Rain at the US Open and a request from a reader makes it the perfect time to tell a story about rain and give a few tips on how to play in it.
First off, in case some of you didn’t know, it generally takes three weather conditions that cause a PGA/Nationwide event to be suspended. Lightning, wind so severe that golf balls won’t stay still on the greens and rain that causes standing water, or puddles on the greens.
I was playing in a Nationwide event in Midland, Texas. They hadn’t had rain in something like 150 days, so the course was very, very dry. The outer bands of a hurricane roll in and it starts pouring and pouring and pouring. The greens sucked up all the water like a thirsty camel, so we basically play 18 holes in non-stop rain because of how dry the turf was and sucked up all the water. This was before Gortex was popular and the rain gear didn’t keep you that dry, but it wasn’t too bad with a caddy. Staying under the umbrella when not playing, dry towels under the umbrella, you could manage. I had shot 73 the first day in pretty good weather and needed 68 or 69 to make the cut and a 65 to get back into contention.
Despite the rain, I was 4 under going into the 9th hole. My caddy, who was not experienced, just a local kid, had forgotten to zip up the cover on my bag. He was holding the umbrella over me while I was waiting to hit my second shot to 9 and it rained into my bag for a good five minutes. To make a long story a little shorter, all my grips were wet, we had trouble drying them and I spent the rest of the day trying not to throw my clubs 40 yards down the fairway while trying to hit shots. I ended up with 75.
The moral to the story, don’t forget your rain gloves when a hurricane rolls in. From that day on, the rain gloves always stay in the bag, rain or shine.
For those of you who don’t mind playing in the rain, I was asked about some advice on how to make things easier.
First, if you plan on playing in the rain occasionally, invest a few dollars in some rain gloves. They’re great. It doesn’t matter if the grips get wet, you won’t have any problems with slippage.
Next, the instinct is to grip it tighter, but that actually is the wrong thing to do. You need to grip is looser and use your body more than your hands and you will get less slippage.
One last thing, have a couple hand towels wrapped around the framing under your umbrella.