How Does Rain Affect Golf?

By George N. Root III
Gathering storm clouds during your round may mean this round is about to get more difficult.
Gathering storm clouds during your round may mean this round is about to get more difficult.

When you are a young golf enthusiast you resign yourself to playing in any condition just to be sure you get in your regular round. As you gain experience you realize that there are some weather conditions that make golf difficult to play, especially the rain.

Grip

The tackiness of golf grips is designed to withstand a certain amount of rain. But, depending on the kind of grips you have, continuous rain can eliminate the effectiveness of the grip design. With golf grips it is not the grip itself that is the problem in the rain, it is the wet hands of the golfer. It is nearly impossible to hold on to anything with a wet golf glove, and wet bare hands offer no traction at all. If you have the grips with the ridges in them, then the water will fill in the ridges and reduce some of the traction. But if you can keep your hands dry, you have a better chance of holding on to your clubs. Remember to towel dry your grips completely after playing in the rain as the drying water will loosen the glue that holds the grips in place and will also remove the tackiness and elasticity from the grips.

Concentration

Concentrating on your golf game while playing in the rain can be difficult. Standing over a putt while a constant barrage of rain hits your face can be distracting. Rain can also be a problem as you bring your head up through your swing and are met with rain in the face. Reduce the rain-induced challenges by wearing a baseball-style golf hat that helps to keep the rain out of your face.

Traction

One of the obvious problems to playing golf in the rain is traction for your swing. Even on the level tee boxes you will find your feet slipping around once water has accumulated. The rain becomes an even bigger problem for your footing when you have to stand over an angled lie in the tall grass. In that situation there is no real way of securing your stance. To combat traction problems, slow down your swing and try to maintain as much control over your body as possible.

Plugged Ball

Rain makes the ground soft, and ground that is freshly soft from rain is essentially mud. When you hit a golf ball into that mud, it does not roll. The ball will stick into the ground, which is known as a plugged ball. Winter rules--the more lenient rules that amateur golfers follow--allow you to pull your ball out of a plugged situation and play it from a spot no nearer to the hole but near the point of entry. The problem is that when the ball plugs on the fairway, and especially on the green, then it gets no roll. A shot that would be a 250-yard drive on a nice day will plug and be a 210-yard drive on a rainy day. Play your approach shots as close as possible to the pins, and remember to fix your ball marks on the greens.

Lightning

Rain is sometimes accompanied by thunder and lightning. In some cases rain is only accompanied by thunder. When this situation arises you can continue to play, but use caution. If lightning is spotted many courses will sound a siren, indicating that all golfers need to get off the course immediately. Remember your bag is full of lightning rods. Even the clubs with graphite shafts have metal club heads to them.

About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
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