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Be prepared for any conditions
It has been said that 90% of golf is played between the ears and that the other 10% is mental.

With the changing seasons bringing the prospect - in Scotland at least - of five months of cold, wet or windy weather, many golfers beat themselves before stepping onto the first tee by assuming they cannot or will not play well in such conditions.

Yet certain truisms remain. First, the conditions are the same for everyone and the golfer who thrives is the one who accepts what is rather than curses what isn't.

Second, a little preparation goes a long way so make sure that you have, at the very least, a hat, decent rainsuit, good quality shoes, a dry towel inside your bag and at least one change of glove, or an all-weather glove. Many golfers dislike umbrellas, especially in strong winds, and many others find rain hoods on their clubs a fiddly distraction.

Third, remember that three or four layers of relatively light clothing can be far more effective than one or two bulky items.

Fourth, and most important of all, look forward to the challenge and be bold. For example, cold golf balls fly less far than warm ones, and the distance they travel will also be reduced by cold or wet air, so keep a spare in your pocket and alternate on each hole, so that you're always hitting a warm golf ball from the tee.

Most importantly, relish the challenge and determine that you will still give all your concentration to every shot. In match play in particular you could quickly gain a reputation as a good player in poor weather, and any edge you can get over your opponent is worth having.

©    5 - NOVEMBER 2002

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