Does your golf game turn into mush when the weather takes a turn for the worse?
Or are you so unprepared for the challenge of winter golf, that you're practically in the "also-ran" column before you even tee off?
Follow these wet weather golf tips to stop your game from flying south this winter.
GRIP DOWN ON YOUR CLUBS
When it’s wet and soft, shift your grip down a couple of centimetres to increase your control and quality of strike.
This’ll help you catch it cleaner, even a tad thin, and will prevent the clubhead digging into the ground before the ball – something you simply can’t afford to do in soft conditions.
And choking down on your grips will keep you swinging well within yourself so you don’t lose your balance.
BUY THE BEST WET WEATHER GEAR YOU CAN AFFORD
Your insurance policy for a comfortable round in the wet is your waterproof clothing.
And just like an insurance policy, you don't want to skimp in this area - the platinum-policy will always beat the "she'll be right" special if you ever need to claim.
So look for pants and jackets that are lightweight and able to stretch so they don’t hinder your movement during your golf swing.
Premium wet weather gear is often made from Gore-Tex, a synthetic material featuring a membrane that ventilates your body heat so you don’t completely cook while wearing it.
It’s easy to forget to drink when it’s cold and wet, and water is pouring down everywhere on the golf course.
But if you’re not keeping your body hydrated by regularly consuming fluids, your performance is bound to suffer.
When it’s wet remind yourself to take a few chugs from your water bottle or energy drink every couple of holes so you don’t run out of juice, performance wise.
Regular leather golf gloves become as slippery as a fish when they get wet, making them worthless when it’s bucketing down on the course.
The solution is rain gloves, which actually increase their grip when they’re damp.
Sold as a pair, rain gloves provide a secure connection between you and your club when it’s wet and they’ll simplify your day between shots – no wiping your grips religiously or hanging your glove out to dry underneath your umbrella between shots.
WIPE THE CLUBFACE
Pros delegate their wet weather equipment cleaning to their caddies, but the secret's out: all you really need is a dry towel.
Water and grass on the clubface isn’t ideal for achieving clean contact so grab your towel and wipe the face clean and dry just before you pull the trigger.
And make sure you clean any mud out of the grooves too so you get optimal spin.
ADJUST TO WET BUNKERS
Wet sand in the bunkers means you’ll have to adjust your bunker play around the greens.
A shallower swing arc is better for playing out of wet sand so shift the ball forward in your stance and adopt a more neutral hand position.
And be aware that the ball will always come out with less spin and on a lower trajectory from wet sand, so choose a higher-lofted wedge and don’t swing quite so hard to compensate for the ball rolling out more than usual when it hits the green.
TAKE ON THE PINS
Wet and soft greens are more receptive to spin, which effectively gives you the green light to fire straight at the pins.
Make sure you select a club that’ll fly it all the way to the pin because your ball will stop dead when it lands on the soft greens, even spinning backwards.
The smart play is to take an extra club so you can swing easier while ensuring you won’t come up short.
STAY IN BALANCE
Never try to swing full bore when it’s wet because the harder you swing, the greater your chances are of slipping and losing your balance.
Swing nice and easy, at a speed where you can comfortably stay in balance, and always take a practice swing to assess the grip limits under your feet.
You’ll need proper waterproof golf shoes with good traction when playing in the wet.
ECCO golf shoes are made from yak leather, which is tough and waterproof but also lightweight and breathable, and they offer a choice of spikeless or soft spike models which will provide sufficient grip in slippery and wet conditions.