Feb 15, 2023
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

How Much Rain is Too Much to Golf?

Rain and playing golf don't normally mix well, but that doesn't make it an impossibility. If you prepare with the right gear and attitude, you can make the most of your time on the golf course - even on those colder, rainier days. However, there is plenty of information you need to be aware of before heading out on a soggy day.

Luckily, you're in the right place. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to make the most out of your rainy golf trip. Let's get into it!

How Does Rain Affect Golf?

You may be surprised by how much rain can affect your game, but it can have a real impact on almost every aspect of your play. From changes in the course to the air itself, rain begins a domino effect that you need to be aware of if you're going to keep playing. Let's walk you through some key differences. 

The Course Will Feel Different

The first thing you’ll undoubtedly notice is how different the ground beneath you will feel. Depending on the rainfall amount, the ground will soak up a lot of moisture, creating a challenge for more steadying poses. You may find yourself slipping while walking and taking shots, so you’ll need to take more time with every move to ensure you don't mess up - or end up flat on your back!

Your Irons Will Feel More Slippery

If you're used to using irons out on the course, you'll already know how much more difficult they can feel when trying to achieve consistent accuracy. This is even more true when it's raining! Consider switching to woods when the weather isn't on your side. While you may still run into difficulties, they won't be nearly as bad as with irons. Play smarter!

Your Ball Won't Travel as Far

It might sound unusual, but cold, wet weather truly affects how far your ball will travel. It won't go as far as you're used to, so you’ll need to account for that with every swing. A quick science lesson: cold air is much denser than warm air, as the molecules pack themselves together due to thermal expansion. This expansion increases the resistance against your golf ball as it flies through the air, meaning you’ll need to put more power and speed behind your swings to achieve the results you're used to.

Your Concentration Will be Affected

Last, but potentially one of the most critical factors, is how your concentration will be affected. Wind and rain aren't friendly to anyone, and when trying to achieve the perfect swing, holding an umbrella or shielding your eyes isn't exactly helpful. That's even before we discuss how demotivating it can be to see your usual performance affected! With the right gear on your side, you should be fine, but be prepared for a very different day on the course. Adjust your expectations.

How Much Rain is Too Much to be Able to Play Golf?

The immediate answer is as soon as your safety could be affected. Rain may seem harmless, but it isn't, especially in excessive quantities. The second answer is when the realistic possibility of you having fun - or getting any worthwhile practice in - has completely vanished. If you aren't playing for enjoyment or to improve your game, what's the point? Rain can negatively impact both of these aims. 

Can You Play Golf in Heavy Rain?

Yes, you can - within reason. As we mentioned above, if your safety is in question, don't risk it. A key piece of advice: avoid the course entirely if lightning has struck within the past thirty minutes. The same logic stands if flooding is likely. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by the mistakes people make - all for their favorite hobby.

It's also important to pay close attention to any new signposts you notice around the course. In some instances, superintendents on the course may close specific holes due to flooding. Sandpits are particularly liable to this change, but it can happen to any hole, so keep an extra eye out as you go. Safety first!

Tips for Playing Golf in the Rain

If you're absolutely committed to playing out on the course no matter the weather, you need to go into it prepared. If you aren't sure exactly what that means, you're in the right place. Below, we'll list some of our top tips for playing in the rain. By the end, you’ll be ready for (almost!) anything. 

Make Sure Your Safety is a Top Priority

No game of anything is worth your health, so do your due diligence before heading out to the course. Don't just assume that the rain will pass or things will improve unless you have it on good authority that that's the case. Even if you do go out for a sunny day with your friends, keep your eye on how the climate changes, as rain could catapult into a storm at any point. Floods are the second deadliest weather event in the United States, so it's no joking matter.

Head Out with the Right Clothing

If it's safe to do so, and you're committed to practicing your swing, then you’ll need to be wearing the right clothing. Waterproof clothing will make all the difference, from your jacket to your pants. The more protected from the elements you can be, the better. You should also look for clothing with extra thermal protection unless you live in an area with high humidity during rainy periods. 

Strike More Firmly Than Usual

It isn't just the denser air that may cause you grief when it's raining; it's also the wetness of the grass. You’ll find that with each swing, the damp grass will cling to your club, pulling it backward and slowing the clubhead down. Your swing may weaken if you don’t adjust your playstyle to your settings. Hit harder, every time. 

An Umbrella and Towel are Essential

There's a reason golf umbrellas have a reputation for being so enormous, and it's because players need them. That goes for towels, too. But here’s the thing: you’ll need to keep your equipment (and yourself!) as dry as possible. It isn't just about comfort - it's about performance! The more comfortable you can remain, the better your golfing experience will be. 

Bring an Extra Everything

Last, but by no means least, bring a duplicate of almost everything. Of course, you don't need to go overboard, but you may find yourself feeling grateful for a change of clothes or an extra towel in sudden, extreme weather. Even bringing a few extra balls and tees can make all the difference, as you could end up losing some of them in unexpectedly heavy rain. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long After it Rains Can You Play Golf?

If the rain has been especially severe, your golf club may choose to close entirely. If that's the case, you’ll have to wait until they reopen again to continue your game. If your golf club hasn't closed, you should be back in action once the grounds are safe. 

Can Rain Pose a Threat to Safety?

Yes. We hope we’ve made that clear throughout this article! Rain and golf aren't usually a problem in lighter conditions, but don't let your love of the sport cloud your judgment. If there is a risk of flooding or imminent lightning, stay home. Your safety is worth it.

Need Water Resistant Golf Apparel? We've Got You Covered.

Playing in the rain isn't impossible, it's just a bit more difficult. As long as you follow the tips we have provided, you should have no trouble with getting out onto the course and performing as usual. While light rain can complicate your game, you’ll really want to look out for unexpected lightning or flooding. And of course, the most important component: the right gear is a critical part of preparation, so make sure you're shopping in the right places!

At Stitch Golf, we pride ourselves on providing players with the best possible equipment, including water-resistant clothing. If you're looking for jackets, pants, umbrellas, or towels, let us be your first call! Browse our full selection online and reach out with any questions. Go get ‘em, Tiger!