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Ask the Pros: Tips for Playing in Rough Weather

With some record snowfalls in February, the winter in Minnesota appears to be extending itself in 2018, and that may make some golfers anxious to hit the course (you know the old saying, “February blizzards bring mad March golfers”). The result may be golfers facing some rough conditions when teeing it up in early spring. Frankly, though, that’s one of the joys of golf in Minnesota. We learn how to play in just about any conditions.

Springtime in Minnesota can mean anything from cold, breezy weather to sideways icy rain, none of which is too inviting for your much-anticipated first rounds of the season. But many golfers in this region want a seven-month golf season and don’t mind playing in adverse conditions. So, whether you are experienced at playing in rough weather or not, there are some things to consider before layering up for the 2018 golf season.

Wear The Right Stuff

Appropriate clothing and gear are vital for any golf in bad weather, and Golf Magazine offers some helpful tips.

For rain, make sure have an umbrella, rain gloves, rain hood for your clubs, waterproof shoes and hat, and at least one big towel in your bag.

For cold weather, layering is key. Consider this combination: A base layer of some kind of compression garments and/or a mock-neck. A secondary layer of an insulating fleece or performance-fabric quarter-zip. A top layer of a windbreaker or rain jacket. Add a warm hat instead of a ballcap and some appropriate cart gloves or mitts, and you’re ready for anything the Minnesota weather can send your way.

Prepare for the Conditions

So, once you are properly geared up for the elements, it’s time to consider the kind of golf you might experience. If you aren’t in the proper frame of mind, you may end up with a miserable slog-fest that does more to discourage you and perhaps even set your game back than offer benefit from those early season swings. So, we asked a couple pros what to expect when playing in rough conditions.

Christopher Foley PGA Master Professional and director of instruction at Cragun’s Legacy Courses in Brainerd:

  • Stay patient. Weather conditions are going to affect scoring, so keep your expectations in check.
  • Concentrate on making swings that promote solid contact.
  • The temperature affects the distance the ball goes. Depending on club-head speed, the difference in yards between 70 degrees temps and 45 degrees can be 10-plus yards.
  • Dress in layers and clothing that keeps your core warm. Keep your hands and head dry and warm. When you dress in layers, you can remove clothing if it gets warmer or add more when the temperature drops.

Don Berry, PGA Professional at Edinburgh USA Golf Club in Brooklyn Park:

  • There is that old saying that goes, ‘when it’s breezy, swing it easy.’ It’s solid advice, especially when it’s windy.
  • I think on those cold and rainy days, it’s best to focus on your chipping and putting. Most people are not going to hit many greens in those conditions, and you can still save your round. When the weather is rotten, focus on chipping and putting, and you can still salvage a good round.

The bottom line is to lower expectations and enjoy those first swings of the season. You shouldn’t beat yourself up for missed shots (especially when they may be due to the weather), yet you can revel in some small victories, knowing that you have hit some decent shots in adverse conditions.

And make sure to enjoy the quick round. Chances are the course you are playing won’t be very crowded.

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