Just because it's raining doesn't mean you can't still enjoy yourself and play well.
If you've got the right gear, are prepared for a wet round, use some simple strategy tweaks and can remain fairly dry, at least under your waterproofs, you can still put together a decent score.
Here are 10 tips to help you play golf in the rain...
If you’re a committed all-weather golfer, don’t scrimp on the waterproof gear from head to toe - good quality waterproofs are essential. Look out for things like zippered trousers bottoms, which make them easier to get on in a hurry over your spikes. The best golf waterproofs today are lightweight, easy to swing in and are equipped with technology to keep you dry.
Wet feet make for miserable walking, so it's worth investing in a pair of the best waterproof golf shoes.
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. It's also advisable to wear some of the best spiked golf shoes to give you that extra grip when the ground is soft.
If the rain is set in, you may well get though more than one glove, so always keep a spare somewhere dry (inside a carrier bag) to be introduced when glove number one has done its time.
Special rain gloves offering extra wet-weather grip have become more popular, and it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a pair of such gloves. They don't just keep your hands warm but also increase the grip with your club to ensure it's nice and solid, not slippy. This will give you more confidence to hit full power shots and hopefully play your best golf.
The best waterproof golf bags on the market are excellent at keeping your clubs and belongings dry, and they're a must-have for any serious golfer who plays all year round. You never know when you might get caught in a shower.
They'll save you from having to dry out the contents of your bag after your game and, when paired with the bag's rain cover, will keep your grips dry throughout the round.
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 if you don't have a waterproof golf bag.
Hanging one from the underframe of your umbrella is also a good idea - it's what all the pros do. They also keep dry gloves under their umbrellas too.
A good umbrella
Wind and rain is a tough combo to deal with for an umbrella, so make sure yours boasts a good-quality, strong construction, ideally with those vents that help stop it blowing inside out in stronger gusts.
The best golf umbrellas today are large, sleek and lightweight with ergonomic grip handles. Sometimes you might not actually benefit from using one and some golfers don't always enjoy having them, but they're a real must-have for certain scenarios - like when the heavens have really opened or you want to stay dry without a full waterproof jacket.
If you’re playing in a competition or want to keep score, 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. It's happened to all of us.
Writing down your scores every few holes rather than every hole will help prevent this by limiting its exposure to the elements.
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 so hit your chip-and-runs harder or play more lofted shots; and putts will be slower, meaning they need to be hit more firmly and will therefore take less break.
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!
Sometimes it can also wrap around the hosel and send the ball left - something to watch out for. Wet rough can also reduce your distance so sometimes it may be better to take more club or simply lay up if there is danger short of your target.
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.
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Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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