‘I’m singin’ golfin’ in the rain
Just singin’ golfin’ in the rain
What a glorious feelin’
I’m happy again!’
(Apologies to Gene Kelly!)
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
ü Check the weather forecast before you head off to the Golf Course. It’s very simple to get a local forecast, including the likelihood of rain via the internet or even a phone app. Here’s one website: www.wunderground.com/weather-forecast/TH/Hua_Hin.html. However recognise that the weather in Thailand can be unpredictable and very localised. When in doubt, be prepared.
ü 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.
ü Consider your choice of footwear. Wet feet really add to wet weather discomfort.
ü Always have a rain cover for your bag. Keeping your clubs dry, particularly the grips are important.
ü Extra gloves and caps will allow you to change them if needed.
ü Small towels will be useful for obvious reasons.
ü Consider an extra shirt, there’s nothing wrong with changing if you become saturated.
ü Wet weather gear (jacket/trousers) is not frequently worn by golfers in Thailand. Perhaps that’s because it’s not so cold here. I would also suggest this part of golfing equipment doesn’t really deliver what it promises, but that’s your choice.
ü 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.
ü Think about how you will protect the score card (a zip-lock plastic bag?). Marking, signing and reviewing a wet card that is falling to bits is difficult.
On The Course
v 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, respectively, because your shots don’t bounce into trouble as much.
v On a rainy day, the greens will be slow. Hit your putts harder than you do when the sun is shining and remember that the ball won’t turn as much.
v In a bunker, the sand will be firmer; you won’t have to swing as hard to get the ball out.
v 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.
v Reduce the rain-induced challenges by wearing a baseball-style golf hat that helps to keep the rain out of your face.
v Hang your small towel and spare gloves from the inside ‘spokes’ of the umbrella so that they stay dryer and are easily accessible.
v Don’t drive a buggy across casual water or rain affected areas to avoid wheel ruts.
v Make sure all pitch marks are repaired as there will be more than usual.
v 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. Maybe a bigger tip; some players even take an extra umbrella just for the caddie.
v If there is a heavy shower take some shelter and ‘time out’; it may quickly pass by.
Wet Weather Rules of Golf
- Rule 25-1 deals with casual water, defined as an “accumulation of water that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance.” If your ball or stance is in visible 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.
- Rule 25-2 allows lifting, cleaning and dropping the ball, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot, not closer to the hole (optional). These rules apply anywhere on the course (including the ‘rough’) except when the ball is in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard, on the teeing ground and the green of the hole being played.
- If the ball is in a bunker with casual water you can drop by the same rule but 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 also 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.
- If the ball is not immediately recoverable from this condition, another ball may be substituted. If the original ball is recoverable, it may be cleaned.
- 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.
o 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 options but to grin and bear it – the Golfing Gods have struck again!
A golfer standing on a tee overlooking a river sees a couple of fishermen and says to his partner, “Look at those two idiots fishing in the rain.”