Things to Know About Winter Golf

Date Published: 07/11/2022

Winter isn’t a time to stow away your clubs; even in cold, windy, wet weather, golf offers satisfaction and enjoyment to those willing to find it. Winter golf allows you to maintain your form and keep improving your game. After all, if you can master the tougher conditions, you’ll be unstoppable in ideal conditions.

The perceived drawbacks to playing golf in winter are fairly obvious, but there are a number of less obvious advantages too: courses are generally much quieter and, depending on the golf club, you can pick up some excellent winter deals. 

You can also explore playing different formats, such as foursomes and better ball or even matchplay and scramble, allowing you to keep focused in the harshest of conditions (or even warm up in between your shots).

Here is everything you need to know about golfing in winter:

  • Warming up is essential

Stretching before you play is more important in winter than it is in the warmer months. It helps to prevent injury and keeps you from stiffening up when you take your first swings. If you have any particularly tight muscles, make sure to pay particular attention to those.

  • Winter golf rules

The cold air and wet ground will have an effect on the flight and roll of your ball. For these reasons, there are a couple of rules that make winter golf more practical:

Casual water

During or after a period of rain, casual water may accumulate on the golf course. If a shot is affected by this, a player can drop their ball at the nearest point of dry ground without penalty.

Preferred lies

Winter golf can cause balls to pick up mud or other debris. The preferred lies rule makes provision for this. It permits a golfer to lift, clean and place the ball when it’s on the fairway or green within 6 inches of its original position, no nearer the hole.

Embedded balls

If a ball digs into the turf and is embedded, a golfer is allowed to clean and place the ball according to the stipulations laid out in the rules above.

3. Bring the right equipment

A good-sized umbrella, a golf towel, and high-visibility balls make winter golf much more enjoyable. The umbrella should be effective against rain and light snow, covering your golf bag while you take your shot.

4. Play in appropriate attire

Low body temperature creates stiffness, and stiffness limits your swing and power. Make sure to wear clothing that balances comfort and warmth with movement and flexibility. A good base layer, a pair of thermal trousers, thick socks and a beanie are non-negotiables, as is a windbreaker or raincoat for when it’s needed. To stay dry, play using wet weather golf gloves and waterproof golf shoes (and if you’re one of those people that runs cold, pack hand warmers too).

5. Be prepared for changes in weather

Winter weather can change quickly. Make sure you’re well equipped to continue playing with an extra layer of clothing if it gets windy, wet, or especially cold.

6. Practising on the driving range

Limbering up and doing a few stretches helps to prevent injury and stiffness, and it’s good for you. Although it’s not the most exciting thing to do – especially when the golf course is within view – it’s twice as important in winter. If you have any tight muscles or pre-existing niggles, make sure to pay particular attention to those.

If you have the time, you can also visit the driving range and hit a couple of balls. It helps to find the rhythm of your swing and judge the distance your golf ball is travelling. It also means you have some insight on the conditions before playing your first tee shot.

7. Club up

Cold air is heavier than warm air, so your ball isn’t going to go as far as it normally would. Compensate for this by using one club up from what you usually have. Maybe look at even adding loft to your driver to give your ball more carry and distance too! 

9. Keep your golf balls warm

Finally, don’t forget to keep your golf balls warm in winter. For every ten degrees lost, a golf ball will carry a couple of metres shorter. Keep your golf balls zipped up in your bag while you play to ensure they stay toasty. 

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