As anyone who plays golf in the UK will tell you, there’s almost always a risk of rain when you’re playing a round. This country is renowned for its wet weather, which can adversely affect your game in numerous ways. With this in mind, we sat down with Bernard Gallacher to get his top tips for playing golf in the rain.
Umbrella and towel
An umbrella will keep your equipment dry and prevent water from getting onto your ball, while a towel helps improve your grip.
The minute your grip is slippery, golf becomes unplayable, so a towel is vital – you should ideally pack a few towels in case the one you use outside gets too wet.
Hang the towels underneath the umbrella and keep the umbrella up if it’s not too windy. That way, you can easily access these towels during the round.
In an ideal world, you should take a trolley with an umbrella holder fitted to the main arm – the Powakaddy Universal Umbrella Holder is great for protecting your umbrella.
For obvious reasons, it’s better to take a lightning proof umbrella with you, so if you’re not sure whether your umbrella is lightning-resistant, check this before you take to the course.
The modern golfer will pay a fair bit of money for a waterproof jacket, but they’re well worth the investment.
Not only are they resistant to water, they’re also resistant to wind, which means you don’t have to bulk up with sweaters underneath your jacket in order to keep warm.
Since the advent of GORE-TEX golf jackets, golfers have the luxury of wearing breathable, waterproof materials, which not only makes them comfortable but also helps them swing without restriction.
So, from both a comfort and performance perspective, today’s waterproof jackets are ideal. I just wish we’d had them when I was playing professionally!
Sandy Lyle was a pioneer of playing in waterproofs – he was a great waterproof player! He had a short swing and wearing waterproofs never affected his game.
One of the worst aspects of playing golf in the rain is playing with wet feet! You want to feel snug and not be distracted when you’re taking shots.
It’s bad enough when you hit the ball into the rough and the water comes over the top, but you don’t want your feet to get wet during general play, so it’s worth investing in a good pair of waterproof shoes at this time of year.
Some golfers are maybe guilty of keeping the same pair of shoes for too long, which is why water might get into their shoes and get their feet wet.
For me, every golfer should have a pair of shoes for winter and rainy weather, and a pair of shoes for summer. Depending how often they’re playing, they should look to buy new shoes every couple of years.
Most of the pros wear white shoes, because white is easy to carry and it goes with anything, whatever your choice of attire.
These are a real game-changer for amateur golfers in terms of giving golfers more control of their grip.
Most pros don’t need rain gloves because their caddies keep them dry, but if you’re an amateur golfer, you can gain a real advantage by adding rain gloves to your bag.
They’re not made from leather, they’re made from synthetic leather, and they’re specially developed to play in the rain.
They’re so well constructed that you don’t lose a lot of feel by having two gloves on. What you gain in holding onto the club more than mitigates the small amount of feel that you lose. Ultimately, this added grip will help reduce your scores.
In the Genesis Open, Phil Mickelson played with a pair of rain gloves. While this might seem unusual, if someone like Phil Mickelson is concerned about his hands getting wet, it shows just how important rain gloves are.
Waterproof golf bag
Most Sunday bags are not waterproof – they’re meant to be light and are carried around for convenience in dry weather.
Therefore, if the grass is wet, sometimes the dampness will get through the non-waterproof material of your Sunday bags, especially the rain is coming at them from two directions. This inevitably means your grips will get wet as well, which as we know makes golf very difficult.
That’s why I carry a waterproof golf bag when I’m playing with friends. I put it on a pull trolley and this will keep the bag off the ground, which is an enormous help in wet weather.
Getting the ball out of sand is one of the toughest challenges a golfer can face, even moreso when the sand is compacted by the rain.
A pitching wedge is better placed than a sand iron to overcome this challenge. The reason for this is that golf clubs are designed for normal sand and a sand iron has bounce on the soul.
However, if the sand is compact, the last thing you want is a club with bounce on the soul, because it’ll strike the ground and bounce into the ball if the ground is hard.
You can either de-lock your sand iron grip to create more loft, or use a pitching wedge so that the leading edge acts more like a knife and can cut through the sand in wet conditions.