If you dream of becoming a professional golf player someday, or just want to get better, then you know that training and practicing is primordial.
One of the places where we golf players practice golf is at the driving range, where we can practice many shots while practically not having to walk at all.
However, sometimes Mother Nature feels sad, and it starts to rain, so you may be wondering, are golf driving ranges open in the rain?
In this article, we will be explaining to you the factors that affect whether or not a driving range remains open in the rain.
Are Golf Driving Ranges Open In The Rain?
The answer to this question is nuanced. A golf driving range may or may not close depending on the severity of the rainy weather. If the rain does not create safety or operational hazards, the driving range will generally not close.
If the rain is too strong, the driving range will close. If the rain is so strong that players can slip on the mud and crack their head, the driving range will close.
If the rain does not create any safety hazards, and the ball retriever (golf cart with a big claw that picks up balls) can function properly in the wet grass, the driving range should not close, ad players will be allowed to continue to practice.
It is important that there are 2 different types of golf driving ranges: uncovered and covered driving ranges.
The uncovered driving ranges are basically completely outdoors, and if it rains, you will get soaked, and so will all of your equipment.
On the other hand, the covered driving ranges are…covered…and offer some kind of roof above your head to protect you and your gear from a good portion of the rain. If it rains, the covered driving ranges might get swarmed by the usual customers of the uncovered driving ranges.
If you are lucky, during the colder months, some driving ranges will even offer heating units to keep you warm while you practice, preventing your cold muscles from feeling too stiff.
If the driving range is forced to close, you will likely not get a refund, even if you just got there.
Staff will notify you if the driving range is forcibly closed.
5 Factors Driving Ranges Consider Before Closing
1. Light Rain
In case of rainy weather, most golf driving ranges will not close if the rain is light.
Shooting golf balls under light rain poses no security threat, but it can cause your shots to travel a bit less, and spin more
If you are playing in the rain, you should use some golf rain gloves. They will give you more grip on your golf club under wet conditions than regular golf gloves would. In fact, regular golf clubs will lose their grip on the club as they get wetter.
Golf Rain Gloves give you grip in wet conditions
If you do not remember or do not know how to choose a size for rain gloves, read our article: How To Size Golf Gloves?.
Furthermore, you will need some dark shoes, as well as dark impermeable clothes. The reason you want to be wearing darker colors is because lighter colors (like white) will look dirty more easily when rain and mud splash onto them.
You should also get your rain gloves in a darker shade of color, or a color that will be easy to keep clean-looking, even if mud gets onto your gloves.
Finally, if your driving range is not covered, you should probably get a golf umbrella and a golf bag rain hood. The golf umbrella will help you protect yourself from rain, while the golf bag rain hood will keep your golf bag & clubs dry.
A golf umbrella will protect you and your clothes from wind and rain.
A golf bag rain hood cover will protect your equipment from water and rust.
When the rainy conditions affecting the driving range get more severe, there is a chance lightning appears.
If there is lightning, then the golf driving range is guaranteed to close, or at least force you to shelter yourself indoors until the lightning subsides.
In golf, you are brandishing long metal shafts above your head, and lightning likes to hit metal objects that are high up in altitude. Playing golf under lightning is a stupid act to perform, and it could end up with you smelling like barbecue.
If lightning suddenly strikes, you should seek shelter immediately. The covered golf driving ranges offer immediate cover, while you will need to hurry up to find shelter if you are in an uncovered driving range.
Do not keep shooting your golf balls until you have none. Stop everything immediately to find shelter.
3. The Type of Driving Surface Used
An important factor to consider in whether a driving range will close under rain is the type of driving surface used: either natural grass, or a driving range mat (often made from rubber & nylon).
If your driving range uses natural grass, it will close much quicker due to rain than a driving range using synthetic mats. Why?
Natural grass will easily get soaked up by rainwater, and that will make it softer and more sponge-like. When you hit the soaked grass, it will rip the grass out, and damage it.
The natural grass will takes weeks to repair after chunks of it are ripped out. To avoid this issue, driving ranges will close if there is rain quicker than driving ranges with synthetic mats.
However, if your driving range is covered, then the type of driving surface used may or may not be relevant.
4. Flooding + Ball Retriever Functionality Conditions
If the rain is so strong, there starts to be puddles and flooding on the grass where golf balls are launched, then the driving range will likely have to close.
In fact, to retrieve golf balls that have already been shot into the grass, there is a golf cart called a ball retriever (or golf ball picker), equipped with a big shovel/claw apparatus, that drives onto the grass to retrieve the golf balls that were shot.
These awesome pieces of engineering are not exactly waterproof unfortunately. If there is flooding within the grass, the ball retriever will have a hard time driving around, and has a high chance of getting stuck.
In addition, even if the ball retriever does not get stuck, ensuring its normal functioning of picking up golf balls will be challenging, as the mud will get stuck in the ball retriever apparatus, and the balls will get stuck in the mud themselves.
Therefore, if there is excessive flooding on the grass, the ball retriever will not be able to pick up any balls, and risks getting stuck, so the driving range will be forced to close.
5. Heavy Wind & Hurricanes
Another weather complication that often comes with rain is the presence of incredibly strong gusts of wind. If you are particularly unlucky, you may even have a hurricane on your hands.
Golf balls are little objects the path of which is easily affected by strong winds. A strong wind could potentially send your golf ball into random directions, would could be dangerous.
A hurricane could additionally pick up the thousands of golf balls laying around, and hurl them at innocent bystanders.
Furthermore, strong gusts of wind can make objects fly around, and even rip or break trees. Considering how many trees might be on a driving range, it is no wonder that wind becomes a great safety hazard if it is strong enough.
In the presence of strong gusts of wind, or something more major like a hurricane, a golf driving range will obviously close and require its users to go back home to shelter themselves.
Do not argue with the driving range staff that you can still play; heavy wind makes for dangerous playing conditions. Just go home to prevent safety hazards, even though you will not get refunded.
If you would like to avoid getting your practice cancelled due to bad weather, check the forecast before coming out to play and paying.
What To Do After Using the Driving Range in the Rain?
If your golf driving range does not close and you end up playing in the rain, you should do some maintenance on your golf equipment, after you are done practicing!
First of all, if you brought your golf bag, empty your it at home, and let it dry in a temperature-controlled environment. If you do not dry your golf bag, it will smell bad and potentially accumulate mold.
Next, examine all of your golf clubs that were exposed to the water, clean the dirt off them and wipe them down with a dry cloth in order to remove any water left.
If you leave water or liquids on your golf clubs, they will rust, and damage both the performance and the aesthetic appeal of your clubs.
If you need tips on cleaning your golf clubs thoroughly, read our guide: How To Wash Golf Clubs? – Easiest Method.
Wipe your golf balls down as well, and remove dirt and mud from the rest of your equipment, including your gloves and your clothes.
If you need tips on cleaning your golf gloves, read our article: How To Wash Golf Gloves? – Easiest Method.
If you need an easy way to wash all of your golf balls, read our article: How To Wash Golf Balls? – Top 5 Easiest Methods.
Finally, if your golf shoes are wet, you need to let them dry in a temperature-controlled environment. However, if you let them dry without precautions, they might shrivel up permanently or lose their shape.
To reduce the chances of your golf shoes changing their shape permanently, fill them up with rolled up or bunched up paper before leaving them to dry.
The rolled up paper will help your shoes keep their initial shape, by filling them as if some feet were in them as they dry.
There you go! After reading this article, you have learned that golf driving ranges generally only close if the weather conditions are bad enough to impede on player safety or the good functioning of the ball retriever.
If there is heavy rain, insane gusts of wind, lightning or flooding, the driving range is very likely to close, and you will probably not be refunded.
Do you mind rain at the driving range? Let us know in the comments down below!