Fair weather golfer
I struggle to get it. I am a certified golf nut, at least I would consider myself one. But watching the British Open last week gave me pause. Those players playing in that event were truly nuts.
I turned on my television at the crack of dawn last Thursday and just watched in amazement as the pro golfers battled the elements on the golf course at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in England. These guys were in full rain gear, trying to play golf in pouring down sideways rain. More telling was the gallery which, judging from their attire, seemed more suited to be watching a ski event in the Winter Olympics. But this is the middle of July for crying out loud.
A graphic on the TV indicated the forecast was for a high of 57 degrees with wind gusts to 30 miles per hour and heavy rain. The forecast was virtually the same for Friday and the weekend was to be dryer, but with higher winds.
Talk about brutal. I had a guest in for the weekend to play in a member-guest tournament. We have been long time partners in such events, in part, perhaps, because we agreed, in no uncertain terms, that we would want no parts of that venue. When it comes to bad weather golf I am a total wimp. A flat out whiner.
I own plenty of rain gear, and at the time of each purchase I said to myself, or to whomever was in earshot, I don't know why I'm buying this because I don't play in the rain.
Fact is I do play in the rain, just not willingly. My rain gear this spring and summer has seen way more action than I would prefer. The reason is I will sign up for a tournament and the rains will come forcing me to stick it out, or become known as a quitter. It is tough enough to be known as a whiner. Don't want to be known as a whiner and a quitter.
Now, I will concede that there are very few people who actually want to play in the rain. But, and this is a big but, there are those who are much better at it than others.
They are called mudders, and I don't like them very much. That's because my game suffers considerably due to wet weather. Once my right hand gets a little damp, I lose my grip on the club. I've seen the best mudders play barehanded with no ill effect. It is a disturbing thing to see.
It is easy to tell who the mudders are. They are the ones who don't complain when the rain comes. They sometimes even have a glint in their eye because they know an advantage has been gained.
Technology has helped me over the years. Used to be I would get out the umbrella, the rain suit and towels and try to keep my right hand and grips dry. The introduction of the rain glove was a blessing to me. They are designed to provide the best grip when they are wet, and you wear them on each hand. Wet grips? Wet hands? No problem.
The rain glove isn't perfect as I lose a little feel that I would have on a dry day, but I don't lose the club during the swing. Nor do I fumble with the umbrella or the towels. Once I'm a little wet, I don't even try to stay dry. Pretty simple task in a driving rain.
It was easy to look at the tube last week and call those guys nuts, but they aren't the real nuts. These guys were committed to play for a championship and prize money. The real nuts are the ones who pay a bundle to travel to the British Isles to play in Scotland, England, or Ireland. The ones who want to play where the game was invented.
That's fine, but when the game was invented in Scotland they were beating a round ball like thing, made of feathers, along the ground with sticks. That would seem easy compared to trying to hit a modern golf ball through rain and wind. Wind which would absolutely destroy most shots hit by mid-handicap amateurs.
I was approached a couple years ago by a mudder who was putting a golf junket to Scotland together. He wanted to know if I was interested. Not being one to pass on a golf trip, I said there was a good chance I would like to go. He said there was two kinds of weather there. It is either threatening rain, or raining. Still, the history of the courses and comradarie on the trip would make it a winning combination in spite of the weather.
That trip fell through, but one day I suppose another will be available and maybe I will be that golf nut playing in miserable weather where golf was born. I do know that Scotland is also home to the single malt. Advantage gained.