Playing Golf in the Rain
There’s no secret that it rains in the Pacific Northwest; especially in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. It rains a lot here; 40-45 inches per year if want to be exact and even more along the coast. This may be discouraging for avid golfers, who call the region home, but as an Oregon native, I am proud of where I grew up and I love the golf here. If you ask me, the natural beauty of this area is enhanced by its rainfall and if you are really serious about golf and happen to live in an area where the weather is participation heavy, then you have to get used to playing in wet stuff, or plan on keeping your clubs locked away most of the year.
In much of the U.S. and British Columbia, as the Calendar turns to May, June and July, the rain and cold is replaced by springy warmth and then summer heat. But in places like Upstate New York and Nova Scotia, which are two of the rainiest areas in North America, it may take a little longer for higher temperatures and ideally sunny golfing days to get there. In my hometown of Salem, it is still raining and here we are in early July. It’s easy to complain, but I would rather embrace it and find a way to get out there. If you have a club membership at a course in one of these areas, there’s no sense in paying dues all year and only playing golf for two months.
One of the obvious first steps to playing in rain is finding ways to stay dry. Keeping your hands dry is extremely important in maintaining a good grip on the club. Most courses hand out small towels at the clubhouse. Make sure you grab a few to take out on the course for your hands and your clubs. Inevitably, as it gets wet, your clubs will get muddier, so keeping the grooves of your irons clean in between shots will also be important. In terms of your game, take the same smooth golf swing you normally do. Most players will want to swing harder in the rain, but this will only cause more missed shots. You will want to club up in certain situations to account for the conditions, but not necessarily swing harder.
When you get cold, you stop having fun, so if you are going to brave the rain, then it’s imperative that you have good rain gear. I’m talking head to toe. Quality rain pants, jackets and shoes will help keep you warm and dry in even some of the nastiest stuff nature has to offer. There are plenty of different fabrics and materials to choose from, but I prefer Gore-Tex rain gear. It may be a bit pricier, but for the golfer that plays all year long, it’s a good investment. Gore-Tex rain gear is not only 100% waterproof and windproof, but also gives you the freedom of motion with your swing. Other materials are more restrictive and less comfortable and may actually cause missed shots.
With the right gear and the right approach, you can still enjoy yourself on the golf course in the rain. One thing I actually love about rainy days is that you usually have the course all to yourself. You won’t have to worry about getting backed up. You can play a briskly paced round and get on with the rest of your day, or you can take your time and actually work on your game; maybe play a couple of balls and replay holes and shots where you are struggling.
Next time you look outside and see a light sprinkling or misting, don’t shutter in fear. Load up your sticks and head to the nearest course. Leaning to play in the rain will give you more days of golf a year and will help your overall game, preparing you for all conditions. Just bring an umbrella, your Gore-Tex and some hot cocoa and you will stay dry, warm and still have a good day on the course.
FEATURED AUTHOR: Daniel Johnson graduated. from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism in 2009 and has since worked as a freelance writer. His work has appeared in numerous publications including, Poker Pro Magazine, Inside Golf Newspaper and Pacific Northwest Golfer Magazine. When not writing, he enjoys spending a day on the golf course.