One of the biggest challenges of the Open Championship is always the weather. Playing in cold, rainy and windy conditions can really mess with a golfer's game -- and mind.
While there's no way to control Mother Nature, there are ways that you can adapt your golf game to playing in these less-than-ideal conditions. We talked to Dan Hill, head professional at Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle to get some pointers for when you decide to play in the type of elements you'll see this weekend at St. Andrews.
1. Dress right. The three areas of your body that you want to be warm but not too hot are your hands, head and core. To keep your hands warm, bring along some hand warmers that you can keep with your pushcart. It's just as simple to keep your head warm by wearing a beanie cap or a rain hat.
Your core needs a little more work to regulate, but the key is to dress in layers. The base layer can be an apolypropylene T-shirt (think of Under Armour's compression shirts) that stays close to your skin and help with evaporation of sweat. On top of that, Hill says, you can have your normal golf polo or anything else that will keep you warm without being too bulky. You can then have lightweight outerwear that takes some of the bite out of the wind. This can be your rain jacket, whether it's long-sleeved or short-sleeved.
2. Keep your equipment dry. If you don't have a caddie to keep your clubs under an umbrella, your next best bet is to get a pushcart with an umbrella stand. You can take the extra precaution of putting a water-proof bag over your clubs to keep them dry. It's also a good idea to bring along some extra dry towels, which you can keep in a Ziploc bag in your golf bag. Those towels can also be used to dry your hands or club grips.
3. Pick the right glove. Your normal leather glove might not be right for you in cold or rainy conditions. Look into your other options, whether it's one that does a better job of keeping your hand warm or one that has better grip in wet conditions. "The only contact and feel you have for the game is with your hands," Hill said.
4. Know the conditions. It can be hard to understand what you're up against when it's windy on the course. Hill recommends to play up a club and a half. "When the wind's in your ears, golfers have the tendency to swing harder," Hill said. "But go with the saying, 'When it's breezy, swing easy.' Just club up and avoid the tendency to rush and over-swing."
You'll also need to take into account the effect the wind will have on your ball's flight. "If there's a 10-mph wind, you have to give it the respect it deserves," Hill said. "Any spin on your ball is going to be 1.5 times worse. Any slice you have is going to be 1.5 times worse."