How To Play Golf In Extreme Conditions: 5 Types Of Weather That Affect Your Game

Golfers like to use the term “chamber of commerce” day to describe a day with the perfect weather to be on the golf course.

Unfortunately, we aren’t always that lucky. If you love the game, eventually you will have to learn how to play golf in extreme conditions.

Weather conditions can affect your equipment and your body.

It is much harder to get your body loose when it is cold outside. Golf balls travel farther in warm weather. Wind, rain, and thunder all affect your game.

To master playing golf in extreme conditions you must understand how the weather will impact your game.

Learn to handle the conditions and you will have a competitive advantage over other players. You might even start to hope for poor weather!

Below we discuss the 5 types of weather you may experience on the golf course and provide tips on how to play golf in extreme conditions.

Let’s get into the swing of it!

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Golf In Extreme Conditions: What Types Of Weather Will you Experience On The Golf Course?

An 18-hole round of golf can take up to 5 hours. You can experience three different seasons of weather in that amount of time.

To play golf in extreme conditions you need to be prepared. Always check the weather before you leave the house and bring the correct equipment to the course.

What types of weather should you expect? If you are playing in Alaska you might see some sleet and snow, but we are going to focus on the more common elements.

You need to know how to play in the following conditions:

  • Extreme Heat
  • Cold
  • Wind
  • Thunderstorms
four golfers walking along the course.

Below we explore each topic and provide you with tips for playing golf in extreme conditions. Let’s get started!

Golf In Extreme Sun: 4 Tips To Survive The Heat

Summer is the perfect time to play golf, but extreme heat can be challenging for golfers.

#1: Don’t Forget The Sunscreen

The most dangerous hazard on the golf course isn’t a lake or a river. It is the harmful UV rays from the sun.

A bad sunburn can have a short-term and long-term impact on you. Too much sun may not seem like a big deal, but it is the leading cause of certain types of skin cancer.

Stay safe. Put sunscreen on before you leave the house and re-apply at the turn.

man playing golf in the sunshine

#2: Stay Hydrated

You are already trying to play golf in extreme conditions, there is no reason to make it even harder.

Drink plenty of water or sports drinks during your round. It is hard to break 80 for the first time if you are out of energy with 4 holes to play.

Don’t rely on golf course-provided water coolers or the “cart girl”. Bring your own hydration to the course.

#3: Keep Your Hands Dry

It is hard to hit great golf shots if your hands are slipping off the club. Similar to playing in the rain, it is important to keep your hands dry.

A golf glove will help – but always carry at least two in your golf bag. In extreme heat, they can become saturated.

male golfer at the end of his swing

If you know you will be playing in the heat, bring an extra towel or two. Keep the sweat off your hands and arms.

#4: Your Golf Ball Will Be Hot

Here is a positive when you play golf in extreme conditions. Your golf ball will travel farther in the heat.

Longer drives are great, but hitting your approach shots over the green can impact your scorecard.

Be sure to factor in the heat during your club selection process.

Golf In The Cold: 4 Ways To Battle The Chill

Playing in cold weather presents a unique set of challenges.

#1: Wear Layers

Staying warm in the cold is all about options. Dress in layers so that you can be comfortable throughout your round.

green golf ball in the snow

Always have on just enough clothes to stay warm without restricting your golf swing.

You never want to be stuck on the back 9 and wish you hadn’t left your jacket in the car.

#2: Extra Warm-Up Time

It will be harder to get your body loose on the driving range. Give yourself extra time to warm up before your tee time.

Do plenty of stretching and ease into hitting full shots. You are more likely to pull a muscle or tweak your back in the cold.

Don’t be the golfer limping to their car. Get your body ready to play when playing golf in extreme conditions.

#3: Understand The Course Conditions

The golf course can play much differently in the cold, especially if the ground is frozen. Have you ever tried to hit an iron shot to a frozen green?

Your ball could bounce as if it landed on a ping pong table. If you suspect the turf is frozen you will need to hit less club and play the bounce.

three golfers smiling at the camera.

Two things to remember on a cold day. Is it hard to get your tee in the ground? Is the green in the shade or in the sun?

#4: Consider Walking

It is much easier to stay warm on a cold day if you are walking the course. Riding in a golf cart will keep your body stiff and you will have to deal with the cool breeze.

Walking will help your body acclimate to playing golf in extreme conditions and increase your heart rate.

If possible, hire a caddy, carry your bag, or use a pushcart.

Golf In Extreme Conditions: 3 Tips To Manage A Windy Day

Wind can be tough. A stiff breeze is more challenging than heat, cold, or rain.

golf course lines with trees.

#1: Test It

When playing on a windy day, you should never hit a shot until you have tested the wind. The simplest technique is to toss some grass into the air.

You are trying to learn 2 things. The direction of the wind and how strong it is blowing.

It is a good idea to try and estimate how much the wind will impact the distance your ball will travel. Is it a 1-club wind or a 2-club wind?

Club selection is the biggest challenge when playing in the wind.

#2: Use It Or Fight It

Before every shot in the wind, decide if you are going to use the wind or fight it.

For example, if the wind is blowing from right to left, you can aim more right and let the wind bring it back (use it).

How To Play Golf In Extreme Conditions: 5 Types Of Weather That Affect Your Game 1

The other option is to hit a fade into the wind to hold it online. Low handicaps and scratch golfers are more likely to fight the wind.

There are pros and cons to both approaches. The key is to decide before you start your backswing.

#3: Flight The Ball Down

The easiest way to play golf in the wind is to try and avoid it. Flight the ball down and keep it out of the gusts.

This will take some practice, but hit extra club, take a shorter swing, and play punch shots.

There is always less wind closer to the ground. Truly great wind players know how to flight their shots under the breeze.

Golf In Extreme Wet: 3 Ways To Play A Rainy Day

No one enjoys playing in the rain, but if you know how to handle it you can still shoot a low score.

golf course in heavy rain

#1: Keep Hands & Grips Dry

You must be diligent to play well in the rain. Your number one priority should be to keep your hands and grips dry.

As long as you can grip the club, you can play well. If your hands start to slip, it is impossible to shoot a good score.

To be successful when you golf in extreme conditions you must be mentally strong. You must maintain your focus, which isn’t easy if your hands are slipping all over the place.

#2: Bring Plenty Of Towels

If you know you are going to be faced with moisture, bring plenty of towels. Use one at a time and keep your spare ones dry.

Most golf bags are waterproof, so you can store them in their pockets.

Golfers playing Golf In The Rain.

Pro Tip: use an umbrella and keep a towel hanging from the inside of it. You will have quick access to dry your hands before each shot.

#3: Try Rain Gloves

A fairly recent product to hit the golf world is gloves designed for the rain. If you play a lot of golf in the rain, they are a required piece of equipment.

They are designed to get wet. In fact, the wetter they get the better the rain gloves grip.

If you have rain gloves you can toss the umbrella and towels. Your grip will be secure throughout your round.

Top Tip For Playing Golf In Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are the most extreme weather you will experience on the course. Heavy rain, lightning, hail, and the potential for tornados.

A thundery sky.

#1: Run To The 19th Hole

If there is only one piece of advice you follow in this article, let it be this one. Don’t play golf in a thunderstorm.

Is that simple enough? 🙂

You can be enjoying a beautiful day when all of a sudden dark clouds appear on the horizon. As soon as you hear thunder or see lightning it is time to take a break.

Thunder and lightning will not only hinder your game but can be dangerous to your health and the health of your precious equipment!

Enjoy a drink and wait for it to blow through. It doesn’t matter how well you are playing, it isn’t worth it.

Silhouette of a golfer at the top of his backswing.

Golf In Extreme Conditions: Deep Drive On Golf In The Rain

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Ray has played golf for over 30 years and competed at the collegiate level. He enjoys growing the game of golf through coaching PGA Jr. and High School golf teams. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +1 handicap.

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