Sunday, November 15, 2009
Playing In The Rain Thoughts and Help
A reader, living in Georgia like myself where it has rained quite often, recently asked me for some tips about playing in the rain.
I'm hardly an expert, but there are some things I've observed in regards to playing in the rain that I think can help out.
One thing I've noticed is that golfers on the major tours, like the PGA, Nationwide, LPGA, etc. tend to play very well in the rain. However, other golfers, even really good amateurs, tend to struggle in the rain.
I believe that the caddy is a big reason for this difference because they can keep the golfer's grips dry and the clubs clean throughout the round.
So, the main goal is being able to keep those grips dry. So, how do you do that?
For starters, I was recommended the FootJoy Rain Grips ($20) before my club championship.
On the first day of the championship it rained the entire time and I used the left hand grip. I thought they worked tremendously and never really had a problem while my playing partners struggled from time to time. I would suggest that you should practice with them beforehand because you may need to use both gloves and that was a bit of a weird feeling when I tried using two gloves on the range.
But while the Rain Grip is a big help, towels are of the utmost importance. My suggest is to get plenty of towels because you'll need something to clean the clubface off and then something to dry the grip. If you're playing a golf course that requires a cart, then you'll likely not be able to take the carts on the fairway which will force you to bring a few clubs with you on each shot. So you'll need to lay down a few of the clubs while you hit that shot, thus you'll need something to keep those grips dry while they are on the ground.
I like the idea behind Dry Grip Towel ($15), which has a reversable cover that has one side that is water resistant and the other side is a microfiber towel that keeps the grips dry.
I would still suggest getting a few more regular towels and designate one of them to solely clean off the clubfaces.
I also recommend some type of bag cover. As far as umbrellas go, get something with a double canopy design to help against the wind because usually when it's raining it's also windy. If you're using a cart, you most likely don't need an umbrella.
I don't believe that rain suits keep the clubs dry, but they will keep the golfer dry and if you're walking that can be a huge help because if you don't have a rainsuit and your clothes get wet, it weighs the golfer down and makes the round more exhausting.
Higher handicappers usually tend to struggle much more in the rain than a lower handicapper. And Tour pros tend to tear it up in the rain. Besides keeping their grips dry I believe it's due to a few things:
1. The better the player the more likely they are to hit the ball first, then take divot. Thus avoiding fat shots.
2. The better players can consistently carry the ball in the air, which maximizes distance and gets the golfer closer to the hole.
3. The better players have more power and strength to get out of difficult lies in the rough.
4. The better players who strike the ball better can now just fire at the flagstick because the golf ball will end up close by.
If you watch the PGA Tour, rain is usually a huge boost for the longer hitters on Tour. In fact, PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson (3rd in Driving Distance in 2009), has had two victories in his short career, one at a damp Turning Stone and another at a raining and damp Pebble Beach. Basically the rain helps widen those fairways for the long ball hitter. For those who remember John Daly's first win at Crooked Stick for the PGA Championship, it had rained heavily leading up to the Tournament and Daly, who was far and away the longest player on Tour, could find fairway after fairway and wound up steamrolling the competition.
Hope these thoughts help. If you have any suggestions, post them in the comments section below.