During the winter months, many people assume that golf just stops because of the cold, wet, windy conditions, but playing in winter can be the best time to play as it tests every golfer’s ability to play in harsher conditions to better their game.
But to play in these conditions you will need to have the right equipment as it will already be hard enough trying to play a full round in winter conditions, you should at least be warm enough to play your best.
Keeping warm – clothes
It seems quite obvious to say that if you want to be outside in the cold weather to wear warm clothes but…well yeah. However, while many peoples instant reaction to the cold is to throw on several layers with big coats and jackets to keep warm, which yes does work, it is terrible for your golf game.
The key is to start with a warmer base layer, such as thermal tops that hug the upper body and long johns that keep in the warm in the lower body. Despite being products that are so thin they help reduce the amount of body heat that is lost, with many designs being skin tight to increase warm blood flow.
After that, you need to make sure you get the right kind of clothing that is not only warm but functional so that you are able to still have complete body movement that doesn’t affect or change your swing in any way.
There are plenty of golf jumpers and jackets that have been specially designed to move with a golfer’s body to ensure that they don’t impede the motion of a swing. To use a material that is able to keep the body warm, while also being so light and well made that it feels like it’s not even there.
And don’t forget about the two areas that are exposed to the elements the most, your hands and head. It won’t matter how many technological advancements your new driver has or how forgiving your irons are if your hands are frozen solid and you can barely feel a thing.
Golf is a game that requires players to be able to feel what the club in their hand is providing, so if they’re cold and numb your game will really suffer. And keeping your head warm makes sense as nobody will have the patience to aim a great round saving shot from the rough or a game-winning putt if your ears are stinging, your head is freezing and you just want to go inside.
Keeping warm – driving range
Before going to play a full round of winter golf it’s important more so than any other time of year to warm up before playing.
Going to the driving range before going out on the course so that you can play your way up from your wedges to the driver is a great way to find your swing after some time away. Don’t worry if your first few shots aren’t reaching the distance they normally do, just focus on getting your mechanics back to where you need them to be for a great round.
Doing this pre-round preparation is great for your game, but more importantly, it’s a great way to warm up your body so that you can avoid any risk of injury. The last thing anyone wants is to make the decision to brave the freezing cold weather to play a round of golf to immediately pull a muscle or throw out your back on the opening tee.
It has been proven that in winter months the muscles in the body become much tighter, so forcing them to carry out explosive movements (like swinging a driver) can cause some serious muscle tears which will require weeks of recovery.
Be smart and warm up.
Prep for wet weather
Playing golf in Britain can easily be associated with terrible weather – wet, windy and a nightmare for golfers. However, if you are a golfer who is willing to brave these conditions you will need three key items to keep you protected from the elements.
Imagine being on the golf course, soaked through to the bone, shivering constantly and trying to line up a putt for the third time after three infuriating misses, needless to say, that would be absolute torture for a full 18. High-quality waterproof clothing is essential for every golfer to own if they want to be able to play no matter the conditions, especially in a country that has such temperamental weather.
As mentioned earlier keeping your hands warm is very important, but you also need to remember to keep them dry too. Not being able to have the correct grip of the club properly because of having slick hands and the risk of the club slipping with every shot will dramatically affect your game.
Having wet weather gloves will allow you to keep playing at your best by keeping your hands warm and dry to not only increase your grip but to maintain the feel of every shot.
And finally, it probably goes without saying that an umbrella will always come in handy during the winter months with wetter conditions, but a great umbrella will be able to keep you dry while also withstanding strong gusts of wind that often turn brollies inside out.
Bring more than one towel
Bringing extra towels is always a great idea as you’re definitely going to go through more than one when you are cleaning off all of the mud that will be caked onto your clubs. Also when it rains it’s always handy to have a dry towel at hand, not one covered in mud, to dry off your grips before each shot.
Having the right golf balls in the winter is always a good idea. Using high visibility golf balls works best in the colder months as they are so much easier to spot when playing in wet, and maybe sometimes snowy conditions when the likelihood of your ball being covered and camouflaged by mud is much more likely.
Also in the colder weather, it’s always a good idea to keep your golf balls in your pocket to keep them warm. When a golf ball is exposed to colder conditions for long periods of time it can often lead to less ball speed, fewer yards on the carry and a reduction in spin.
Carrying your bag is a great way to keep warm when walking around the course. Being able to quickly make your way around the course will warm you up between each hole so that you feel looser and ready for your next shot.
Also, the course will thank you for carrying your bag as it will create much less wear and tear on the wet ground than what it would if you used a heavy trolley or buggy pulling the turf along. However, if you do need to keep using your trolley, it would be wise to invest in some winter trolley wheels. These wheels help to reduce the impact the weight of the bag has on the turf of the course, with many golf courses making these wheels compulsory for the winter months so be aware.