A fine whine: Prepping your group's pessimists for the virtues of a links golf trip

"It rains here too much!"

Ah, the inevitable whine of the perspective-challenged golf traveler. While it is not particularly remarkable that any group of human beings, whatever the number, will be populated by at least a couple of glass-half-empty types, there are things you can do to ensure that the pervasively displeased do not cast a pall upon your entire touring troop.

The first step is to educate your group in advance and manage their expectations. A destination's brochures or Web sites are always going to promote rainbows and butterflies, but we all know the reality is that a little (or perhaps biblical) rain (or wind, hail, etc.) is more than likely to color your experience. Pilgrimages to links golf havens such as Scotland, Ireland, Wales or even Bandon, Ore. are likely to be impacted by weather sooner or later.

Waterproof golf apparel

The key is to educate your traveling companions in advance that links courses are sand based, meaning they can be played in all sorts of harsh weather. They are nature's ultimate natural draining system and the term "playing the ball along the ground" is more than a cliche there. So, they can be played in the rain and wind, underscoring the need to have at least one (I recommend two) full rain suits packed into your golf travel bag.

To this point, please note that there is a profound difference among "wind resistant," "water resistant" and "waterproof." Most logoed pullover garments sold in golf shops are wind resistant, some are water resistant (if noted on the tag), but few are truly waterproof.

A garment can only be labeled as "waterproof" if it truly blocks water. Be careful of too many or too big embroidered logos on the garment, as every time the needle pokes a hole for a thread, it opens up the material to water seeping its way in. (Think of the American team's apparel during the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. It leaked so badly that they had to go to the golf shop and buy new gear for the entire team.) Believe me, if you are playing on a seaside links, the ocean winds can blow the rain sideways and the slightest opening can welcome in a current of water. Nothing can start your group's Mr. Grumpy from winding up faster than feeling cold and wet.

choose your golf shoes wisely

Remember that water protection extends to your golf shoes, and I recommend at least two pairs. Today, lighter, more natural-fitting golf shoes are the norm. Many of these use lightweight materials that can make you feel like you are playing barefoot. The downside is that most of these airy shoes are not waterproof and often lack the arch support necessary to support multiple consecutive days of golf in a variety of conditions, so choose your shoes wisely.

Two other areas to keep in mind are a good hat to wear in the rain (baseball caps, by far the most popular headwear, usually have a cardboard bill that can become saturated and start to droop). I recommend a waterproof bucket hat. Also, a good pair of rain gloves can completely alter your experience. Rain gloves are not intended to keep your hands dry. In fact, they are intended to do the opposite. Once your club's grips become saturated, the equally wet rain gloves allow you to grip the clubs without slipping.

Finally, layering is important for it's quite common to experience all four seasons in one round of links golf if fate so decides. This point is important not only for stuffing a knit hat in your bag, but also remembering to bring some clothes for warmer weather. I've been on trips with golfers who never expected temperatures to soar into the 80s in Scotland, so they were uncomfortable even when the weather was otherwise perfect.

The bottom line is that the better you can educate your party in advance, the better chance you have to mute the voices of discontent and turn adversity into an experience that underscores the completely unique nature of golf in its most natural setting.

Matt Adams is a New York Times best selling author, award-winning host on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and golf industry executive. Adams' broadcasting talents have been featured on the BBC, ESPN, Golf Channel, PGA Tour Entertainment, and European Tour Productions, among others. Click here to read his golf blog, and follow him on Twitter at @MattAdamsFoL.
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A fine whine: Prepping your group's pessimists for the virtues of a links golf trip
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