Friday, May 6, 2016

Round Reflections: Getting There! And Six Tips For Playing in the Rain

I only three putted once today, and  it showed in my score! Six stroke improvement, even in the rainy conditions today (my hands were getting pruny!). I hit two greens officially, but I was barely off the green two other times out of the nine holes, so I'm feeling pretty good about how that's coming along, too. And I had some amazing wedge play, especially one lob shot on a tough downhill slope on the eighth with a 60-degree wedge. It had a lovely backward spin, bounced lightly three times, and stopped 5 feet from the hole. Perfecto. 
I switched back from my old(er)-school Ping blade putter to my Odyssey Two-Ball putter and I'm very happy with how that felt today. I thought I had better feel with the Ping in terms of knowing whether I hit it square, but the weight of the Two-Ball helps me feel like I can accelerate through the stroke better, which helped on longer putts today.
There was a 90% chance of rain today, and fortunately the nastier stuff on the radar didn't come our way. But it did rain a constant flow of heavy drops which was a challenge.
If you prepare, playing in the rain can actually be fun. Here are some of my tips for playing in the rain:
1. If you haven't yet, invest in the highest quality golf rain gear you can afford. A suit (pants and jacket) is preferred in my opinion but at minimum a jacket is a must.  I wore my Nike Storm-FIT suit and stayed completely dry. Golf rain jackets are designed to accommodate your swing rather than constrict it, and the fabrics do the job. Try several on at a golf retailer to see what you like and consider it a 5-10 year investment!
2. Towels, towels, towels. I like to use the super-absorbent kind that are sold for detailing cars. Assume that you might need a fresh towel every 3-5 holes depending on the rain. Keep the fresh towels in a gallon zip-lock bag in your bag so they don't get wet before you need them.
3. Keep your grips dry! This is what the towels are good for, obviously. It might feel tedious, but it's SO important. Have a towel when you select the club, keep it handy through your pre-shot routine, and wipe it down once more after. Wet grips slip in your hands during your swing which can open or shut the club face at impact. (I heard my dad's voice over and over today telling me to "keep your grips dry." He was always loading my bag with more towels before high school tournaments!)
4. Fresh gloves at the ready. Again, to prevent the club from slipping. Keep these in a zip lock or protective case (some brands are sold with plastic sleeves to store them in) as well. An errant shot on the fifth hole due to a wet glove forced me to scramble from the trees 50 yards from the green today (resulting in a bogey) but as soon as I put on the new glove I was good to go.
5.  Fresh socks, again in a zip lock bag, to change at the turn. Dry feet are happy feet, and happy feet play good golf.  I didn't actually need to do this today as it was only nine holes, but any time I plan to walk 18 in the rain I do. 
6.  Have fun! In my case, a day golfing in the rain beats a morning inside changing diapers. Of course, don't play in lightning or severe rain (even if the Good Lord would never disrupt the best game of your life). But part of the joy of golf is connecting to nature in any of her conditions, something which I only am really realizing now that I'm playing for fun again.
Next week, I hope to be back at it but I'm going to have to find a sitter since my neighbor will be out of town. Fingers crossed that I'll be able to find someone!

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