If you play a lot of golf, sooner or later you might have to play in the rain. In fact, this time of year in Minnesota can see some wet conditions, and if you don’t want to miss any rounds before that precipitation starts turning to snow, you will probably need to play in the rain.
Playing golf in wet conditions is a different animal than teeing it up in sunshine, with 78 degrees and no wind. There are considerations to make when the forecast calls for rain. So we asked John Kendall, director of golf at Giants Ridge, for his tips on playing in wet conditions.
Dress for Success
Kendall recommends that players should always be prepared for wet weather, but if you know that it is coming, be sure to have the right kind of equipment: a good rain jacket, hat, umbrella, waterproof shoes, extra towel, and extra gloves. Staying as dry as you can is going to increase your chances for success, but perhaps the best weapon before you begin your round is to recognize your fate.
“Accept the fact that you’re going to get wet so you can best physically and mentally prepare for it,” Kendall says. “Everyone else playing that day is getting wet as well, so why not have the best plan to handle the conditions?”
Adjust Your Approach
Once that mental hurdle is cleared and you are outfitted in the proper gear, you have to deal with the matter of striking the golf ball. A good soaking rain is going to change the way the turf reacts, and the same goes for the ball coming off your wet club. You have to adjust the way you play the game, and that means swinging within yourself and avoiding the hero shots.
“In the softer conditions, I’ll always hit more three-quarter and half shots to avoid big divots and steep contact,” Kendall says. “You can still be aggressive with shot selection, but I avoid trying to squeeze every yard out of a shot — take one more club and hit it solid.”
Kendall says that hitting more club than is typical for a certain shot and hitting that longer club softer, or with less force, helps him to avoid both flyers and shots that spin more than expected when landing on softer greens. Keeping those swing thoughts in mind can help you reach the required distance despite the conditions.
Read the Greens
Speaking of the greens, wet conditions may require a different mindset on the putting surfaces. You’ll want to examine the green complexes for changing conditions. Be mindful that, with all putts, speed is more important than line, and wet greens can slow down speeds, which can reduce the break.
If you are just off the green and chipping, reduce the amount of loft on the club and employ a pitch and run motion, as if to sweep the ball, and lessen a steep angle of attack that could dig in and cause fat shots.
In addition, watch what’s going on around you, as focusing on other players’ putts can help with yours.
“Wet greens will be slower than dry greens, a change that can happen quickly during a round, Kendall says. “Pay attention to how the greens feel under your feet and watch your playing partners’ putts to gauge how they are being impacted.”
Above all, keep a good attitude. As Kendall says, you are all in this situation together, and cooler, not necessarily drier, heads, will likely prevail.