• Beating the weather

    Beating the weather

    Golf in South Africa is a year-round game. We are extremely fortunate that our courses do not have to shut down in the winter due to snow. That doesn’t mean that golf in our winter isn’t without its challenges. In the Cape it’s often very wet over winter, while in Gauteng it gets bitterly cold in the mornings and evenings.

    With the right attitude and the right equipment there’s no need for the weather to get the better of you – you can still play well and enjoy your round.

    To start, put away your summer, lightweight golf shoes and make sure you have a decent waterproof pair. It’s a good idea to have them re-spiked ahead of the winter season. After all, if you can’t maintain your footing during the swing you can forget about playing well.


    Keeping your glove dry can help you hang onto the club when others are finding it impossible.

    Invest in a decent waterproof suit! Yes, this may set you back a bit but it is a very wise investment. There is nothing worse than being soaking wet by the time you reach the 4th hole. It makes for a long, cold and miserable round. A decent rain suit will not only keep you dry, but it also breathes so you won’t get all hot and sweaty on the inside. Just make sure when you try on the suit that you factor in that you may be wearing a jersey as well.

    A proper umbrella is also a must. Not only are they bigger, but they are wind resistant so you don’t have to worry about the wind blowing it inside out. Make sure you have some decent headwear, whether that’s a cap, hat or beanie. Keeping your head warm keeps your overall body temperature up.

    There are a few old tricks that you can apply to make your equipment work for you. Firstly, prepare your bag before you go out. Make sure the rain hood is securely in place before you leave. I always like to keep my gloves in a small plastic bag just to make sure they stay dry. I normally have half a dozen old gloves in the plastic bag, just in case. Trust me: when it’s raining and everything is wet, a dry glove is a godsend!

    Another trick that you will often see the professionals employ is to open their umbrellas and hang their towel in the spokes of the brolly. This keeps your towel as dry as possible and also allows you to dry your grips out of the rain. Hang your glove up there too.


    Any serious player should invest in a quality rain suit. They are expensive but well worth the price.

    Playing in lousy weather is all about playing within yourself. Your most important weapon is your attitude. You need to accept that it can be rather challenging out there. Staying patient and accepting the conditions takes a lot of the pressure off. Adjust your personal par. If you normally shoot 85 in good weather then a score of 90 in bad weather would not be a bad round at all. It’s all about managing expectations.

    The age-old adage ‘in bad weather don’t hit it harder, hit it better’ is so true. Focus on having a nice smooth tempo and a consistent rhythm through the bag. The smoother you swing, the less spin you impart on the ball and the straighter it will fly. Club up – take an extra club. That will ensure that you don’t try to ‘kill it’! Most of all, embrace the challenge!

    James Loughnane is a Class AAA member of the SA PGA and a member of the British PGA. He is a two-time Zambian Open champion on the Sunshine Tour and is currently the director of golf at King David.

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