Winter golf: It might not be for everyone but it is still worth it

Updated: January 3, 2018

It’s a fact winter golf is not for everyone, the chances of a dry day are few and the days are shrunk so you have to start earlier to get in 18 holes.

The fair-weather golfers hang up their clubs in September or October but for the serious golfer it’s a great time to play. Yes it going to be cold and quite possible drizzling rain, but, for most of us, we are so fortunate to be able to play at all–think of all the states that are covered in snow with no chance of playing at all.

So, what are the basics to playing winter golf?

There are some important preparations you will need before heading to the course: first, you must insure that you will be warm but not restrict your swing movement.

Let’s start with clothing. Think layers–or more precisely, thin layers. Start with a tee shirt then add a thin and loose long–sleeve shirt (turtlenecks work great), cover that with a light golf sweater and a fleece vest should be all you need. If the wind is blowing or it’s raining you can add a light windbreaker. And to insure that your neck is warm, add a ski dickey or mask in you choose, and top off your wardrobe with a warm hat.

That takes care of the top so now if it’s going to be real cold, you will want to have some long johns to ensure that your legs stay warm. Make sure you have some dry shoes–golf shoes with soft spikes are a must as the ground can be slippery. Finally, get yourself a pair of winter gloves, the thinner the better and pick up some hand warmers and put several in your bag for future use as well.

Once you have your clothing in place you might want to consider using a softer ball like the Wilson DUO as the balls you use in summer will get a lot harder when the weather is cold and they won’t travel as far and feel like you are hitting rocks.

There are some things you will need to know while on the course; a different strategy is necessary when playing winter golf. First, the ball will not go as far as it did in warm weather so plan on clubbing up at least one more club. Second, the ground will most likely be soft and drives will be shorter so move forward to the next tee. Keep in mind that you are out to have fun and hitting a five iron or even a wood to the par-4 greens is not nearly as much fun as hitting a 9 or 8-iron, so move forward and enjoy the round.

Another thing to consider is the ground in front of the green will most likely be soft so there is no point in trying to land it short to run onto the green. Bump-and-run is, for the most part, a low percentage shot, if not impossible, it’s an aerial game now, so plan on shooting to land on the green. The good news is the greens will be softer so the ball should stick on the green. Please remember to fix your ball marks.

Winter golf can be a perfect time to practice. If you are playing alone you can play more than one ball and repeat shots without worrying about the overall score, but don’t hold up play behind you. It is a great time to work on your short game. When playing with your buddies and the conditions are less than good, remember it’s the same for everyone, it’s still game on, so enjoy it.

Selecting a course for winter play can be personal preference. Dry courses are preferred but even wet course can still be fun–remember the move forward plan. For wet courses it’s a good idea to play balls that you don’t mind losing (they will plug and you will loose a few in the fairway).

If you plan ahead and prepare properly, golf in the winter is like a whole new season, different, but it’s still golf and a heck of a lot of fun.

So, go out and enjoy golf in the winter, it can be a great time to play if you prepare for it. It is a good time to work on your game ahead of spring.