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  • Pro Tip: How to Play Golf in Wet Conditions

    Pro Tip: How to Play Golf in Wet Conditions

    Whether you’re caught in a summer storm or spring shower, playing golf in wet, muddy conditions is always a special challenge.

    GlobalGolf shares the top 5 tips to playing golf in wet conditions as well as some answers to the most frequently asked conditions about golf in the rain.

    Wet Golf Course

    Best Tips for Playing Golf in Wet Conditions

    Our staff of PGA Professionals have plenty of experience playing golf in the rain. Here are a few of our favorite tips that can make a real difference.

    1. Be Prepared for a Wet Golf Course

    First and foremost, never get caught unprepared by the unexpected rain storm, especially when playing golf in the tumultuous uncertainty of summer. When there’s a chance you’ll be playing golf on a wet course, always have an extra golf towel (or two) in the garment pockets of your golf bag. The extra dry towels are perfect to keep your hands as well as your grips as dry as possible through the weather.

    Additionally, having a pair of rain gloves or a backup pair (or two) of normal golf gloves stored in their original case or a plastic bag is a great idea. Rain gloves provide a better gripping surface for your swing, as its material components are more equipped for damp conditions. We have some fun tips for how to make your golf gloves last longer, too.

    Finally, at bare minimum, keep a waterproof rain jacket in your bag at all times (if you can fit a full suit, even better). These keep the rain wicking off of your body and prevent it from soaking into your garments. Playing golf with water-logged clothing can affect your game, attitude and even your health depending on the temperatures.

    There’s always the superstition of it only raining when you remember to put the golf umbrella in your bag, so if you want to ward the rain away but still stay prepared, leave the umbrella in the trunk of your car for a quick retrieval at the turn.


    2. Keep Your Golf Swing Steady

    When playing golf in wet conditions, you might feel the need to swing out of your shoes since the ball doesn’t roll off the tee shot. Try swinging at 80-90% when playing golf in damp conditions instead of swinging 100% or more.

    Doing this ensures that you are focused more on the golf ball and solid contact instead of trying to squeeze more distance out of your shots; this actually creates a tendency to hit fat shots.

    Poor contact and mis-hits tend to be exaggerated during wet conditions. More control over your golf swing and the golf ball is paramount to playing good golf in this type of weather. Don’t forget that if you’re playing in a golf tournament, you can’t rely on being able to play the ball “up” (also known as lift, clean and place).

    3. Take Extra Club on Your Approach Shots

    With rainy conditions come more receptive greens. Your approach shots will have a tendency to bite more and potentially spin back due to the increased backspin generated.

    For example, on a typical day with normal ground conditions, you may be used to hitting an 8-iron 150 yards because the greens are traditionally firm, allowing for a big first bounce and a roll-out. On rainy days, however, you may want to hit a 7-iron as you’ll have to factor in flying the ball further into the green and rolling out less.

    Using more club works in conjunction with the second tip above: you can swing easier knowing you definitely have enough club to hit the green.

    4. Closely Examine Greenside Conditions

    Wet surfaces have a tendency to slow down the green speed, which also reduces the amount of break. Therefore, a huge tip for putting on wet greens is to hit your putts a little harder and factor in less break or movement.

    Be sure to keep a close on each green independently as some greens, due to their sloping or runoff, may drain better than others. Remember, with all putts, speed takes precedence over the line.

    Additionally, when you’re just off the green, or in a tightly mown area adjacent to the putting surface, reduce the amount of loft to execute the shot.

    For example, if you primarily use your SW or LW, gear down to a PW or another lower-lofted wedge and employ a pitch and run motion, one where you feel like you are picking or sweeping the ball off the ground. Using this shot eliminates the steeper angle of descent needed for more lofted clubs and reduces the leading edge from digging into the ground, causing a fat shot.

    5. Keep A Positive Attitude

    Playing golf in muddy conditions can be a real test to your mental game. Since no one likes to be caught in a rain storm or having to go out after a rain delay and play through really soggy conditions, try reframing the experience so that you’re happy to be out there; you’ll be surprised how much more relaxed and accurate you are compared to your buddies or competitors.

    Take each shot at a time and remember a small positive moment from each shot; it doesn’t have to be the outcome, but it could be that you followed your pre-shot routine, you followed the second and third tips above and swung easily or you even hit your putt the right speed. Collecting all these positive moments will keep you relaxed and in a positive mood despite the wet conditions and give you more confidence next time you’re caught in a shower.

    Playing in the rain can be your superpower if you let it!

    Top 3 FAQs for Playing Golf on a Wet Course

    Wet course conditions certainly lead to different golf course management strategies. Here are a few pointers on how to best play golf in muddy conditions based on our most-received questions.

    1. How Do You Hit Off Wet Fairways?

    You’ll want to be sure you hit the ball first, especially if you normally take divots. Hitting off wet fairways is akin to hitting out of fairway bunkers in that you want to pick the ball as cleanly as you can to avoid irregularities caused by the mud.

    A bonus pro tip here is to take relief from standing water whenever you can as this will get you back to a more stable lie.

    2. How Do You Avoid Hitting Fat Shots in Wet Conditions?

    To avoid hitting fat shots in wet conditions, stick to your regular or even a slightly slower swing speed to stay in more control. You’ll also want to club up to ensure your carry distance is enough - there is much less roll-out when the greens are wet; this also mentally prevents you from over-swinging in the first place.

    If you’re around the greens, you’ll want to find a balance of hitting wedges that can carry the ball the distance you need but also go down a few degrees in loft in order to avoid a steeper swing path. Be sure your grooves are sharp as well to make the most out of your contact.

    3. When Is It Too Wet to Play Golf?

    The easy answer to this question is that it's too wet to play golf when the golf course is closed. However, a flooded golf course or a known poor drainage system can also alert you to the status of your tee time since wet conditions often lead to course damage. Flooded greens especially can be difficult to repair if there are enough spike marks on them.

    You may also decide it’s too wet to play golf if you’re riding and the pro shop declares cart path only.

    We hope these tips for playing golf in the rain give you more confidence next time you’re striking the ball from a wet fairway or putting in rain gear. Staying relaxed and positive will give you an advantage on a rainy day.