Have you ever noticed that it seems to rain more on the days you have a tee time booked to play the course. I know that’s not really true, but it does sometimes feel like it, especially in the UK where we get lots of rain.
I usually find myself weather watching a few days before my round hoping the rain doesn’t shut the golf course. Wet golf is still better than no golf
If you have ever wondered if golf courses close for rain, I’ll do my best to spell out the reasons why they may close and while they may not.
Do Golf Courses Stay Open In Rain
Golf courses usually stay open in the rain unless the rain becomes too heavy and creates a lot of puddles, which in golf is called ‘standing water’. This is because standing water interferes with the natural bounce and roll of the golf ball so it affects the outcome of the golf shot.
It can also have an affect on the secure footing of the golfer, so it’s a safety issue too.
The rules of golf factor in poor weather conditions and even include some situations where you get free relief due to standing water, which means you don’t have to play your ball from any puddle you might find yourself in.
This is the 8th hole at my home course at Manor House Golf Club in December 2020 after a few days of heavy rain
When Does A Golf Course Decide When To Close For Rain
Making the decision to close a golf course usually happens in stages.
A light shower generally would never shut the golf course. The golfers may get wet and have to put their waterproofs on but the drainage of the golf course will usually cope easily.
When the rain falls over a prolonged period of time, or has a really heavy downpour, which results in standing water in some places on the course, then the club make take a few different actions, such as stopping people using Golf Carts on the fairways and making golfers stick to the cart paths. This help to protect the turf on the fairways
Battery Powered Golf Trolleys are sometimes banned from the course in poor weather due to the wheels potentially causing wheel spins that would damage the turf.
There was a stage, about 10 years ago, when golf courses made hedgehog wheels mandatory in poor weather. These were casings with that went over the top of the wheels of your golf trolley, or in some cases were replacement wheels like the Motocaddy ones pictured below.
I always felt that was a bit of a money grab, (they cost around $50) because some of the Green Keepers I spoke to told me they didn’t make that much difference in the grand scheme of things.
Also they’re not as enforced today as much as they used to be, perhaps there was proof that it didn’t make a difference. There are a lot of other golfers at Golfshake who share the same thoughts as me.
When it gets too wet even manual push and pull golf trolleys will be stopped and everyone will be asked to carry their golf bags.
And finally when the water on the course make things unsafe and will damage the course, the club officials will make the decision to close the course completely.
This is not a decision that they make lightly because invariably they will lose revenue and their members and customers will lose access to the course, which they may have already paid for.
When the club closes the course they will usually post some news on their website and social media to let everyone know
Can I Play Golf In A Thunder Storm
It’s definitely not a good idea to play golf in a thunder storm. Lightening is very dangerous, and with most golf clubs being made of metal, which can conduct the lightening, which could ultimately hit you and is not something to take lightly.
Most golf courses will have storm warnings and procedures in place to keep golfers safer from thunder storms.
When thunder storms hit a golf course the club will usually sound a klaxon alarm of some sort to halt play immediately.
If you’re in a proper competition, you need to mark your ball where it is and leave the course. If it’s just a casual round there’s no need to mark your ball. Just head back to the club house until you’re told it’s safe to resume your round.
How Long Does It Take For A Golf Course To Dry
The length of time it takes for a golf course to dry out will depend entirely on the amount of rain that they have received and the type of soil that the course is built on.
How effective the drainage systems are will be a big factor.
One of the reasons some courses charge more money to play them is because they have invested in course architecture and design that deals well with bad weather. Drainage being a big focus
The amount of staff and equipment the course has access to, in the event they need to carry out any maintenance or repairs after a storm, will also be factor of how quickly a course can re-open.
The 8th Hole at my course has a river that runs along side it. It’s usually helpful because the rain funnels from the course into it.
But as you can see, when the river burst it’s banks the course comes off second best.
How Do You Keep Dry When You Play Golf In The Rain
Wet weather gear is the simple answer, and there are lots to choose from. I recommend spending as much as you can afford because you definitely get what you pay for. Some items, that may seem like a good deal and save you a few quid, won’t actually keep you dry.
Waterproof trousers and jackets, Golf umbrella’s, get the double-canopy type, which are allegedly the ones that don’t blow inside out the moment you put them up, but they still do.
A decent pair of water-proof golf shoes will help enormously. Most good quality shoes will come with a 12 month guarantee. I’ve always had the best experience in a pair of Foot Joys and the seasons I have tried other brands I have nearly always had to return them to the store for one reason or another.
I’ve always been happy with my Water proof kit and the best buy I have ever made in golf have to be my Sunderland Golf Trousers, which are now probably 12 years old. I paid around £140 for them, which I guess, over time, has worked out at around £12 a year.
There are times it feels like as soon as you think the rain has stopped, you take off the waterproofs and it starts raining again. It can be frustrating at times, and does often lead to dropping shots on the course.
How Does Rain Affect A Golf Ball
When it’s raining the air is thicker, due to increased humidity, which causes more resistance and reduces how far the ball flies through the air. Water on the ball also reduces the amount of spin that you can impart. Both of which lead to a reduction in how far the balls flies.
The ball will absorb some of the moisture which reduces the performance and the life of the ball. If they ball is submersed in water it will have a huge affect on the performance, which is probably something to think about the next time you are tempted to buy lake balls.
Can You Play Good Golf In The Rain
It’s still possible to play good golf in the rain but it’s definitely a juggling act to keep your equipment and hands dry, especially if you’re not fortunate enough to have a Caddy to help you.
Here’s some inspiration from the Tour Pro’s showing us how it’s done
In my twenty plus years of playing golf in the UK, I have gotten used to winter golf being from around late November through to early April, and we also get lot’s of rain throughout the year.
I have played in a T-shirt in the middle of Winter and I have needed to use full waterproofs in the middle of summer.
If you have the right golf kit and are prepared for whatever the weather throws at you, you can still play golf in the wet, assuming the course is open.
I always think playing golf in the rain is still better than not playing at all