really have no chance to play well. Here are some key tips to avoid wet hands during your round:

  • Bring extra gloves: If you can afford it, bring as many gloves as you can. A wet glove isn’t only uncomfortable, but it also makes it much more difficult to maintain the correct grip through your swing.
  • Keep your hands in your pockets: Whenever possible, keep your hands in your pockets and away from the rain. Take full advantage of whatever water-proof pockets your outfit offers.
  • Keep a towel inside your bag: Most golfers keep a towel hanging from their bag, but on rainy days, keep a dry towel inside one of the bag’s pockets. Use it to dry your hands, grips, and clubfaces before every shot.

How the Rain Affects Your Game

Once you’re thoroughly prepared to stay dry on the course, it’s time to focus on what you need to do in order to play golf in the rain. There are certain changes you’ll need to make to your approach when a storm’s a-brewin’.

Here are some of the most important changes to keep in mind:

  • Hold on: Even if you bring a thousand gloves and protect your hands from the rain as if it were acid, chances are your hands and grips will have been affected, at least partly, by the water. Make sure you hold onto your clubs a bit more firmly to keep your clubface in its correct position throughout your swing.
  • Club up: A tighter grip will stiffen your swing a little and you’ll tend to hit the ball slightly shorter than usual. Wet fairways and greens also amount to very little forward roll once the ball lands, so don’t expect the usual extra bit of distance after touchdown.
  • Hit putts harder: Wet greens are slow greens, so don’t be afraid to hit the ball when you’re putting in the rain. Since you’ll be hitting the ball with a bit more speed, you won’t see as much break in putts as you would on a dry day, so take that into consideration.
  • Aim for the pin: One of the few benefits you get from a rainy day is the ability to stop the ball on a dime. Take dead aim for pins on your approach shots and marvel at your newfound gift of precision-stoppage.

Know When to Quit

If you’re caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a one-iron. Not even God can hit a one-iron.

Lee Trevino
Six-time major champion, and lightning-strike survivor

Although Trevino’s quote may be hilarious, don’t ever put yourself in harm’s way. The morbid truth is that too many golfers are struck and killed by lightning every year, simply because they don’t get off of the course when they should. If the rain gets torrential, or if you hear thunder or see lightning, it’s time to head back to the clubhouse until things settle down.

Be safe and keep dry. Apply the abovementioned changes to your game and you’ll play great golf in the rain.

Golfing in the rain has its own challenges, but it isn't impossible. With these tips on staying dry and altering your game, you'll improve and have more fun out there.
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