Looking back on this weekend’s PGA Championship, I’ll always remember two things: first that Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler are the future of golf and secondly that crazy weather. Thankfully, Valhalla has a brand, new drainage system that stopped the tournament from continuing on Monday and saved the day!
Does that mean we put our Sunday games on hold just because of some wind and rain? Heck no! We wouldn’t be true golfers if we let a bit of water stop us. Don’t go running out into any storm just yet. First, check out Scratch’s tips for golfing in wet weather below and then have fun Rock Heads!*
First and foremost, you are going to need rain gear. That means waterproof layers, umbrellas for both you and your bag, a hat, and extra gloves and towels. Also make sure that you have an insurance card and a form of ID in a waterproof plastic bag, securely fastened to your person, so in the event of misfortune, you can be helped in the order of how good your coverage is.
Next you are going need to make sure you have the best traction possible. Grab some new cleats for your golf shoes, or if you aren’t satisfied with that, you can try grabbing some tree climbing spurs for added grip. You may also want to add some rain golf gloves or some all-weather golf gloves for a sturdy grip. This might sound like a lot of gear, but you’ll be amazed how many people go out to go in the rain without them.
The rules of the course are going to change a bit. Wet conditions often means casual water. The increased flooding is going to make putting look more like a chipping game, bunkers are going to turn into water hazards, so be sure to adjust your lies accordingly. If casual water affects your stance, line of intended swing or the position of the ball (even if it’s in the rough) you can clean the ball and drop it without penalty at the nearest point of full relief from the condition, not nearer the hole but not necessarily in the fairway. However, if the problem is casual water in a bunker, you can take relief without penalty in a similar way but only within the hazard. There is no relief without penalty from casual water in any other hazard.
Doug Wade of PGA.com gives these two great tips:
1. “Stay controlled: When it’s time to focus on the shot, solid contact is more important than ever when conditions get tough. Don’t give yourself any easier opportunities for mistakes by overswinging. A common mistake is the feeling that you have to swing harder – that’s actually the most harmful thing you can do. The chance for the club to slip in your hands or your feet to slip on the swing are only increased in wet conditions. A shorter, more compact swing with more club will only help you in these situations.”
2. “When it rains, the course changes right in front of you. Be aware of what the rain, cold and wind can do to your shots. Wet conditions mean less spin for shots but slower greens and softer fairways. Adjust your game and club selection accordingly.
Your score card will easily be soaked. Electronic score cards may work well, however, be careful they they don’t suffer a similar fate but with some added sparks and fizzle. You may want to even just forget keeping score and give yourself a higher handicap. Shooting par for this event is equivalent to acing a hole on a regular day, so if you are able to accomplish this feat, buy your surviving match partners a round!
Want more tips? Check out this video from Golf Channel’s Morning Drive!
*Though it probably doesn’t need to be said, I’ll just add this: IF THERE’S THUNDER AND LIGHTING, DON’T GO OUTSIDE HOLDING GOLF CLUBS!