May 14, 2003
Umbrellas: Mastering the Wet Game
By: Larry A. Berglas
Your drives may be less than stellar,
your chip shots imperfect. Club face technology is over
your head. Regardless of your local forecast, however,
basic golf umbrella skills are within every player’s
reach. Merely master single-hand grip, balance, span,
and umbrella structure, size and composition. With regular
practice, you’ll see your wet game improve as
the humidity rises and your handicap drops.
First: Single-Hand Grip.
Releasing the span of the umbrella requires a body,
arm and hand motion, that, with a bit of practice, will
keep the rain where it belongs, in the water hazards
and off your game. A good grip will help get you there.
When the drops begin to fall, try the umbrella pros’
grip, the grip that the driest all use – the four
knuckle wrap around zip grip. Don’t wait for lightning!
Grasp the handle of the umbrella firmly, but not too
firmly, with a horizontal thumb and evenly spaced fore
and middle fingers. Flip the shaft handle up in a single
deliberate continuous arc. Your umbrella sales professional
can help you calculate the proper sweep of this arc,
its depth, pitch and length, the one that’s just
right for your raise and rotation. Keep the elbow in
tight and don’t lose the umbrella to wayward wind
gusts during the upward rotation. Watch the angle of
The raise is key to staying dry. A quick and smooth
rotation through the raise will help you reach maximum
span with maximum speed with a raise that feels smooth
and looks good. If you are right handed, use your right
hand. If you are left handed, use your left hand. The
sacrifice of upper body strength for switchers is not
recommended for beginners. You can practice this motion
at home with a short broom or small pet away from chandeliers
and other overhead fixtures.
Proper balance requires studied practice and concentration.
Even the most expert raise and rotation is ruined by
poor balance. A badly balanced umbrella will leave your
torso soaked faster than you can say Mary Poppins at
the Masters. Once the umbrella is fully rotated in raised
position, it is essential that you read the angle and
intensity of the wind and rain. With practice, you should
be able to do this effortlessly during the raise well
before deployment. Strong wind gusts, secondary wind
shear and the occasional funnel cloud have caused, in
rare circumstances, rotator cuff injuries resulting
in months of indoor physical therapy not to mention
needless lost dollars in umbrella repair.
The concept of span requires an honest assessment of
your girth. The wider you are, the greater the span
of the umbrella that is needed for dry effect. Too much
span is simply wasted and prevents rainfall from evenly
reaching the course, a problem in areas under drought
restrictions. Too little span and you’re wet.
Large spans require deft maneuvering and substantial
upper body strength, however, and complicate balance.
They also add elements to consider in structure and
composition, but more on that later. If span is a problem,
get out of the cart and walk a lot.
Fourth: Size, Composition and Structure.
Before executing a successful deployment, the right
umbrella must accompany your bag. Sizing is important.
While most of us purchase our umbrellas right “out
of the stand,” it pays to consider a custom hold.
Certain websites offer custom umbrellas with good span
and structural characteristics tailored to the specific
needs of your game, but you’ll have to provide
them with information such as your arm length and body
height, loft (how high you usually hold the umbrella),
extension (how far out the umbrella is held), girth
(important for span), and age and raise speed (important
for shaft handle and structure composites), as well
as your typical playing climate and local average rainfall
Advances in technology today permit the manufacture
of golf umbrellas some of which have spans the size
of circus tents. How do they do it? Take a look at the
GolfinDolphin RainGear Device System’s Long Course
Pro T17V12i FlexShaft GraphSteel High and Dry Touring
Model™ for example.
Engineered with weight and strength ratios optimized
for different rotation angles and arc and lift characteristics,
the T17V12i Touring Model has the lightest and strongest
support shaft handle commercially made with a forged
steel flange at the top center spoke matrix. Constructed
with a power flex mix of moisture shedding SilverK2MaxGuard
X™ graphite and surgical quality high-strength
stainless pro steel, this model also has a slip resistant
grip that’s one step away from flypaper and utilizes
TuffTefMaxTexDropletRipGuard™ technology at the
The T17V12i’s secret, however, is in its remarkable
patented TaperWickDryForged™ high temperature
carbolic smoked “SpiderHighSpreadXL™”
tensile spokes which are able to deploy minimally 72%
more span than conventional golf umbrellas while at
the same time offering the most forgiving deployment
available with less rotational pressure, and all of
that combined with the Touring Model’s centered
weighting for thoroughly accurate balance. It takes
215 hours to manufacture one of these beauties.
Of course, there are literally dozens of umbrella models
on the market from which to choose. Aimed at the low
handicapper, some of the most expensive rain protectors
have GPS locators and digital wind speed and moisture
alert warning systems with private sound technology
embedded in the liquid crystal titanium core found at
mid-shaft handle. A fun extra available in limited models
(borrowed from professional bass fishing gear) is the
next generation micro fish finder that locates sterile
triploid grass carp in deep water hazards.
But remember, state-of-the-art electronics alone, no
matter how fun or sophisticated, won’t keep you
Next Month: Clip-On Hand Towels: Golf’s New Textiles
Have a High IQ.
Article written by Larry A. Berglas