Why Rain is a Golfer’s Best Friend

Golf weather. Second fairway and third green, September, 2011. The pond in the foreground is a stream you can usually step across.

There have been showers in the forecast every day this week, and as a consequence my home course has been empty. Hardly any rain has actually fallen, except at night, but an image of raindrops in an icon on a weather website is apparently all it takes to keep most members cowering at home. On a cloudless 100-degree day in August, my friends and I often have to wait on every shot, but if the evening news mentions even a ten percent chance of occasional sprinkles we’ll usually have the place to ourselves. Earlier this week, Tony, Addison, and I played 27 holes in three and a half hours, on foot, and during that whole time we encountered just one other group: a dad and his ten-year-old son, who waved us through. The temperature was perfect—it hovered near the point where you sort of begin to think about maybe putting on a sweater—but we never got truly wet, and although I wore my rain hat for a little while I never had to wipe off my glasses. And no need for sunscreen.

Tony, light rain, empty course, eighteenth fairway, June, 2012.

Later this summer, my wife and I will spend some time on Martha’s Vineyard. There’s a golf course there that I like a lot, called Farm Neck, but it’s so popular that tee times can be hard to come by, especially on short notice. What I usually do is wait for the sky to cloud over and then show up unannounced, confident that the forecast will have created openings in the tee sheet. And if it actually rains, who cares? If you have the right equipment, there are only two kinds of weather you can’t play golf in: lightning and dark. And dark isn’t necessarily an insurmountable problem, as you can tell from the photo below:

Closing hole, Sunday Morning Group, annual end-of-season golf trip to Atlantic City, October, 2007.

4 thoughts on “Why Rain is a Golfer’s Best Friend

  1. I couldn’t agree with our point more. Some of the most fun me and a golf buddy of mine have had is on rainy days when we seemingly have the course to ourselves, especially if its a course that drains well. Non-golfers, my wife included, look at me like I’m daft when we play in the rain and I simply say “hey, if there is no lightning then play on”.

  2. You should check out the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm called “the weatherman” …fits perfectly

  3. Very very good article!
    Many years ago I worked in a Datsun dealership, when one of the directors discovered I was a golf pro he took me off to play every Friday afternoon,sometimes we would start late and have no one in front,and aim at the clubhouse lights coming down 18,so as well as rain being your friend so can the dark.

  4. Didn’t you find that in England they ignore a bit of rain? We lived there for 6 months back in the 50s, in Southport (on Irish Sea) and I swear it rained a bit every day. I know my husband played golf thru showers, and I remember going to the beach with the kids and there were many people there despite grey skies and even a light shower.
    If they didn’t they’d never get to go anywhere seemed to me. My kids got so they didn’t come in from outdoors when it began to rain (they were 4 and 5 then) unless it began to pour.

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