This is one of my all time favorite quotes. The idea is simple: as long as you are prepared, you can handle anything that comes your way. For golfers, when the quote is taken literally, preparing for “bad weather” might include having the proper gear if it’s going to rain. For example, having a waterproof jacket, pants and footwear, rain hat, rain gloves, umbrella, extra towels, extra golf gloves, waterproof bag or cover, push cart, etc. Or, for the cold, cold-weather jacket, pants, and footwear, wool socks, winter hat, mittens, hand warmers, long underwear, etc. My experience tells me that when I am prepared for whatever the weather conditions are, I gain an advantage over those who aren’t as prepared and thus increase my chances of shooting lower scores.
This same idea holds true for the figurative, or metaphorical, meaning of the quote. However, rather than referring to the conditions in the external environment, in this case, “bad weather” refers to the internal conditions of the mind. There’s no doubt that every round of golf is going to include some challenge, difficulty, frustration, or “bad weather”. The player that is better prepared to deal with that challenge, difficulty, or frustration will improve their chances of playing their best golf. In fact, one of the primary distinctions between low and high handicappers is the low handicappers ability to recover faster when adversity happens. So, how do you prepare for the internal “bad weather”? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as popping up an umbrella or putting on a warmer sweater. What further complicates things is that unlike the external environment, where you can’t just look out the window to see what it’s like outside, it’s more difficult than you think to look within your own mind. Most people aren’t very good at accurately assessing their mental state. One reason for this is that when stress increases self-awareness decreases.
Therefore, as a first step in learning how to better prepare for the inevitable adversity golfers face, start with some basic self-awareness practice by paying attention to your internal state during practice and play. When the adversity arises, ask yourself questions like: What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What emotions are coming up for me? If you can do this without judgment you will begin to identify those areas that are particularly provoked when the weather turns “bad”.