Let’s be honest; it’s not really a ‘glorious feeling’ at all, I’ve yet to meet a golfer who is happier to play in the wet rather than the dry. To golfers, RAIN on golf day is a four letter word. It complicates the game, means carrying extra equipment and can even result in a round not being completed – very frustrating!
However the reality is that sometime or another every golfer will need to cope with a rainy day. In Thailand it’s usually less of a problem; rain may appear as a short, sharp burst then disappear and it’s typically not going to leave you freezing cold even if you are soaked. It’s worthwhile thinking about wet weather golf before this happens to you (again) and being prepared.
Before The Game
- It may seem unnecessary to say, but the umbrella really is a golfer’s best wet (and hot) weather friend. If for some strange reason you forget, most golf courses will be able to rent you one.
- Consider your choice of footwear. Wet feet really add to wet weather discomfort.
- Always have a rain cover for your bag. Keeping your clubs dry, particularly the grips are important.
- Extra gloves and caps will allow you to change them if needed, small towels will be useful. Consider an extra shirt, there’s nothing wrong with changing if you become saturated.
- Wet weather gear (jacket/trousers) is not frequently worn by golfers in Thailand. Perhaps that’s because it’s not so cold here. Many say this golfing equipment doesn’t really deliver what it promises; but that’s your choice.
- Think more about a change of clothing (including footwear) for after the game. If you are the sort of golfer who usually showers after returning home, wet weather may change that.
- Think about how you will protect the score card (a ziplock plastic bag?). Marking, signing and reviewing a wet card that is falling to bits is difficult.
On The Course
- The golf course will play longer because it’s soft with less carry. Taking a club higher than normal will allow for an easier swing and can compensate for the lost yardage. The good news is that soggy fairways and greens are more receptive. The fairways and greens become, in effect, wider and bigger, because your shots don’t bounce into trouble as much.
- The greens will be slow. Hit your putts harder and remember that the ball won’t turn as much.
- In a bunker, the sand will be firmer; you won’t have to swing as hard to get the ball out.
- Try not to let the conditions affect your normal routines; don’t rush. The best wet weather players always take their time and stay patient.
- Wear a baseball-style golf hat that helps to keep the rain out of your face.
- Hang your small towel and spare gloves from the inside ‘spokes’ of the umbrella so that they stay dryer and are easily accessible.
- Don’t drive a buggy across casual water or rain affected areas to avoid wheel ruts.
- Consider your caddies. They are more likely to be more concerned about your comfort than their own. Help out every caddie more than usual; everyone’s comfort is important.
- If there is a heavy shower take some shelter and ‘time out’; it may quickly pass by.
Wet Weather Rules of Golf
- Casual water is an “accumulation of water that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance.” In casual water you are granted free relief by dropping the ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole.
- If the ball is in a bunker with casual water you can drop but the ball must remain in the bunker. You can take a one stroke penalty and drop out of the bunker.
- On the green, relief (placing the ball) is allowed if casual water intervenes on the player’s line of putt.
- It must be a matter of virtual fact whether a ball is lost in casual water. In other words there must be reasonable evidence otherwise the ball must be treated as a lost ball.
- A Local Rule may be made to allow preferred lies on very wet days (‘winter rules’). Without such a Rule being made, preferred lies cannot be legally taken.
- Rule 14-2 states that a player must not make a stroke while accepting physical assistance or protection from the elements, including by an umbrella held over the player or ball.
After The Game
- Remember to towel dry your grips and shafts completely after playing in the rain. Drying water will loosen the glue that holds the grips in place and will also remove the tackiness and elasticity from the grips. Rusted metal shafts are also not a good look!
- Clean your shoes of mud and take advantage of the Golf Course ‘air gun’ to get the drying process started for your shoes.
- Take a warm shower and change your clothing to avoid staying damp and risking colds or the ‘flu.
Unfortunately there will be days when conditions become unplayable, especially when there is lightning in the area. That’s frustrating; no option but to grin and bear it – the Golfing Gods have struck again!