How to Play Golf in the Winter

Winter is not an appealing weather for golf players. The colder regions often close down which means the golf courses shut down as well. Even if your area doesn’t snow, playing golf in the cold is different.

In this post, we’re going to look at what you can do to survive the winter as a golf player. Even better, we’re going to tell you how you can keep playing! Without further ado, let’s get started.

Keep Practicing Indoors

If you’re taking a little break to make yourself acquainted with the winter, don’t put the clubs away just yet. If your area sees heavy snow every year, you should invest in indoor golf simulators. These simulators are amazing at retaining your skills and fitness even through long winters.

If you don’t have a simulator, at least invest in good quality golf mats. Mats for putting and chipping are great for practicing the hard moves indoors. You can even pick up a few new skills when your local course is closed down for the winter.

Follow this Indoor Golf Training Program

Getting Ready to Play

So, you’ve decided to keep playing. As we’ve already said, winter golf is very different from regular golf. It means you need to prepare yourself before you hit the course. Let’s take a look at a few steps you can follow to ensure that your adventures with winter golf go smoothly.

Invest in Good Clothing

You might have every piece of clothing you need for the winter, but if they create problems with your range of motion, you won’t be able to play at your full capacity. But you can’t just cut down on the layers. Because if you get cold, you won’t be able to play at your full capacity as well!

So, what do you do?

You simply invest in clothing that is very good at retaining heat without a lot of material. Long John thermals, rain pants, tight-fitting under armor, etc. are great examples of good winter clothing for golf players.

Along with staying warm, you need to stay dry as well. Whether it’s snow or dew, if it gets into your clothing, you can say bye to the warmth for the day. Luckily, there are winter-specific gear and accessories for the players. You can get rain hoods, winter gloves, socks, etc. to reinforce your clothing.

If you don’t believe in dedicated winter gear for golf, you can simply stick to rain gear. Regular rain gear works extremely well during winter as well.

Study the Winter Rules

Winter rules, also known as preferred lies are rule exceptions for the winter. These rules allow you to pick up the ball and clean it without any penalty. Because even if there is no snow, the dew on the golf course can cause mud to stick to your ball. And without cleaning it from time to time, your distance and accuracy will take a hit.

These rules, however, might vary from course to course and tournament to tournament. It’s your job to know about them before you actually go to the course to play. You can simply refer to the course’s website or call them to guide you on the rules.

Learn About Casual Water

If there is snow on the course and the drainage system of the course is not on par, you may have to face casual water from time to time. If you happen to land in one of the puddles, whether from melted snow or rain, mark the position with a tee.

Now, look around for the nearest relief point. As long as you make the relief point that is not closer to the hole, you won’t be penalized at all.

Embedded Ball Rule

This rule allows you to take free reliefs up to one club length away. This rule has been introduced because sometimes the surface of the golf course becomes so muddy that you can’t even find the ball properly.

Resource: How to Score in the 70’s Golf Training Plan

When You’re at the Course

If you prepare yourself well beforehand, playing winter golf at the course becomes much easier. In this section of our post, we’re going to look at the things you should do after you arrive at your preferred golf course.

Warm Up for Longer

We all know we need to warm up before each round. If not, at least before the first round. Warming up allows blood to flow more easily throughout our body. It reduces the chances of pulling a muscle or spraining your wrist.

The whole ‘warming up’ process is done to increase our body’s temperature. So, when our body is colder than usual, say in the winter, we need to spend more time warming up, right?

After your regular warm up routine, if the course has a driving range, you should spend some time there. Driving ranges are a great place to feel one’s capabilities and limitations.

To utilize the time you have to the fullest, we recommend doing simple warm up exercises like stretching and jumping at home. When you take care of the basics at home, you can spend some time at the driving range without compromising your total stay at the course.

Take More Clubs with You

If you’ve been playing golf for a while, you would know that players are allowed to carry up to 14 clubs in the bag. However, players don’t utilize the full capacity of the bags for the most part. They just take the clubs they need and leave the rest at home.

It’s a perfectly fine strategy for the summer or the autumn. But when it’s winter, you should always carry more clubs than usual. Due to the change in weather, the conditions of the golf courses may change drastically. It’s not always possible for players and even for course officials to predict what the course would look like the next day.

Our recommendation is to carry all 14 clubs for winter golf. Because you never know which one will come in handy in a tight situation. It’ll also boost your confidence because you know you have the options.

Don’t Take Cart

Riding the golf cart is one of the most fun activities you can do at a golf course. Riding through the greenery at dusk is a wonderful gift to oneself. However, it’s wiser to walk during the winter instead of riding.

The only reason we’re telling you to do that is to keep you warm. In harsh winter, it’s very easy to lose our body heat. If you let the heat escape by freezing in the cart, the warm up routine you followed in the morning will mean nothing.

Another reason could be the time efficiency. In most golf courses, walking to the ball is easier than riding because the carts are only allowed to run on cart paths. So, unless you’re at a particularly large golf course, walk and enjoy the gloomy nature of winter.

Follow this Indoor Golf Training Program

Add a Little Loft to Your Clubs

If you have an adjustable driver, that’s awesome. It means you can change the loft of the club face on the go. More loft means more ball flight. And when it comes to tee shots, a little loft can go a long way in winter.

The surface conditions on golf courses usually restrict the roll of the ball. So, if you use a regular driver or wood, you won’t get the same distance. But when you have more loft, you can have more carry. Although the ball won’t roll, you’ll cover more distance while in the air.

Switch Balls

The type of golf balls you use for your game can make all the difference. Switching up the golf balls is one of the simplest ways of changing how you perform. Firmer balls are a better choice during winter in our opinion. They might not offer as much control but you’ll surely cover more distance. It can come in handy on wet and snowy surfaces.

Another thing is color. If the course has snow, using the regular white balls is not a good idea. Instead, you can use yellow balls that will stick out even in the snow.

Do you know what’s interesting? A warm golf ball flies farther than a cold one. Mind-blowing, right? So, keeping your balls warm might prove helpful. To do it, simply put 2 or 3 balls in your pocket and walk around for a bit. The friction between the balls and your body heat will keep them warm.

If you want to learn more about golf balls, we have a complete guide on your website.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

No matter what you do in life, don’t forget to have fun. Whether you play professional golf or just out of passion, the endgame is always to have fun. If you’re reluctant to play winter golf, you can use this guide to get started.

People mostly avoid playing in the winter due to mental reasons. Sure, there are some physical challenges as well. But nothing severe enough to keep you pinned at home. So, go out there and have the best time of your life!

Golf Practice Plans to Follow

Thanks for reading today’s article!

Nick Foy – Golf Instructor

nick foy golf academy
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