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4:03 AM Wed, Sept. 19th

Gunby: Playing the course during monsoon season

Tee It Up

We discussed playing in the wind and now we are in our monsoon season, which means playing in soft, wet conditions. I will share some things that I think are important to playing your best during this time of year.

Golf shoe manufacturers came out with spikeless golf shoes quite a few years ago and they caught on quickly, because you could wear them at home, in the car and on the course – no need to change shoes. Over time, those little nubbies on the sole became worn, making those soles very slick and slippery. Since there were no spikes to replaced, these shoes had a short useful life, which the golf shoe manufacturers loved. Planned obsolescence!

I strongly suggest spiked golf shoes. Yes, they are more expensive at the beginning but when you factor in that you just replace the spikes about every six months, in the long run, they are more economical. With the added traction of spikes, you will find these shoes will allow you to walk up and down wet slopes with more grip than the spikeless shoes. In comparison with most spikeless golf shoes, these shoes provide a lot more stability and support as well.

I would suggest owning two pairs of golf shoes to alternate between rounds as your shoes will have moisture that needs to dissipate, not only on the outside during wet conditions but the inside as well (as your feet sweat all year round).

Now, let’s discuss your golf clubs. First, make sure your grips are in good shape. The grip is the only connection you have with your golf club so make sure they are not hard or slippery Make sure your grips remain dry by wiping them prior to each shot. It is easy to replace grips and probably the most effective and economical change in equipment you could invest in.

If you wear a golf glove, have a couple more in your bag for back-up in the case of rain. Rain gloves are very good in that they provide the best tackiness in the rain. If you use an umbrella in the rain, drape a towel on a rib under the umbrella. The towel will stay dry so that you can wipe your hands and grips before each shot.

In dry conditions, the grooves on your clubs serve no purpose. It is loft, not grooves, that provides spin on a ball. That is why you don’t see grooves on drivers or most fairway woods. But in wet conditions, the grooves allow the trapped materials (water and/or grass) to be moved out of the impact zone. Otherwise, the ball may skid up the clubface on the lubricating water or grass, creating a “flyer,” a ball that comes out erratically with little backspin and rolls a lot. Keep the grooves cleaned and you will lower your chances of hitting a “flyer.”

Use a golf bag that has a waterproof hood and a waterproof pocket to keep your cell phone, wallet and keys in. Maybe consider using a small golf bag umbrella over your bag to keep your clubs relatively dry during a drizzle. Carry a good golf umbrella – one that is windproof as well. Have a waterproof hat with a wide brim and invest in a good rain jacket and pants. Don’t forget to repair your ball marks, too. Playing in wet conditions is more fun than fighting the wind. Just don’t fool around with lightning – OK?

John Gunby Sr. is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Reach him by email at sportsdesk@prescottaz.com.