Chris Simmons, who caddies for DP World Tour player Matt Jordan, shares his advice on playing in all weathers
As part of the DP World Tour, Matt and I are very lucky to (generally) chase the sun around the world. But, when the wind and rain catch up with us, how professional golfers deal with it separates them so much from club golfers.
The wind is the primary thing we’ll face on tour. While every player and caddy have a different process for assessing the wind’s direction and strength, applying a very specific number of yards or metres to this assessment is common. The process starts on the range, where we’ll discuss what’s happening, give it a number, then measure what happens with our eyes and the help of TrackMan. Calibrating is a great start, but being able to adjust on the fly on the course is equally important.
For club golfers, this is actually easier as they play the same course or courses over and over. Wind direction becomes easier when you know the prevailing wind, and your data should be far better as you hit more shots in the same conditions over the course of a season or longer.
Something club golfers won’t see as much as we do is how changes in temperature affect yardages. Travelling from the Middle East to Europe requires some calibration, while it’s important to look at the change in temperature during a round – particularly in Europe at this time of year when you’re teeing off early. Again, having specific numbers in place when discussing this is key to being able to give your player concise information. It’s also important o know how wind and temperature interact – a 15mph wind in October in Scotland is very different to 15mph in the Middle East!
Rain is one thing the club golfer, especially in the UK, will see more often than we do. Preparation is key – packing all the rain gear and making sure you have plenty of dry towels are pretty obvious. From there, it’s about making sure your player is as dry as possible, normally resulting in you getting absolutely soaked while doing a bad impression of an octopus for five hours.
Without the aid of a caddy, you’re always at a disadvantage, but a good pair of rain gloves, quality waterproofs and a big umbrella are all a good start. Remember, waterproofs take some speed off your swing, while the wet ground will be softer and slower, reducing total distance on tee shots and increasing how aggressive you can be into the greens.
When it comes to playing in any weather conditions, the key is to keep your eyes open and react to the changing situation in the sky and on the ground.
Having a bit of grit helps too. Even the pros prefer the sunshine over the rain, but they all get on with the job. You should try and do the same in the knowledge it puts you so far ahead of so many others out there. Or, if it’s particularly wet, amateur golfers – unlike caddies – do always have the option of retreating to the clubhouse.