Bad Weather, Good Golf Game: How to Beat the Elements

Bad Weather, Good Golf Game: How to Beat the Elements

What respectable golfer would play in those conditions, one might ask, on a windy, cold, or rainy day (or all of the above?)

It could be chilling cold, relentless rain, or wicked wind that whirls on the links. It’s a sure bet you’ll see some hopeful souls out there anyway. Not frozen, not soaked, not blown away … playing the game they love, that’s all.

Where there’s a will (and a windbreaker) there’s a way.


Spring still sees chilly conditions in the Carolinas. At least between rays of hope and sunshine. Even if you can see your breath, you can make your way through a respectable round.

  • Walk the course. Make tracks with your shoes, not your golf cart. The steps will keep you warm, especially with a pull cart.
  • Warm your hands. You have to feel your shots. Pack a pair of mittens for between shots, or have hand warmers in your pockets.
  • Wear a hat. Body heat will escape through the top of your head. Doff a knit cap (tobogan, in the south), and pull it down over your ears.

RECOMMENDED: Layer up your clothing, with tight, non-cotton clothes next to your skin. The kind that wicks moisture. And if it’s below 30, consider that you’ll play stiff and not have the range of motion with all those layers.


Pretend you’re playing St. Andrews with a Sunday lead. We laugh, but in the rain, the mindset you need to win a British Open will come in handy.

  • Revise your short game. You ought to hit chips and putts a bit harder. Rain slows the greens, so putting speed becomes paramount.
  • Stay hydrated. Ironic, given the conditions. But dehydration can degrade your decision-making and well-being. Bring a (water) bottle.
  • Go waterproof. From hats to jackets to trousers to shoes, waterproof wins. Soggy socks make for sad scores. Get the gear.

RECOMMENDED: Bring an extra scorecard, and use a pen. Slip a quality umbrella in your bag. And for goodness sake, give yourself some grace! Keep your score tolerance relative to the conditions you’re playing in.


A stiff breeze and a golf ball are notorious enemies. Before you go trying to outmuscle Mother Nature with bigger swings, consider this.

  • An easy swing is king. You’ve got to hit the ball solidly and keep it low. Vow at the first tee box not to blame the wind for a single errant shot.
  • Trust the wind. Toss a bit of grass in the air like the pros do. Then adjust where you aim. Let the wind carry your shot back to where you want it.
  • Know when to say when. Courses are playable in wind, but if the breeze moves a stationary ball on the green, head to the 19th hole.

RECOMMENDED: Take more club and an easy swing to reduce backspin. Keep your cool; these are the days that’ll test your patience, but also your skill. You’ll become a better golfer for the experience of it.


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