For those of us who genuinely enjoy golf, not having enough time to get out on the golf course can sometimes mean playing on days when the weather is less than desirable, but can you play golf in the rain? The answer is yes. However, playing golf in the rain can be a challenge, so there are a few essential tips you will need to implement in your game plan first.
The answer is yes; however, you will want to know these tips for playing golf in the rain so you can stay dry, maximize your score while on the golf course, and not get stuck in the rain playing golf in the wrong gear.
Below are six essential things to keep in mind when preparing to play golf in the rain, along with some tips from my experience playing countless rounds in the rain over many years. These tips will help your golf swing and ultimately lead to better golf.
1. Check the Weather Before Golfing in the Rain
Although playing in the rain and wind is certainly possible and ultimately acceptable for golfers, you should still check and ensure the weather will only involve rain and nothing else. Light rain is nothing to worry about; however, inclement weather can worsen without much warning and make an enjoyable round miserable.
Can you play golf in a thunderstorm? Keep in mind that while playing in the rain can be enjoyable and is done by golfers regularly, there will be plenty of sunny days to play golf. In other words, golf is not worth the risk of getting hurt in bad weather, so either let the storm pass, or wait for another day to play.
2. Prepare Beforehand
Perhaps, nothing is more important than preparing your gear before a round in the rain. For instance, you should always clean your grips before playing in the rain. Oil and dirt that may be on the grips can and will get wet and cause problems for your grip on the club during the round, leading to poor play and a less enjoyable experience on the course. If you do nothing else, keep in mind that your grip on the club is the key difference in shooting a good score, or having a terrible round, not only while playing in harsh conditions but also in nice weather.
Another vital thing to keep in mind is to bring an extra towel. It’s self-explanatory, but having an extra towel will give you a backup when your first towel inevitably gets too wet to use. An extra towel will ensure that you can keep your grips dry and wipe excess water from your face due to rain.
3. Keep Your Glove Dry
If you haven’t already, put your golf glove in a resealable bag, such as a Ziploc, to keep it protected from getting wet when you’re not using it—this is also a great way to keep the glove fresh, especially in the hot, humid summer months. You may even want to bring an extra glove just in case. A resealable bag is also a great place to store your cellphone and cash, credit cards, keys, etc. Sometimes, water can leak into your golf bag and damage your valuables.
Having a golf umbrella is another option when playing golf in wet weather. Some may argue that an umbrella is a must; I say an umbrella is nice, but if you’re riding in a cart and have a good rain suit, then having an umbrella is not required. It’s up to the individual. You may want to take an umbrella the first time you play in the rain and decide for yourself if you’re going to use one the next time or not.
4. Wear Proper Rain Attire
One of the most important things you can do before playing golf in rainy conditions is to wear appropriate attire and have good rain gear for the wet conditions. Proper rain attire includes:
- Rain suit
- Water proof hat
- Rain glove
Any golfer who intends on playing golf in the rain should own a good rain suit because nothing may be worse than playing golf in soaking wet clothes. You will be miserable the entire round, and it will restrict your swing while hitting a shot and ultimately hurt your score.
Rain suits usually consist of a rain jacket and pants; however, it is possible to buy rain shorts and a short-sleeve rain jacket, which may be a better choice in the summertime, depending on your preference.
Another must for attire geared toward playing in the rain is a good hat. You, of course, can choose not to wear a hat, but I would try to incorporate one if possible. Having a rainproof hat may be a good option as well.
A rain glove is another option. Some people swear by them, while others find that they do more harm than good. It can sometimes be challenging to get a good grip when wearing some of the rain gloves available on the market; however, that doesn’t mean that all of them are bad, and you shouldn’t experiment. I recommend at least giving a rain glove a try. They usually come in two to a pack for both your left and right hand, which may or may not be difficult to get used to at first.
5. Use a Golf Cart
Here’s where personal preference can come into play. Some golfers prefer walking when playing in the rain; others believe riding in a golf cart is better.
I would rather ride in a cart because it gives you an available option for keeping the rain off you, if even for a moment. Carts can be your way to get back to the clubhouse quickly if the weather turns for the worse and heavy rain ensues. Also, carts allow you to store more things you may need for your rainy-day round. Such as an umbrella or extra towels.
The only other thing you want to keep in mind regarding whether to ride or not is to check the cart rules for the day at the course you’re playing. By this, I mean see if carts have to remain on the cart path or if you’re allowed to ride at 90 degrees to the path. Likely the rule for the day will be cart path only, so it may be quicker and more enjoyable to walk the course. That said, I find the benefits of riding in a cart when playing a round in the rain still outweigh any negatives. Plus, riding in a cart keeps you from taking too much time in between shots and risk playing a long round of golf.
6. Adjust Your Expectations
I hope it goes without saying that playing in the rain comes with challenges and limitations. Golf is hard enough, but playing in the rain can dramatically increase the game’s difficulty and even be dangerous sometimes. In fact, for this reason, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has specificrules and proceduresset in place for players, caddies, spectators, officials, and volunteers in case of rain or severe weather during a golf tournament or event.
It’s important to remember that you could potentially add several strokes during the round to your usual score and should adjust your handicap for the day accordingly when you play golf in wet conditions. The wet weather conditions will not only affect the flight and distance of the golf ball, but you will also deal with damp grass, sand, and a lot of casual water. So, make plans to adjust your game for the day because you will not be able to hit the same shots you would on a day when the weather is clear.
Bonus Tip: If you're playing with others, match play can be more enjoyable than stroke play during a rain round. If you're playing alone, add strokes to your expected score or handicap and shoot for that score.
When Is It Too Wet to Play Golf in the Rain?
Playing golf is fun, and playing in rainy conditions can be enjoyable; however, we must manage our expectations as golfers. Playing in certain weather conditions can test a golfer’s patience, so it’s important to concentrate on your physical and mental games.
Inclement weather is part of the game as much as anything else, but it’s essential to check with the golf course you plan on playing that day and make sure the course is open for play, as well as the local rules for the day regarding golf carts, hazards, and practice facilities.
I hope you consider the above and utilize this information to play better golf in rainy conditions.
Do they play PGA golf in the rain?
Yes, the PGA Tour will hold golf tournaments during rainy days; however, there is a limit to acceptable weather.
Can golf courses be too wet to play?
Yes, if a golf course has received too much rain in a short period, the superintendent will close the course so as not to have the turf destroyed by play.
Can you golf in the winter?
Yes, if the ground is not frozen and the temperatures are above freezing, most of the time (depending on the part of the world), courses will stay open for golfers to play.