If you don’t want to give your clubs up until the spring, then there are some things you can try that will make playing golf more bearable in colder conditions. This guide on how to play golf in cold weather will have you prepared for anything mother nature throws your way, so you can brush up on your short game, practice those swings with your new irons, and crush your buddies on the course come spring.
Why You’ll Love Golf in the Winter
One of the biggest reasons golfers love hitting the course in the winter is the pace of play. Playing during the winter months can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy a significantly faster pace of play, without the annoying spring and summer rush that makes it almost impossible to squeeze in some extra rounds on the weekends.
Course prices are also much cheaper during the off season, so you can play more during the winter and pay less.
Now, let’s learn how you can make the most out of playing during the winter and how you can prepare for chilly conditions on the course.
First things first. Your shoes really matter, especially when you’re playing in colder weather. If you live in a part of the country that experiences rain quite a bit during the fall and winter, then invest in the best waterproof golf shoes you can find. These shoes will be a total lifesaver and will keep your feet warm and dry as you make it from hole to hole. Nothing is worse than playing in wet socks and nothing will have you calling it quits on the course faster.
When you’re shopping for new shoes, you should also consider making the switch to spiked. Keep in mind, some golf courses do not allow spiked golf shoes, so if you’re not sure whether your club does, speak with the staff about their dress code.
Spiked golf shoes offer better traction compared to spikeless, decreasing your chances of injury on frozen or wet ground.
Ditch the Golf Cart
If you want to spend your time freezing when you’re on the course, then take a golf cart. If you want to stay toasty and warm, then I recommend walking the course. Walking the entire nine or eighteen holes will get your blood pumping and keep you two to three degrees warmer. You can use a golf pushcart or carry your clubs as an alternative to relying on a cart to haul all of your gear for you. So, not only will you enjoy a relatively empty course during the winter, but you’ll also get in a great workout.
Wear the Right Clothes
Dressing warm and bundling up is always a great idea, just make sure the clothes you wear meet the club’s golfing dress code. You’ll need to be careful with the clothes you choose, since thick layers can make it difficult to swing properly. You can wear a thin, long-sleeved base layer, with your usual golf shirt over it, then toss on a fleece pullover. If you’re dealing with windy conditions, then you may need to wear something that’s wind resistant.
For your pants, choose something that’s flannel lined or pants that are made out of corduroy. A hat will also be important, since you can lose a significant amount of body heat if you don’t keep your head covered. The hat should be comfortable and cover the tops of your ears.
If you want to keep your hands warm, invest in winter golf gloves, which are designed for cold weather play. These gloves will keep your hands nice and warm, without compromising your grip.
Change Up How You Play
In colder weather, you’ll find that your shots are going to play around one club longer through the air. However, you’ll also enjoy the extra roll of the tee, not to mention a larger first bounce, compared to what you’ll usually get in normal conditions. I’ll discuss more about how the weather impacts ball distance later on.
Don’t be afraid to stretch the rules since you’re playing during the off-season, as far as your handicap is concerned. You’ll want to take advantage of the leaf rule, which gives you a free drop if you’re not able to find your ball in the foliage.
If you’ve somehow managed to talk your buddies into trying a round in cold weather, don’t worry about scorecards. Play match play instead, including scramble, alternate shot, or best ball. You’ll feel a lot warmer when you’re on the course having fun.
Bring Hot Drinks
You already know that one of the best ways to stay nice and warm in cold weather is to have a hot drink on hand. Use an insulated bottle or thermos and bring along hot chocolate, tea, or your favorite coffee.
Don’t Keep Your Clubs in the Car
Many of us tend to leave our clubs in the car, because it saves us time, not to mention the hassle of hauling our clubs to the car first thing in the morning, when we’re trying to get in a quick round. But leaving your clubs in your vehicle overnight is not the best idea. Why? Because cold temperatures can have an impact on the grips of your clubs, causing the material to become firmer. This can lead to cracks. Additionally, in cold temperatures, graphite can become very brittle. Condensation may begin to build up on the clubs, if you leave them in your car for a long period of time. You can also damage that expensive golf bag and even your balls.
In summer weather, the rubber compounds will expand. In colder temperatures, the rubber will contract and becomes very firm. This creates less rebound.
Ball Distance and Cold Weather
As I briefly touched on earlier, the colder temperature can have an impact on ball distance. A ball that’s traveling at the same speed in lower temperatures won’t go as far as one that’s traveling at the same speed when it’s hot out. However, in low temperatures, the golfer will usually be stiff, so they’re not able to swing using the same speed. This can make it difficult if you’re on the course trying to practice how to get more distance.
A ball can’t fly as far in cold weather because the cold air is denser compared to warm air. This creates more drag on the ball. On average, you can expect a one-yard difference for every ten-degree change in the temperature. One thing you should definitely avoid is warming up your golf balls. Warming up a ball is actually against the rules, not to mention, it’s also ineffective.
When you’re playing in cold weather, you’ll want to consider certain factors when calculating your yardage, such as how your body performs in cold temperatures and what types of clothing you can wear that will still keep you warm and allow you to swing with the type of power you need.
Less Room Under the Ball
As the temperature drops, the ground becomes harder. This means that using an outside-in swing path can shallow out a swing giving the golfer a better attack angle when they have less room under the ball. If you’re faced with lies where your footing isn’t so great, try using a three-quarter backswing. This will help improve your stability.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol
Sure, a sip of whiskey can help you feel warm when you’re braving cold weather, but in reality, it does more harm than good. Alcohol consumption can actually lower the core body temperature.
These tips on how to play golf in cold weather are designed for the diehard golfer. If you’re someone who can’t imagine putting your clubs away for the fall and winter months, then there are some great ways you can stay warm and nimble, in challenging weather conditions. While you may end up having to make some minor adjustments to your swing, due to ball distance changes in colder weather, not to mention your layers of clothing that can make it difficult for you to swing like you normally would, you’ll find that braving the cold weather is definitely worth it. Playing year-round will keep you sharp. You’ll find yourself powering your swing like never before, come spring. Use these tips to stay safe and warm on the course in the winter, and blow your golf buddies away come spring, when your technique and swing are better than ever before.