While it probably isn’t everyone’s idea of a great day out on the golf course, playing in cold, wet and windy conditions is sometimes unavoidable. So if you're itching to get out on the course in the winter months, here are five tips to playing good golf when it's damp, drizzling or downright dumping.
1. BE PREPARED AND EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
When the temperature is dropping, the clouds are closing in and the wind is picking up, the last thing you need to be doing is frantically scrambling around to find your wet weather gear. Or worse, not finding it at all.
So if there's even a chance the heavens will open, make sure you're well equipped and ready to spring into action if they do. Dedicate the biggest pocket of your golf bag to all your waterproof gear, don't forget the umbrella and install the rain cover on your golf bag before you commence your round.
2. INVEST IN SOME QUALITY WET WEATHER APPAREL
When you are dry and toasty warm in your waterproof pants and jacket as a weather front hits, you'll be patting yourself on the back for your foresight in purchasing the ‘essentials’ of winter golf.
The latest golf-specific designs feature water repellent synthetic material that is lightweight, comfortable and unobtrusive, so you can wind up the shoulders without feeling the constriction commonly experienced when wearing non-golf specific wet weather gear.
Some jackets also feature ventilation gaps that increase breathability and maintain a consistent temperature, so you don't get too hot and steamy when it's raining cats and dogs.
And you'll be quietly smug when you watch those with less foresight than your good self cop a right royal drenching.
3. ACCEPT THE WEATHER TO BECOME A WET TRACK WINNER
You can’t control the weather but you can control how you respond to the conditions, which has a huge bearing on your enjoyment and subsequent performance with the sticks.
Learn to accept the conditions for what they are and don’t waste your energy moaning about them. Ultimately you’ll be more relaxed by accepting the fact that it is cold, wet and windy. So stay positive, lower your expectations and keep in mind that everyone else is in the same boat.
Just remember that in some parts of Scotland, the birthplace of golf, it rains about 265 days of the year – irrefutable evidence that golf is meant to be played when it's wet.
4. TOWELS AND GLOVES… LOTS OF THEM
Slick grips and straight shots are like toothpaste and orange juice - they just don’t go together.
So it goes without saying really that ensuring a secure bond between golfer and club is of utmost importance when it's soggy.
And that is why the humble golf towel and wet weather golf gloves come into their own when you’re getting a thorough soaking out on the course.
Stash a couple of towels inside your golf bag (don’t leave them attached on the outside of your bag, for obvious reasons) to wipe the club's grip dry before playing your shot.
And to ensure absolute control, wear some golf rain gloves, which actually increase their stickability in wet and humid weather. They come as a pair (left and right) to keep both hands dry and your grip as watertight as a politician’s pay rise.
5. THINK TEMPO AND RECALIBRATE YOUR GAME
When things are bleak weatherwise, you’ll have to adapt to the changed conditions.
Firstly, keep things simple and concentrate on your swing tempo - a slower tempo and swing speed will help your control and take some spin off the ball, which is an excellent way to adapt to the heavy, humid air associated with a downpour.
Humid air affects how far the ball will travel, particularly with high spinning shots, so recalibrate your carry distance and yardage for each club to adapt to the moisture.
And when the ground has had a good soaking you’ll soon notice that the break you normally read on the greens simply isn't there. So hit your putts firmer and straighter than you’d expect and you'll soon be holing your fair share.
Remember the three A's - adapt, accept and adjust - and the challenge of playing in wet weather will be like water off a duck’s back, so to speak.