During last week’s exciting yet rainy Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Newport, South Wales, I was impressed with how the golfers were still able to produce some magic round the course. I also saw some not-so-nice shots, especially on the first and rainiest day. Refreshing to see Europe and USA’s top golfers struggling with the weather conditions.
In the following days the players adapted and coped brilliantly. So with the rainy season fast approaching here are a few tips to help your scores when the sky’s open.
1) Fly it; don’t roll it – When greens get wet, they become slower. More water means less roll. The problem is the amount of water on each green or on different areas of the same green can vary. Is the green raised? Lowered? Well drained? Retains water? Flat or sloping? All these things will affect how wet the green is. So it’s easier to predict how a chip or pitch will react if you can fly the ball most of the distance to the hole. You eliminate the chance of hitting a wet patch and stopping short.
2) Be prepared – Learn from the boy scouts! A little bit of preparation can save you a lot of hassle. Check the weather report for when you are playing. If it sounds like rain, take an umbrella, wet shoes, waterproof trousers and a waterproof jacket in your bag, extra towels to dry your clubs, hood for your bag, waterproof hat, wet weather glove, spare gloves – and you might want to consider changing the ball you hit.
3) Look for clues around the green - You can try and figure out how the green is going to behave. Look for clues. If you are playing uphill to it, chances are it won’t be that wet. Downhill and it might be saturated. How windy is it? Wind can quickly evaporate water from the putting surface and make it quicker than you might think. As always watch your playing partners’ putts closely to see how quick the green is.
4) Club up – You will probably need a little extra club for several reasons. 1) The humid air will hold the ball up a little bit through the air. 2) With a wet ball and wet club you won’t transfer as much energy from club to ball, so less distance. 3) The ball won’t roll as far so you need to allow for that. All these things will only add up to half a club to two clubs difference but are worth remembering.
5) Contact lenses - If you wear glasses you have an extra problem to deal with. Water on your glasses can be a real pain, so try contact lenses if you haven’t already. When I switched I also found an improvement in my overall vision which was great for golf.
6) Get good-quality wet clothing - If you skimp on your wet-weather clothes, there is a chance they won’t be up to the job. Good-quality stuff will be fully waterproof, lightweight, breathable and you will be able to move freely in it. Try a few different ones and get something that will keep you warm, dry and won’t restrict your swing.
So now you are all prepared to bring the course to its knees even when the heavens open.
One last tip: Don’t buy your waterproofs from the same place the USA team bought theirs from. They all leaked on the first day!
Photo Credit: Photo by cnemil