Do Golf Courses Close When It Rains? [If So, Why?]

If you’ve grown up in a place like the UK, you’ve often checked the weather conditions before a round of golf, only to see the dreaded “100% chance of rain” on the weather app.

But if you’re like me, you don’t mind a drop of rain when playing golf. So if it’s raining, do golf courses close? Let’s find out.

Do Golf Courses Close When It Rains?

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

Do Golf Courses Close When It Rains?

Do Golf Courses Close When It Rains?

Most of the time, golf courses will remain open when there is rain, but it will depend on the type of golf course, its drainage capacity and the amount of rain that has fallen.

When there’s a lot of rain, some golf courses will have to close to protect golfers and the golf course itself, however, this is very rarely the case.

Whether or not a golf course closes because of rain is down to the following:

Amount Of Rain

If there’s only a small amount of light rain, most golf courses will be able to stay open. The long grass might get a little bit wet and the ground softer, but it won’t be enough to present an issue for courses or safety.

However, as the amount of rain increases and for how long the rain has been falling, it can present a problem for many golf courses.

Prolonged rain can flood fairways and greens, leaving water lying around on the course. If the course remains open, footfall can lead to the softer conditions turning into mud and damaging the course in the long run.

As the course gets muddier, slippery grounds can present a real safety issue for golfers, so courses may decide to close to prevent the risk.

With lots of rain also comes the chance of thunderstorms and lightning. It’s never a good idea to be out swinging a golf club above your head when there’s a risk of lightning.

Golf courses will therefore close when lightning is in the area and it will be up to the club officials to monitor the weather throughout.

Type Of Course

Many golf courses will be well-equipped to deal with rain.

A links course, for example, is much better at draining because of the ground it’s built on and can more easily handle wet weather conditions.

Links courses tend to have sandy soil which works very well for good drainage, compared to a parkland course, which has much softer ground with lush grass and won’t drain anywhere near as well.

Having said that many golf courses these days are designed with drainage in mind. A good quality drainage system will be able to cope with inclement weather when the time comes.

Course Policies

Lots of golf courses will have specific policies to help cope with certain levels of rain occurring.

This will usually go in stages, starting with cart paths only for buggies, all the way up to the course closing when it’s too wet.

While rain isn’t always enough for a golf course to close, sometimes a golf course will have to make the decision to close for the safety of its staff and customers, but also to look after the golf course and its conditions.

Why Do Golf Courses Close When It Rains?

Golf courses sometimes close in the rain to help protect the course from getting damaged, but also to keep golfers and staff safe.

When there’s a heavy downpour, the golf course can become very slippery. This can lead to golfers slipping up when taking shots or walking on slopes.

When there’s a lot of rain, it’s also possible that lightning can be in the area. It’s very dangerous to play golf in lightning, so courses may close to keep golfers safe from the potential threat.

Lots of rain is also bad for the golf course and can lead to long-term damage if people continue to play.

The softer conditions can turn to mud very quickly, which will ruin greens and fairways or other areas where there’s heavy foot traffic.

Golf courses spend a lot of time and money on keeping their course in good condition, so often aren’t willing to ruin that when there’s very wet weather.

How Does Rain Affect Golf?

Rain will affect golf in a number of ways, but mostly because it will make the course much softer and the ball won’t roll as far as it would normally.

Softer Conditions

Wet conditions mean softer conditions on areas such as the fairways, rough and greens.

The ball will stop much more quickly on soft turf and is more likely to plug and leave you with mud balls.

Mud balls

This will affect the distance you can hit it off the tee as fairways won’t roll out, which can be a good thing on tighter holes, but also leaves you with longer approach shots into the greens.

Once you get to the greens, the ball will also stop much quicker than in dry conditions. You’ll be able to land a golf ball closer to the pin and it will stop.

The greater receptiveness is great for many golfers as they’re not usually able to achieve any backspin and the softer greens help them achieve that stop.

Slower Greens

With any level of rain, the greens will become slower which can often be off-putting for golfers if they’re more used to fast greens.

Wet greens will also mean that they’re less likely to turn. The water will reduce the amount of break that a golfer needs to play in order to hole a putt.

This can be great on greats which have plenty of slopes, but can take some level of adjusting to.

Ball Flight

Rain on a golf ball has an influence on how it flies off the clubface and also in the air.

When water gets in between the ball and the club, it can remove friction and might bounce off the face more than normal.

The water on the ball will also increase the resistance of the ball in the air, which can move it more aggressively offline.


Wet weather means wet golf grips, which is never a good recipe for great golf.

Golf grips can lose a lot of their grip when it rains and can make it very tricky to hold onto when hitting golf shots.

If you’re often in wet weather conditions, it’s a good idea to keep your grips clean or even replace them with grips that work well in the rain.

Rain gloves also help to add a little more grip and control when the grips are soaking wet.

Ed’s Top Tip

A rain glove is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have in the rain. It sometimes get’s overlooked, but if you want to play good golf in wet weather, a rain glove is essential.

Mental Distractions

For a lot of golfers, just the fact that it’s raining can be a big distraction from their game, especially if they’re not fully prepared for wet weather golf.

Poorly fitting waterproofs, slippy grips and wet socks can be very off-putting, so it’s a good idea to have the right equipment for the challenge of wet-weather golf.

Final Thoughts

Golf in the rain certainly has its perks. Quieter golf courses and more receptive greens, what’s not to like?

But sometimes, the rain is just a bit too much for a golf course and means that it has to close. If that’s the case, golf simulators are the next best alternative or a few buckets of balls down the driving range.


Can you play golf if its been raining?

Yes, as long as golf courses remain open, golfers can get out and play. It’s always a good idea to have the necessary golf gear for combatting wet conditions such as a waterproof golf bag and waterproof golf hats.

How much rain is too much for golf?

This will depend on the type of golf course, but it can usually be judged the point at which water begins pooling on greens or fairways.

How long after it rains can you play golf?

You can play golf as soon as the golf course opens up if it’s been closed because of the rain. If remained open during the rain, there’s no reason why golfers couldn’t play.

Can it be too wet for golf?

Yes, golf courses will close if it gets too wet so that they can keep golfers and the course safe.

Do people play golf in heavy rain?

Yes, some golfers do actually play golf in heavy rain although most people will leave it if it gets too wet. Heavy rainfall requires good rain gear to help cope with wet clubs and adverse weather conditions.

Is it fine to play in the rain?

Yes, golfers are allowed to play in the rain, provided that the course hasn’t been closed.

Why do people play golf in the rain?

People play golf in the rain because it’s usually quieter and also means they can stop the golf ball quickly on the greens.

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