How to Play Winter Golf: 13 Tips
Everybody loves to hit the links when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. But, when winter rolls around, that joy often turns to dread.
The frigid weather, dark hours, and possibly icy greens all combine to make the winter game of golf not a lot of fun. Oh, and that trench coat you wear during the winter to stay warm is not aerodynamic and is a great burden to carry around.
The good news, though, is that in addition to winter being the season for holiday parties and gifts for friends and family, it’s also the season for golf! It’s a wonderful time to be out on the course.
The most important piece of equipment to have for success in the winter is a good pair of waterproof shoes. Foot comfort is very important, and you must have a comfortable, warm pair of shoes if you’re going to be outside for much of the day playing in the elements.
There are few things worse than having freezing cold hands while you’re trying to swing a club.
Make sure you go over all your clubs to be sure they’re in working order. Are the grips too worn? Replace them! Check the head of the club for any nicks or damage. Make sure you have a job to do on the far end before you head to a tournament.
Even if you’re on the course, you’ll feel better if you’ve done your homework. This holds true if you’re getting ready for match play.
Spend More Time Warming Up
Before starting your round, take a few extra minutes to warm up your body and loosen up your arms.
Get your body slowly going, especially your muscles in your back, chest and shoulders. If you don’t stretch first, you may cause a strain or pull a muscle during the round.
It’s especially important for those who tend to get stiff easily or who are elderly. Also, when it’s cold outside, some golfers may have trouble not only getting loose, but also in maintaining the flexibility they had all summer.
Consider stretching out a few times during the day for a few minutes. You may even be surprised at how quickly you’ll loosen up.
Understand Winter Golf Rules
The sports that are practiced in winter are not exactly the same as those that are played in summer. They have some similarities, but there are also some differences in the rules. Let’s take a brief look at some of the different rules that govern the playing of winter golf.
The objective of the game is still to get the ball to the hole in the least number of shots possible. In summer golf, a point is scored if the ball makes it to the hole. However, in winter golf, the player is given as many shots as it takes to get the ball to the hole.
In summer golf, the ball is aligned with the center of the club in order to hit straight to the hole. However, when hitting to the golf hole in winter, the ball is aligned with the heel of the club. This is because the snow will cause the ball to bounce a little.
In summer golf, when the ball lands in an unplayable area, it is deemed unplayable. Thus play will be suspended until the ball is in a playable area. However, there is a difference in the rules for winter golf. In this game, the ball that lands in an unplayable area will be replaced by the ball that was on its previous spot. This prevents the game from becoming too long.
Take More Club
Walk Instead of Ride
You can order a golf cart so that you can ride it. However, you may want to reconsider since riding golf carts decreases your levels of fitness. It is better to walk than ride and golf carts will enable you to reach your destination faster. You can walk for recreational purposes and it could also help you stay in shape. Walking will help you maintain a healthy physique and improve your posture so that you can enjoy playing golf for many years.
If you are wanting to practice the game to prepare for a competition or to improve your skills, you can always head indoors. There are many options in the area; some indoor golf ranges are even available for nighttime play.
It may be tempting to hit a drive off any asphalt spot that looks like a perfect golfing spot for you, but you should be aware that you may be in for a fine from your local government agencies.
You are certainly going to be able to look for some nice patches of sand that you can use for your swing, but you need to be aware of the dangers that may be associated with this.
In sandy areas, you may not have the comfort and protection from the sun that you need. Furthermore, you should be aware that you may be putting yourself at risk of developing arthritis in the future. The problem is that as you age, you are at a higher risk of arthritis developing in your golfing joints.
When you go to the indoor golf range, you may be given a shorter club or one that has a larger head on it. This way, you can perform exercises designed to help improve your short game, specifically the chips.
Undoubtedly, your best bet is to practice indoors. The question remains though; are there any options available?
Golf is typically played in the summer months, when the weather is warm and the ground is dry. Cold weather makes running and walking more difficult. This can make it harder to maintain a normal walking or running routine during the winter months.
But keep in mind that some of the best golf courses in the country are in areas that get cold winters!
So keep swinging even when winter is around the corner. On cold days, it’s important to be well-prepared for the cold and to plan for the tougher walking conditions.
Keep these 13 tips in mind and you will easily survive and thrive during winter golf…
Sharpen Your Mental Game
There are many ways to improve your mental game, but most professional golfers focus on the following:
- Build self-confidence by recognizing specific skills you bring to the game. Recognize your skill strengths and identify ways to improve in areas where you feel most vulnerable.
- Think positively and focus on what you are doing right rather than what you are doing wrong.
- Develop a pre-shot routine to stabilize your emotions before each shot. This will give you more confidence and help you to be mentally prepared to deliver your best performance.
- Take it one shot at a time. Putting a lot of pressure on yourself by thinking about the outcome of the round or tournament performance will cause you to play with more stress. Lower your expectations and relax by just getting one hole completed at a time.
- Find a swing coach who can help you create a game plan to reduce your mental errors and help you play more focused when under pressure.
- Know thine enemy by being aware of your key strengths and weaknesses.
Add Loft to Your Woods
The easiest way to add distance to your game is to start using a club with a higher loft.
The club that’s best suited to you is going to depend on a few things. If you normally play one club then that’s what I would recommend. If you alternate between two clubs then you can use one or the other depending on the desired distance and the lie of the land.
Adding a half degree of loft is going to increase your distance by about 3%. So if you normally have a 9 degree wood then moving to a 9.5 degree should give you close to a 10% increase in distance.
Book a Golf Trip
If you’re not a golfer, you may have never thought of booking a golf trip. Who would book a golf trip, right?
But many people do. Golfers do it all the time. And there are good reasons why.
First, it’s less expensive. Many clubs are cheaper in the middle of summer or in the shoulder season. So you can save some money and golf more.
Second, when you book a golf trip, you’re able to stay in the same lodging for multiple days. This can be important for mid-season golfers who may not want to go home in the middle of the day or families who may be together for the week.
While you’re at it, you can play as many holes as you want because the only thing you’re paying for is the golf or a travel package.
Other players pass on travel packages and instead work around their vacation time and save loads of cash by playing and staying at the same place for multiple days.
You can also make golf trips more fun by going to golf courses that are close to where you want to go or visiting a new city and taking in all of the things you would normally miss.
Switch Golf Balls
As the days get shorter and the temperatures become colder, don’t overlook the need to switch golf balls. Many manufacturers make balls specifically designed for winter golf. They are wide-soled, which is helpful for traction as well as soft, which will stop the ball from bouncing too far off the green or hitting too hard on the ball.
Most pros will switch to winter balls in the dead of winter because the balls tend to have a softer feel than traditional balls. This helps to make them more manageable in the cold and wet weather.
If your golf course does not allow golfers to at least rent the winter balls, find a similar ball that is a bit softer. While balls specifically made for colder weather are preferred, you can opt for any golf ball that is a bit softer than the type you normally play.
Keep Your Golf Balls Warm
The only thing worse than the weather on a rainy day is the weather on your next golf game. Be it a mild day or a -34 degree Celsius day, you are in for a lesson if you are not prepared.
Frozen equipment and moisture in the air mean you’ll end up with frozen golf equipment, which is something no golfer wants to deal with.
Know that your bag is a major factor in how much your golf equipment will suffer in the cold. A golf bag without a roof is meant to be a sitting bag. It’s meant to be sitting against the clubhouse wall.
But if your golf bag has a top, it’s time to cover it with something that is waterproof and warm. The less air between the waterproof layer and the golf bag, the warmer it will be.
Think of your clubs as small animals. Just like you dont keep a puppy or a kitten outside, you shouldn’t keep your golf clubs outside either.
Another tip regarding golf equipment temperature is how you take care of your balls. Under the cold weather conditions, your golf balls will freeze and not even a warming bag will help.
So it may be a good idea to make a habit of bringing your balls inside the house and garage if you live in colder climate.
Have fun playing in the snow.
Winter golf only works if you actually select a time to play that you enjoy. The more likely you are to have fun, the more likely you are to keep on playing, the more likely you are to improve and the better the chance you have of experiencing some success.
Regardless of where you live sport plays a large part in the life of more people than you think.
From professional athletes to weekend warriors, sport is where it’s at for a lot of people. Not just on the playing field but in fitness gyms as well.
Much of the fitness programs are designed around athletes and using those training principles can help you to get in the best shape of your life.
But when it comes to playing winter golf and enjoying it, there’s a good chance you’ve just discovered a whole new playing field and there’s no end to the possibilities as to what you can do, enjoy and become.
If you love the sport and consider yourself an athlete, it’s your job to put in the effort to make sure you have fun. If you’re having fun you will keep playing, you will continue to train and play more often and abandon any resistance to the weather.