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Can You Play Golf in the Rain?

Playing golf in the rain doesn’t have to be a washout. Equip yourself with the right knowledge and waterproof gear to tackle the challenges of a rainy day out on the course. Keep your scores low and your spirits high.

16 February 2024 Words by Matthew 5 minute read Can You Play Golf in the Rain?

Table of Contents

  1. Prepping To Play Golf In Rainy Weather
  2. How To Play Golf In The Rain
  3. Pros And Cons Of Playing Golf In The Rain
  4. FAQs
  5. Conclusion

So, can you play golf in the rain? The short answer - yes! If you don't mind the wet, then it is completely possible to play golf while it is raining. However, you'll have to make a couple of changes to your game, and also come prepared with the right gear to keep you dry.

This article will discuss how you can prepare to play golf in wet conditions, what to pack, and also how to manage your game to keep your scores low even as the rain is falling down. We'll also discuss the pros and cons of rainy-day golf.

Prepping To Play Golf In Rainy Weather

Before you can hit the golf course in wet, winter weather, you need to be prepared. This includes wearing and packing the right golf clothes to keep you dry.

The UK typically has wet winters, so it is easy to predict the weather if you're playing golf in the winter months. But, occasionally, you might be surprised by a summer rainstorm too.

Here's how you can prepare for rain on the golf course.

Invest in waterproof gear

You can't go wrong with a good waterproof jacket if you know it's going to rain. If it is not too cold out, a lightweight jacket should do the trick. If the wind is biting, wear a warm jersey beneath a durable rain jacket.

A pair of water-repellent trousers will also be beneficial in wet weather. Or, if you are surprised by unexpected rain, it's a good idea to toss a pair of waterproof pants you can wear over your trousers to stay dry.

And don't forget the shoes! As a golfer, there's almost nothing worse than having wet feet for hours, so a solid pair of waterproof golf shoes will go a long way in making sure you have a good game.

Make sure you have the correct wet weather clothing - Playing golf in the rain

Dry golf towel

Even with all your waterproof gear, you're still going to be dealing with a wet golf ball, wet hands, and slippery clubs.

Keep a dry towel tucked away in your bag - you might want to keep it in a waterproof pouch - and use it to dry your balls or hands between swings.

Rain hood

Most golf bags come with a rain hood or cover; however, it is not a bad idea to purchase a quality rain hood and additional waterproofing for your bag.

Consistent wet or damp conditions can lead to damaged golf clubs. It can cause rust if the golf club is not dried properly - or prevented from getting wet in the first place.

A rain hood or waterproof golf bag cover may seem like an afterthought, but once you have it and pull out a dry club, you won't regret it.

Wet weather gloves

Even if you dry your hands and grips before each swing, you're still going to feel like your club is slippery. The solution? A sturdy pair of rain gloves.

These gloves are specifically designed to improve your grip in wet conditions, ensuring you have total control over your golf swing. Even if it doesn't look like it will rain, it's a good idea to have a pair of rain gloves in your golf bag, just in case.

Golf umbrella

Golf umbrellas are incredibly handy. They serve an obvious function - keeping you dry while playing golf - but you can also prop them in your bag to keep your golf clubs dry.

Golf umbrellas are even handy in sunny weather to give you a shady spot and keep you cool.

How To Play Golf In The Rain

Now you know what to pack and wear, so you're ready to go. But, not so fast, as playing golf in the rain is slightly different than hitting the fairways when the weather is nice out.

Here are some tips to help you play your best, even in wet weather.

Be prepared for changing conditions

Even if the weatherman said it would only rain a little bit in the early morning hours, you should know that the course conditions will be different from what you are used to.

First, your golf ball will not run as far as you'd expect on the wet grass, which means you need to swing harder on holes where you'd normally take it easy.

Chipping and pitching in the wet can result in extra friction on the clubhead during impact, which will influence where your shot lands.

The same goes for on the fairway or if you land in the rough - long, wet grass will snag the club, slowing its speed.

When playing from the bunker, the opposite tends to be true. The wet sand is firmer, and your shots might fly a bit further.

Make sure you have the correct wet weather clothing - Playing golf in the rain

Infrequently write down your scores

You can store it in a waterproof jacket pocket, you can keep it under your umbrella, but no matter how hard you try, your scorecard will get wet.

Instead of taking your scorecard out after each hole, wait a couple of holes and then write down your score. This will prevent your scorecard from becoming soaked.

Pack dry clothes and balls

This goes without saying, but packing dry clothes and extra golf balls will be beneficial. You can throw on a dry jersey and a rain jacket if you accidentally get caught in the rain unprepared.

You'll also want to change into dry clothes after the game, especially if you plan on grabbing a meal at the clubhouse.

The extra golf balls are more of a precaution - higher handicap players are more likely to lose a couple of golf balls due to the changing conditions in the rain.

Putt harder

Golf balls have dimples, and when it rains, these dimples fill up with water and dirt. When you go to putt, you won't be able to make clean contact, and the ball will slightly slip at impact.

You can try to keep your ball as dry as possible by lining up your put with a marker. Once you are ready to take the putt, place the ball on the wet green.

The ball also won't run as far on wet grass, nor will it curve as much, so you'll have to take a firmer shot and plan the trajectory accordingly.

Take a lower grip

You tend to sink into wet ground, especially if it's been raining for a while. To counteract this, you need to grip your club just a little bit lower than you normally would, maybe a centimetre or two.

Clean your golf ball

Playing with the dreaded mud ball won't be very good for your game. Mud balls have a different trajectory and spin. After each shot, place a marker and pick up your ball, giving it a good clean with a towel. You might want to pack a couple of dry towels for the duration of the round.

Stay calm

As mentioned, the conditions on the fairways will be different when it rains. It is easy to become frustrated when your clubhead is snagging in the wet rough, but playing golf in the rain is all about remaining calm.

Take your time, make sure you understand your shot, and then take your swing.

Pros And Cons Of Playing Golf In The Rain

Now that you know you can play golf in the rain, and you understand the nuances of a rainy day golf game, let's consider the pros and cons of such a choice.


  • The course is all yours: Not a lot of people will head to the golf course in wet weather, which means you will have the entire course mostly to yourself. This will not only allow you to move along at your own pace, but also enable you to wait a bit when the rain is very heavy with no one rushing you.

  • It's cooler to play: Inclement weather is usually associated with cooler temperatures. Rain cools down the air, so you will be less sweaty and more comfortable, as long as you can keep dry.

  • The ball will come to a rest on the green: This is not guaranteed, but wet greens tend to cause balls to stop quicker. You can putt or hit more aggressively, and the ball will most likely roll shorter distances than it normally would.

  • Improves your golf game: It is a good skill to be able to play in the rain. Being able to navigate different conditions can prepare you for playing tournaments in bad weather. It will also strengthen your mental game.

  • You can play all the time: Playing golf in the rain means there are almost no days when you can't play. If you wait for the perfect weather conditions (especially in the UK), there will be a lot of days where your clubs will stay put in your golf bag.


  • You'll get wet: This is an obvious con. Playing in the rain means you will inevitably get wet, even if you wear waterproof gear. Your shoes, socks, hands and hair are the most likely soggy victims of rainy days.

  • Rain gear is less forgiving: Wearing layers to keep warm and a waterproof outer jacket can restrict your movement, making it harder to move your body through your swing.

  • The course conditions are different: Rain causes the different parts of the course to behave in strange ways:

    • Fairway: The ball won't roll very far when landing.

    • Rough: The wet rough "grabs" at the club head and ball.

    • Bunker: Wet sand is more compacted, so you'll struggle to get your club beneath the ball.

    • Greens: The ball will most likely stop where it lands, or only roll a short distance.


Is there ever a time when you shouldn't play golf in the rain?

The only time when you should really reconsider heading out to the tee box in the rain is if there is a thunderstorm outside. Your metallic golf club is a conductor, and you'll most likely be the highest point on the fairway, making you a prime target for lightning.

Do golf courses close in rainy weather?

It depends on the course you are playing at. Most golf clubs will remain open in rainy weather, unless a lighting storm or hurricane-level winds are approaching.


Can you play golf in the rain? Yes! Should you? Well, that is up to you. You can prepare for a rainy golf game by wearing and packing the right gear to keep you dry, and knowing that your style of play will have to be adapted slightly.

Still, playing golf in the rain can be a wonderful experience, as the course will be emptier and you'll be much cooler.