The weather in Great Britain can be temperamental to say the least, especially on the links. It can be amusing to watch the worlds best golfers struggle in The Open Championship once the wind and rain picks up, but it isn’t as funny when its yourself battling the elements! The very least you can do is be properly prepared in order to get full enjoyment out of your golf trip to the UK, unlike Team USA in the 2010 Ryder Cup! Bring these 12 items to be prepared for the weather on your golf vacation to Scotland, Ireland or England.
Contrary to popular belief it doesn’t rain here every day, although sometimes it feels like it.
Playing golf in the rain or wind can be challenging, but not impossible. It’s only water and you aren’t made of sugar.
“There’s no such thing as wrong weather – only wrong clothing”
THE GREAT BRITISH WEATHER
Some of my most rewarding victories have been played out in bad weather, its just a matter of attitude and the right clothing.
The United Kingdom has a maritime climate. We are a relatively small group of islands bobbing along, situated between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. We are positioned usually in or near the path of the polar front Jet stream. This means our weather is generally unsettled, don’t be surprised to experience four seasons in one day.
On the plus side we don’t experience extreme variations in temperature, it rarely drops below 0 C (32 F) in winter and if by some good fortune the temperature hits 30 C ( 86 F) in summer, the whole country will be obsessively talking about ‘The Heatwave”. And yes it’s true we do talk about the weather A LOT.
Generally speaking, The South of England has more hours of sunshine and warmer temperatures than Scotland and the North of England. Coastline that borders the Atlantic Ocean are generally the mildest, wettest and windiest regions of the UK, Eastern coastline areas are drier, cooler, and less windy, but as I said this is very general.
So how does this all relate to your next golf vacation? Well, I have played golf in St Andrews in October wearing shorts and a polo shirt, and played Royal St Georges in August in terrific thunderstorms, so the answer is – Be well prepared.
12 ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO PACK ON YOUR GOLF TRIP
1. A good set of waterproofs.
If you are travelling from a very warm climate, your waterproofs may be lightweight. Although these will be fine, you may consider getting a set that are windproof and have a thin insulating layer. Don’t forget to dry them out at the end of play ready for the next day (just in case). Although pricey, Galvin Green have a good reputation for making brilliant waterproofs, or you might want to treat yourself in the St Andrews Links Pro Shop once you arrive.
2. Rain Gloves.
Golf in the rain is tough enough as it is. Having to worry about keeping your glove and grips dry can be a stressful task when you should be admiring the scenery and it also slows down play. Although trying to keep your equipment dry is a good idea, with a good set of rain gloves you don’t have to worry about this as much. Get a good pair and as the gloves get wetter their grip improves, allowing for maximum enjoyment of your round.
Although the main “tourist courses” in Scotland have caddies available (I would always recommend taking one on a rainy day), most courses in Scotland and England don’t have caddies, so you’ll have to worry about keeping your gear dry yourself!
3. Rain hood for your golf bag.
Self explanatory really, stops everything from getting soaked, or as we say in Britain “piss wet through”.
Again, self explanatory. Ones with vents in are very handy if it is windy, as it will stop your umbrella blowing inside out. Having said that, in anything more than a “2 club wind” it doesn’t matter how fancy your umbrella is, it’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Have you ever seen Mary Poppins?
Essential for drying grips, club faces and balls. If you’re carrying your own clubs don’t go overboard with an extra large towel, because when it gets wet it will also get heavy!
6. Insulating base layers.
These are essential on a cool day if you still want to be able to make a full backswing! I would also advise you bring more modern technical fabric warm layers as well. Wool sweaters are horrible when wet, take ages to dry and restrict your golf swing.
7. Waterproof Golf shoes.
Waterproof golf shoes with soft spikes will stand you in better stead than some of the more modern trainer style, spikeless golf shoe. Even with the sandy, well draining soil on Links courses you will probably end up walking through the rough, which can leave you with feet wetter than an otters pocket. As you can only bring so much in your suitcase, leave your “summer” shoes and vanity at home, one pair of “winter” golf shoes will serve you well in all weather. Make sure to dry them in-between rounds, this is something your Halcyon Golf Travel host can do for you if you qualify for concierge service on your vacation.
When the clouds disperse it is glorious, so shades on everyone
9. Shorts (and Long socks).
Some of the more traditional golf clubs require players to wear long socks with shorts when playing on their courses, others require a specific length of white socks, but most don’t care what socks you wear. A number of golf clubs have stuck to their old traditions in terms of dress code, and it’s import that you respect them. However there is no need to worry, as your Halcyon Golf Travel representative will advise you prior to your vacation with dress codes for each club you are playing.
10. Sun Cream
Don’t forget the back of your neck and ears. It may not feel like sunscreen weather, especially on Links courses where it may feel cooler because of the sea breeze, but you can, and will burn.
11. Lip Balm
Get ahead of the game and apply lip balm before you play golf. Being out in even just a gentle breeze for 4 hours is enough to crack your lips, which more than anything is just annoying. Don’t worry if you forget to bring lip balm, it can be purchased in most shops and chemists over here.
12. Smart “inside” shoes
Dress codes are common at most golf clubs in the UK & Ireland and probably the most common rule is “no golf shoes or trainers inside the clubhouse”- especially if they’re wet. Who wants to wear wet shoes inside anyway?! Bring a smart pair of shoes (a loafer or a brogue will do) for wearing inside the clubhouse to avoid potential embarrassment. Even if the course you’re playing doesn’t require a change of shoes, most people still uphold this tradition and members will respect you for changing into something smart.
Finally a pearl of wisdom courtesy of my Mother.
“There is no such thing as wrong weather – only wrong clothing”
If you have any questions about golf in Scotland or England, or would like some further information on a golf vacation or anything you’ve read in this blog, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me; I’m always happy to help!
Written by Jack Sallis. Founder and Director of Experiences. Halcyon Golf Travel.