Lessons on play­ing like a pro-golfer in the rain

Rules for­bid dis­con­tin­u­a­tion dur­ing heavy rains and right gear makes all the dif­fer­ence

Business Daily (Kenya) - - THE WEEKENDER - CHARLES GACHERU

The short rains, gen­er­ally ex­pected from mid-oc­to­ber to mid-de­cem­ber, are here with a vengeance, and with their com­ing , out­door sports, golf in­cluded, be­come that much more dif­fi­cult to play.

Golf in par­tic­u­lar is treach­er­ous in the rain, the grips get wet, the shoes get soaked, greens and fair­ways get flooded on oc­ca­sion and the more hu­mid, heav­ier air and winds make it more dif­fi­cult to play and judge dis­tance; good scores quickly be­come ter­ri­ble scores. What can golfers do to play bet­ter in the rain?

Let me start with the Rules; many golfers walk off the golf course at the slight­est hint of a driz­zle, this is ac­tu­ally against Rule 6-8: Dis­con­tin­u­ance of Play; Re­sump­tion of Play. This Rule states, in part, that “The player must not dis­con­tinue play un­less: (i) the com­mit­tee has sus­pended play, (ii) he be­lieves there is dan­ger from light­ning, (iii) he is seek­ing a de­ci­sion from the Com­mit­tee on a doubt­ful or dis­puted point, or (iv) there is some other good rea­son such as sud­den ill­ness”.

Rule 6-8 goes on to say, “Bad weather is not of it­self a good rea­son for dis­con­tin­u­ing play.” Play­ers in breach of Rule 6-8 face dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion. In­deed un­der the guide­lines for com­pe­ti­tion com­mit­tees, and un­der Sec­tion 6, the Rules of Golf go on to say; “a com­pe­ti­tion need not be sus­pended sim­ply on ac­count of rain, un­less the rain is so heavy that it would be un­fair to re­quire play­ers to con­tinue”.

Ordinarily, con­di­tions that may lead to a course be­ing deemed “un­playable” in­clude – flooded greens or ex­ces­sively strong winds, play can be jus­ti­fi­ably be sus­pended. Where the course is still deemed “playable” but some greens and bunkers are flooded, then Rule 25: Ab­nor­mal Ground Con­di­tions, Em­bed­ded Ball and Wrong Putting Green, pro­vides pro­ce­dures of how to deal with such con­di­tions.

So in sim­ple English, heavy rain, a few flooded greens and/or bunkers by them­selve do not con­sti­tute good enough rea­sons to dis­con­tinue play, golfers must there­fore be pre­pared to play in mild to even heavy rain. Here are some tips.

Asked what was the most dif­fi­cult part of play­ing in the rain, Pro-golfer Hen­rik Sten­son re­sponded, “Uh, stay­ing dry?” To stay dry, you will need wa­ter­proof gear, read­ily avail­able in all good pro shops.

And in re­sponse to Karen’s Ray­mond Nyamweya, a heavy woolen sweater does not fit the de­scrip­tion of “weath­er­proof gear”! Gen­er­ally wa­ter­proofs are easy to put on and re­move and they are light enough so as not to im­pede the golf swing.

When buy­ing golf shoes, es­pe­cially those new fancy lines, ask your­self, “will th­ese keep my feet dry in wet con­di­tions?” And please check your golf shoe spikes, trac­tion is key in wet con­di­tions.

Check your club grips, are they worn? If yes, re­place them and dur­ing play in wet con­di­tions, wipe them down reg­u­larly. It also pays to wa­ter­proof you golf bag, to en­sure your golf clubs re­main dry through­out the round. Good fit­ting gloves, prefer­ably not worn to the bone are also es­sen­tial for play­ing in the rain, but a few new pairs, you will need them. Carry a good um­brella as well.

Golf cour­ses are more chal­leng­ing in wet weather, and it is those play­ers who ac­cept that they have to swing eas­ier that emerge vic­to­ri­ous. Fa­mous golf coach Butch Har­mon has this piece of ad­vice, “into the breeze, fight the urge to swing harder, an eas­ier swing will keep the ball down.”

The same ap­plies in rainy con­di­tions, swing eas­ier, club up and swing at only 75 per cent ca­pac­ity, you will score bet­ter.

When the ducks are walk­ing, you know it is too windy to be play­ing golf­dave Stock­ton?


FAIR­WAY Golfers at the Rift Val­ley Lodge and Golf Re­sort golf course.

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