Top Tips for Playing Golf this Winter
Golfing pros can always adapt their game to suit any condition, so don’t let the dark nights and cold days put you off honing your swing technique. If you want to take advantage of the emptier courses and keep up your practice, check out our tips for playing golf in winter.
No golf buggies
Keep your body temperature up by walking around the course rather than driving. You’ll probably find that your muscles will feel more loose and flexible, which should improve your swing on chilly days.
Science says that your golf ball will not travel as far in the cold, so you might have to adjust your par. As a golf ball travels through cold air, it will lose distance since air at lower temperatures is denser. Therefore, each shot of the ball in winter will give you a slightly higher and shorter trajectory, due to drag. To help counter this issue, place your golf balls on your home radiator to gently warm them around 30 minutes before you leave for the course.
Even pro golfers wouldn’t shoot under their handicaps when the green surface is poor, so don’t feel bad about adding a couple of strokes onto the par of the course for every nine, too.
In golf, you have two major points of contact when you swing — club and ground. In order to play the best game possible, you need to ensure you have a firm grip when the conditions are frosty or damp. Switch to golf shoes with metal spikes, if your golf course allows, and give yourself more stability mid-swing for the optimum shot.
You’ll notice a significant difference in your game quality and duration if you head to the course with golf gloves. Hands and feet are the first parts of the bodies that get cold, which diminishes flexibility and movement. Go for special, wet-weather gloves with added grip so you can keep a firm hold of your club when you’re taking a tee shot.
High-vis golf balls
Even if you have customized golf balls that you love to take with you on the course, winter means the days are shorter and visibility is poorer. Yellow is the most visible colour in the spectrum — which is why New York City taxis are painted that shade — so treat yourself to a new pack of sunny, high-visibility golf balls that you’ll be able to keep in your eyeline as you move around the course?
Widen your stance
Frosty or rain-soaked grounds equal unsteady footing and poorer accuracy. Widen the distance between both feet before each swing so that your weight is spread more evenly and you boost your overall stability. This way, you should feel more secure as you rotate with each swing, which should give you a cleaner shot.
Expect less run
Wet ground makes for a shorter run, so you need to factor this into your game strategy when you head out for a round in winter. Approach shots will potentially stop soon after landing and putts are likely to be slower, which means you need to adjust the force and angle of each shot. Try and hit the ball so that it has a softer landing with a less steep drop, and increase the power you put into your shot when you go for the hole.
If you’re a keen golfer, chances are you’ll already have a decent golf umbrella. If not, you definitely need one for winter golfing. Make sure you buy a high-quality design made from strong, durable materials — fibreglass umbrellas are especially sturdy — and get one with a sizeable canopy to cover you and your clubs from winter wind and rain.
To play golf in winter, you need to increase your metabolism and body heat. Take a flask of coffee, green tea or even warmed coconut milk to keep you alert, warm and energized on the cold course.
Golf tracking in low sun
One of the major obstacles with winter golf is the low-lying sun, which can obscure your vision and leave you having to guess where your ball landed. However, there is a trick to keeping it in your eyeline. Simply track the ball from the second it takes off until a moment before it reaches the sun. Then, divert your gaze to the location on the ground where you think your ball will land — almost every time, you’ll see your ball roll into view, saving your eyes from glare in the process.
Wear multiple layers
On very cold days, you need to dress warmly if you’re going to last on an open course. Dressing in layers is an easy trick to trapping body heat, so go for a long-sleeve thermal t-shirt, jumper, windbreaker, hat, gloves, and few pairs of socks. This way, if you start to heat up as you move around, you can always take off a layer to regulate your temperature.