Things You Need to Know

We know that weather plays a big part in the world of golf. Not only in your decision to play or not, but also the way you play the game. Staring down a 190-yard par three with 40km wind gusts, and rain in your face, what will you do? Driver? It might be the play.

There’s a battle going on between golf course operators and the weatherperson. It’s clear that for a weatherperson, it’s better to err on the side of caution — i.e., be wrong. The old cliché that they have the only job in the world where they can make mistakes every day and not get fired, well maybe it’s true. We’re not blaming them for reporting the weather; it’s more about how they present it. Not an easy job, but here’s what we know.

The golf region around Ottawa is huge. What’s happening in Arnprior and Renfrew can be a lot different from what’s happening in Rockland, Gatineau or Prescott. Heck, it can be raining downtown but sunny in Barrhaven and Kanata. Weather apps can be so specific it’s crazy good, and you can see exactly what is coming, where, and for how long.

What does a 60% chance of rain mean? It means there’s a 60% chance of some rain somewhere. And a 40% chance of rain means a 60% chance of no rain.

A 60% chance of rain means a certain part of the region (mainly the Ottawa core) will likely get some rain over a 24-hour period, meaning it’s unlikely the entire day will be a wash-out.

Furthermore, how much rain is expected? What’s better, a 60% chance of 10-15mm or a 100% chance of 1mm? If it’s the latter, go play golf, because 1-3mm of rain over an entire day is insignificant.

Become your own forecaster: check various locations, total amount of rain and look at the radar to track weather patterns.

Let’s look at the bigger picture.

There are an estimated 200,000 golfers in the Ottawa area and over 100 golf courses within a one-hour radius of the core, so pick your days to play and stick to them, regardless of what the weatherperson says. You will end up playing more golf, better golf — and you’ll come to appreciate all that golf has to offer, including the different weather conditions.

So, what if it does start to rain? Most golfers already own an umbrella, and likely a rain jacket, and the keeners tend to have rain gloves, rain pants, a cover for their bag and other paraphernalia. Pro shops carry plenty of gear to get you comfortable in the rain, wind and in the cold.

Tips for success:

Mind over matter: pretend it’s not raining. If you don’t let the conditions bother you, they won’t. Put the ball a little back in your stance on wet turf to reduce hitting it fat. Take an extra half to full club during heavy rain, as moisture does indeed decrease distance. Use the rain to see the exact wind direction: this is GOLD!

Yes, golfers overwhelmingly prefer sun and warmth over rain and cold, but the game must be played in all conditions. My experience has taught me to not let the conditions dictate how much I enjoy the game. I simply adapt and play.

In recent years, we’ve seen abominable forecasting (often getting it wrong or being overly dramatic), so there’s a good chance your day will be nice when they’re calling it naughty.

Book your rounds without looking at the weather, keep them booked and go play! The worst thing that can happen is you’ll have to go inside for a bite with your buddies, then head home.

I’m always open for discussion on this topic, so drop me line.

Andy Rajhathy is the Vice-President of ClubEG and also an active member of PGA of Canada

Apprentice Professional andy@clubeg.ca | 613-859-8810

ClubEG • Slammer Tour • Ottawa Sun Scramble

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