Playing in Inclement Weather

We’ve all been there. You have a great round going, you are feeling it…then the clouds get dark and the skies open up. You go from stringing pars and birdies together, to barely being able to hang on to the club. The temperature drops in the blink of an eye, and before you know it, you are cold, playing poorly, and completely out of it. There really is nothing worse than having a great morning or afternoon ruined by poor weather. But, since you likely do not play on the PGA Tour, you will actually have to play through some bad stuff over the course of a season.

The bottom line is that no one is on top of their game during a stretch of poor weather. The key is to let it have as minimal an effect on you as possible. Because, even a 15 minute stretch of rain can ruin a round of golf, if you are not prepared to handle it, mentally and physically.

Half the battle with the elements is a mental one. In my competitive days I much preferred playing in terrible weather when I knew I was going to have to. Seeing an awful forecast for a big round of golf didn’t really phase me much. I would go into the round with the mindset that ‘it’s going to be a grind’ and ‘everyone else has to play in the same weather that I do’. This was always much better than having a beautiful day unexpectedly ruined by a downpour. But, when it does rain, you can’t let it bother you or get into your head. You will likely get frustrated, but half the battle is keeping your composure and playing through it.

If mentally preparing yourself is half the battle, the other half is preparing yourself physically. It is essential that you bring proper attire for whatever might come your way. My philosophy with rain gear has always been “light and tight”. Too much clothing will hold you back and make swinging the club difficult. Avoid sweatshirts, sweaters, and anything with cotton. Cotton will only soak up water and make your task even more difficult. It’s best to wear a tight top made from either spandex or polyester. I usually wear a GORE-TEX rain vest or jacket depending on the temperature and amount of precipitation. GORE-TEX rain pants are an absolute must for me too. They keep the entire bottom half of my body dry, I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Lastly, and most importantly, your hands. The only part of you that is actually attached to the golf club. If you can’t hold on to the club comfortably and confidently, you are done. You need to find yourself a really good pair of rain gloves, or an alternative. I personally have never found a pair of rain gloves that I like or can rely on. I tend to grip the club tighter than most players, so when the rain comes, I go with my bare hands. Everyone has habits or rituals they go to when the weather turns. Find a combination that works for you, and rely on it. Keeping your head focused on your game as opposed to the elements is all that you can hope for while playing inclement weather. The rest is out of your hands.

43 Responses to “Playing in Inclement Weather”

  1. Raymond says:

    Hi, one thing to add, tuck your trouser bottoms into your socks ,helps to keep them dry.

  2. Peter Hunt says:

    When I was in the UK, I was told to buy a “dish cloth” from Tesco. Not to be confused with a tea towel. The dish cloth is a small handerkerchief in size and slightly lumpy in a coarse weave. So I bought a couple from Tesco Supermarkets.

    Wrap that around the grip and no matter how wet it is, it will never slip.

    Try it – it really works.
    Regards, Peter Hunt

  3. Peter Cox says:

    Hi again Andy!

    Now I’ve learnt a new word – “inclement”.

    A comment about the surgical glove suggestion – they’re great as long as its warm but in cold conditions they tend to cut off the circulation and you end up with a pair of iceclumps holding the club.

    I have been recommended thin working gloves that have lots of small pimples on the rubber palms. The point is to have both gloves on while playing.

    Welcome to your new home,


  4. Jim Murphy says:

    Many great suggestions. Always carry spare gloves. I keep all my spare gloves in a plastic bag. There are also good powders to rub on your hands (PowerGrip). If you do not have any spare gloves wet your hands with a drink you carry in your bag, a mineral drink etc that has a tacky effect on your hands. This is an old professional trick that works. A little uncomfortable but works.

    We get all kinds of weather in Ireland.

    Good golfing, Jim

  5. Laro says:

    Simple and inexpensive solution is to carry paper towel and rub your grips with it during rainy weather. Try it, works well.

  6. Lonnie says:

    I agree with you totally- It’s mind over matter if you want to beat the weather. Besides 9 times outta 10 you need to pick a club over what you think you need in bad wx . I have really used that plan and it works awesome for me. You also need to double think ever shot to keep in the groove .

    Again You are right on the money Pal.


  7. NEd says:

    Living in Arizona we just wait a few minutes for the bad weather to pass

  8. Ray O Mahony says:

    Hi Andy,
    Like you i’ve yet to find a decent glove in the rain and find it a huge problem holding the club in the rain. The best solution i’ve found is to have three gloves in your bag and utilise them in the wet.
    Best Regards


  9. Ray O Mahony says:

    Totally agree

  10. JB says:

    I think the best advice I can provide about playing in inclement weather is don’t enjoy a few pints in the clubhouse. You will be constantly reminded what a great decision you made as people walk into the 19th bemoaning the conditions.

    Alternatively but the best water proofs you can afford and enjoy the challenge.

  11. Mike D says:

    Back here on the east coast in Durban, south africa, in the 18 years of playing golf, i have only twice left the course part way thru due to rain. Generally it ‘never’ rains on the course. Most times the rain falls vertically and then only for a few holes before moving on. I have found a synthetic glove, with an adequate cover for the clubs & a good towel will ensure decent grip. An umbrella and a waterproof jacket takes care of the upper body. We generally wear shorts year round so wet legs are no problem. Its not really cold as our winters are just great.

    Good luck to you guys playing in the colder climes – we can only imagine what its like!!

  12. David Morrison says:

    There are just three keys to playing in bad weather. #1 is getting a good pair of rain gloves . Footjoy makes a good product. They work so well that there is no need to towell grips dry. #2 is to have a premier rain top. A product called zero restriction with proper breathing and seams is excellent.Pants are also good but not as important. With this equipment you can play without towells and umbrellas both a pain to use. #3 is to have the right attitude about besting the conditions. It’s just mental and with the rain gloves and good jacket you are set to take it on!

  13. David Hutton says:

    I play in Fife Scotland and it does not really matter how well you prepare for the rain if it is horizontal you will get soaked, eyes water, frozen etc. Vertical rain is no problem!!

  14. Cory McNair says:

    I think it is fun to play in the rain. When you have an attitude of enjoyment you always play better! I realize that the play of the ball will be different and maybe the game not as good but if it is fun the benefits are still there!

  15. At 63 I play this game for a bit of enjoyment so number one if its raining before I go out and the forcast for the next 4 hours or so is poor I do not go. If I am out on the course playing in the Saturday medal and it comes to rain during the course of my round then I put my wet gear on and will complete the round followed by a hot shower in the locker room. A few other points, re calculate your strategy, don’t force the ball play comfortly into the wind its much more important to keep your ball on the fairway than worry about distance, the more conservative you play the better chance of not having double figures on your score card because of the conditions.

  16. Liam Peat says:

    If you have a large waist it is very helpful to use suspenders to keep your rain suit from dragging in the wet grass. You feel much better when the bottoms of your trousers are not heavy with excess water.

  17. Greg Helm says:

    Port Elizabeth, South Africa is known as the windy city. When the wind blows, don’t even try to open an umbrella, even if it is raining. I recently had a few lessons with our local Pro, who taught me some techniques for playing in the wind. Keeping the ball low and straight is the answer. But I’ve found it never rains on our golf course, well that’s what I tell myself.

  18. Joan Hughes says:

    :lol:I always have a complete change of clothing in the car, so dont worry about the rain ! remember your skin IS waterproof !!! so I get on with the game !!

  19. Howard Bleicher says:

    I like getting a raincheck!!

  20. Larry says:

    In the U.S. we have a product called Gorilla Grip, which is a small bees-wax prepared towel. I understand Tiger has Steve wipe it on all his grips before every shot. It gives you unbelievable grip. I use it primarily because of arthritis in my hands, and it gives me a great grip, wet or dry. On the bag it says it complies with PGA Rules. I called the company who makes it and they said it’s definitely within the PGA rules to use it.

    Larry in Phoenix

  21. Gordon Ornelles says:

    Any advice for playing when temperatures are 106 to 120?

  22. JR says:

    Golf is supposed to be a fun day out
    Getting wet, cold and miserable whilst risking the chance of my handicap being raised is not fun – so I don’t play in the rain

  23. Keith Andes says:

    As odd as it may sound, surgical gloves work very well in wet and/or cold weather. They aren’t bulky and the grip is very secure. They are a staple in my bag in the wet and cool Pacific Northwest.

  24. eric sando says:

    take one club longer and swing quietly—nothing original, but the club is less likely to slip. Also use your umbrella or whatever to keep your clubs and grips dry.

  25. Jeff Steward says:

    I find that damp hands are worse than completetly sodden hands – like you I dispense with the glove and make sure both my hand and club handles are wet – that way they tend to grip still. I also go down about 2 clubs to take more loft and live with being short rather than wayward – If I do this I tend to score better than my playing colleagues which also tends to make me feel less negative about playing in rain – I still prefer the sun though! 🙂

  26. Kit Lefroy says:

    I agree that it is difficult to find good rain gloves. Rather than play barehanded, I sometimes wear a pair of cheap cotton/polyester knit gloves. They give a good grip if you get them thoroughly wet, and then wring them out. They are also easier to get on and off than so-called rain gloves. I also grip the club more firmly than normal and swing a bit easier. The only draw back is it’s hard to keep the hands warm, but, that is true for any glove once they get wet.

  27. Don says:

    I play all year round, even played through tail end of a hurricane one (driver went 80 yards forward, up then about 230 behind me, oh well. I win more comps in bad weather than at any other times because I automaticaly play knock down shots, more club less force, it’s amazing how easy it is still to post a decent score, only problem I have is on the greens, speeds vary and its easy to leave simple puts short.

  28. Tina Johnson says:

    Here in southern Alberta we have had a really wet, cold spring. I always keep 2 or 3 pair of all-weather gloves in my bag for wearing when it’s either cold or wet. They have waterproof palms & work great, a hat with a brim is a must as well. We layer our clothes, usually fleece or gore-tex under waterproof lightweight jackets & rain pants. Works great & we remain dry.

  29. Lorcan says:

    Hi Andy
    In Ireland we get quite a bit of inclement weather. I found that if when wearing a glove and it gets wet, let the club grip get wet also. wet on wet gives U a good grip. Can U do this answer back on playing in the wind ?

    Cheers for now
    Lorcan Lynch

  30. Steven says:

    What irritates is not the wet weather. It is the selective way it comes. Either the first four hours of the morning, mid morning or late afternoon, thus creating advantage for whoever missed it. I know I can do nothing about it, but that does not stop me feeling mad!
    Steve Mwiti.

  31. Wayne Brooking says:

    Hi Andy,

    Save money on gloves etc when using your clubs in wet weather.

    simply wrap your cotton hanky around the grip. No more worries
    Regards Wayne

  32. Craig Billman says:


    Being from South Texas we usually play in very dry conditions, but every so often we have to play in rain. I usually take out out all my gloves…maybe 4-5 and rotate using them on every hole. I also keep my left hand under my right arm pit to keep my glove dry. this seems to work the best for me. I do make some golfing adjustments when it is wet. I concentrate on the top of the ball and will try to pick it off the fairway. I still hit it on the downswing. I normally will take an extra club and slow down the swing.

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

    God Bless

    Craig Billman

  33. trevor Botham says:

    Try a wide brimmed waterproof hat; particularly if its windy as well as wet and/or if you wear glasses. The brim acts as a small umbrella and helps keep your face and neck dry and your vision unimpaired.

  34. José Rolz says:

    Hi Andy:

    Here in Guatemala, during the rainy season it can really pour. Equipment gets wet in a hurry.
    I like to play matches in bad weather because I feel it will affect my competition more than me.
    A good rain glove is essential ( better have a spare on hand), as well as an umbrella in good condition. I also find helpful carrying a towel perched under my umbrella to clean my eyeglasses and dry my grips before making a shot. Keeping your grips as dry as possible is essential. Good teamwork with your caddy can make a huge difference in your level of play.
    Most importantly, I find that keeping your composure is a key, since one is likely to miss more shots under these poor climate conditions…but so will the competition.

    Best regards and keep up the good work.

    José Rolz
    Mayan Golf Club
    Guatemala City, Guatemala

  35. Les says:

    Good advice alround, as usual. My only other point to make is the towel. I normaly carry two towels one small and one large. In inclement conditions, especialy in winter months, I use the small towel to wrap around my none glove hand. I find it helps keeping the hand warm and dry and is instantly available for use. In the rain when playing a shot I tuck the towel inside the umberella for ease of use.

  36. george hay says:

    A low handicapper friend swears by using “Marigolds” (any dishwashing or household rubber gloves will do) and he is right! very effective and because they are so fine, you don’t need to remove them when putting. Only thing I would add to the foregoing, is to always have, if the weather is, or is forecast to be inclement, is a change of clothes, particularly socks!

  37. Bill McTigue says:

    Having lived in the UK I know that inclement weather means something completely different to what us Australians put up with. We do still get cold wet days down south in Melbourne’s sandbelt where I am from, especially in winter. Whilst wet weather gloves are great my tip would be to have 3 or 4 gloves that you can rotate while you play. This is also a must for playing in extreme heat (high 30 degrees C) when your hands get very sweaty. Good golfing to all no matter what the weather!

  38. Jos Vermeij says:


    Sorry for my English, so I’m from Holland en not used to write a letter in English. I allways have a box of surgical (licht plastic) gloves in my bag. It’s cheap en it works.

    PS. My website is under construction, in about 3 weeks it will be operational.


  39. Sheena Hill says:

    A pair of tight surgical gloves really helps in wet weather. Give them a try.

  40. Robb Walton says:

    Hi Andy,

    What I always do when I get up to play golf on the weekend and it is Inclement Weather…I still get all my golf apparell on and then turn on the Wii and play Tiger Woods 2009 nothing like a good game of indoor golf to beat the weather.

  41. Carol Tate says:

    Andy: I played in a tournament in early May and it rained pretty hard the whole time. One thing I found to be helpful was to have four or five golf gloves on hand as I have to wear a glove due to a bad thumb on my left hand. The other thing I found out was that squeezing your glove hard on a terry towel kept it dry longer. Our team ignored the rain and played in lightweight shirts and we did end up winning low gross and low net.
    PS A hat with a brim keeps the rain off of your back.


  42. JON GASPICH says:


  43. Derek Wilson says:

    I find a good rain glove essential. Make sure that it is on the tight side when dry as it will stretch a bit when wet. Make sure the rain glove is wet through, as it is made to grip best under those conditions. I am amazed at how many people I play with don’t have a seperate rain glove! For light cold/showery weather a goretex lined sweater is fine, and carry a thin weather proof slip over top. I also keep a full goretex suit when you can see it is going to be heavy for an extended period.
    Finally, for heavy rain you need a complete waterproof bag/club cover to keep bag/grips/food etc. dry.
    Then, as you say, when I am fully prepared I feel that I have an advantage over those that aren’t!
    PS: Any news of John Richardson?

    Andy’s Reply:

    Hi Derek,

    Many thanks for your comments.

    You can reach John at



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