• Swinging in the rain

    Rory McIlroy playing in the rain
    Always be prepared

    Playing golf in the rain is considered a no-no by many but I’ve got to admit to loving it.

    Being Cape Town-based now, there are fewer bigger social faux pas than complaining about the rain. You don’t do it even if it has been bucketing down for a few days in a row. And it’s still avoided if it has only cost you your third round in as many weeks.

    Saturday’s forecast was grim but I constantly kept in touch with my partner and his standard response was ‘we’ll get there and decide’ – a good attitude, which I probably tested with my seventh WhatsApp in less than a week before I got onboard with the idea of playing through some really, really miserable weather.

    The day arrived and no surprise that the car park, usually full to the brim, was sparse.

    The sight of abovementioned playing partner dressed in his full rain gear with a beanie under his cap and waterproof glove meant only one thing … we’d be playing.

    Having forked out the green fees, I knew I’d be playing as many holes as possible.

    His two friends, who I’ve never met, were up for it and after some stalling (there was no great rush with many of those in the clubhouse staying warm indoors), we teed off.

    No one found the first fairway. Nor the green in regulation. I almost made par to win the hole.

    It was raining quite nicely now and of course, being in Cape Town, an umbrella is far more of a nuisance because it can’t handle the 3-club wind.

    A bogey won the 2nd and 3rd holes – all played in the rain – before someone finally made a par. The rain was letting up and the 5th was attacked with great vigour with three pars. The tide was turning.

    By the 7th or so, the rain was just about gone and we hustled off our rain gear and could finally swing freely for the first time. A tap-in birdie at the 8th was a particular highlight for me, even though it wasn’t about the scoring or the possible competition prize. There was fun to be had because after all, that’s why you tee it up.

    The conversation, despite the wind and rain, was good and spirits were high. It wasn’t the sort of golf you’d brag or write home about with the goal more about finishing the round ahead of the next passing storm. The 11th was especially challenging – driver, 3-wood and wedge for a chance at par – I unleashed my fist pump and moved on briskly.

    In the end, we got wet, frustrated and played some holes pretty poorly. We played others up to our normal standard, we finished our round, paid our bets and enjoyed a few warming drinks at the 19th.

    I don’t play much golf in the rain but it’s a bit of a rite of passage for anyone who loves the game and considers themselves to be a golfer.

    I may even stop checking the weather forecast from now on, I mean, what difference does rain or wind make? Oh, and we came third in the competition, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.

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