How to play in the rain and have success
No one likes playing in the rain. You get soaked, the discs get slick, and footing becomes treacherous as fairways get muddy. The more it rains, the more miserable the conditions become. Almost everyone tends to play worse in the rain, and for good reason…who likes to practice playing in the rain?
So the forecast for this weekend’s tournament is for steady rain, but there’s no way you are going to miss out. Have no fear. With a little bit of preparation, and a positive attitude, there’s no reason for a little wet stuff to put a damper on your game or your day. What follows are some tips and ideas to keep you sane and competitive no matter how drenching the weather may become.
Downgrade your discs
What this means is if you are throwing Champion/EliteZ type plastic (the candy stuff), you should try Proline/EliteX or DX versions of your discs, if available, or perhaps the STAR and ESP lines from Innova and Discraft. All three lines of plastic offer a bit more grippiness than do the smoother “candy” plastics in the rain. This solution obviously can be a bit of an expensive one, and can be a heavy one too if you (or the weather) can’t decide whether to go with the grippy stuff or the regular stuff in your golf bag and you end up carrying both for the round.
Carry extra towels
Extra towels can be very effective, as long as you keep them in ziplock bags. This is perhaps the best rain remedy if you have the room in your golf bag to carry them. The ziplock bags keep the towels dry even if the rest of your bag is soaking wet. And every time the towel you’re using gets soaked, you can whip a fresh dry one out of the bag. If you carry enough towels that you can use a new one every 3-4 holes, it should be enough that you’re never wiping your discs with a sopping wet towel (which does nothing to improve your grip).
You can usually go into a Wal-mart or an auto parts store and buy a bag of shop rags for a few bucks. They’re small enough to fit into a sandwich-size bag, and you can stuff a whole bunch of them in your bag if you have the room. And if you don’t care to salvage them after use, you can toss them away in a trash can and not have to carry them after they’re wet.
Get into the habit, during the round, of wrapping your throwing hand in a towel between throws. As long as the towel you use for this isn’t soaked through, it will keep your hand drier and hold off the “pruny” finger effect that can mess with your grip. It also keeps the hand warm so it doesn’t swell with the excess moisture. This trick can be effective even on days when it’s not raining. It’s a great way of keeping sweat off your hands on the really hot summer days, too.
Another towel trick if you are carrying an umbrella during the round: hang a towel from the supports under the umbrella. It won’t get as wet as fast under there since the only moisture is coming from your discs and your hands, so it should remain effective longer during the round. Just be careful not to pull too hard on the towel or to leave it in there once it becomes heavy with water because you could bend your umbrella and ruin it.
There is a product made specifically for disc golfers called “Birdie Bags”. It is a cloth pouch (kinda like a bean bag) that is filled with sawdust. The advantage of it over rosin is that it won’t clump on your disc like normal rosin would. You can find Birdie Bags on a lot of online DG retailer sites if you’re interested. Just do a Google search for the term to find it. Or make your own…all it would take is an old sock and some sawdust.
Dial back the power/expectations
Because of the effects bad weather can have on all aspects of the game, lowering your expectations and dialing back on your shots will go a long way toward shooting a good round. Don’t go for the max distance and a full power drive on every tee. Slow down your motion and your run-up; just concentrate on keeping the disc in the middle of the fairway. If it ends up a few feet short of your normal distance, that’s ok. Going full power and having the disc slip out will result in far worse lies than just playing safe.
Also consider “discing” up on certain shots. For example, if you’re at a distance where you’d normally throw a mid-range full-power, try a driver and take a little off your shot, again concentrating on accuracy over “reaching” your target. The one or two strokes that laying up and playing safe might cost you are nothing compared to the many strokes that could pile up if you lose control of your shots and your game.
Don’t let a little water slow you down
Playing in the rain is one of the toughest things to do in a tournament, mainly because most people don’t play casually or practice when it rains. As with anything, by practicing it, you’ll get better with it. That’s the best remedy ever invented to make playing in the rain easier. So next time you plan to head to the course and it starts sprinkling…go anyway. Rainy practice is still good practice. And when that rainy tournament comes around, it won’t even faze you.