Whether you are playing golf in the rain, playing in the wind, or playing golf in the snow, serious golfers are still trying to get their fix. Still trying to make birdies, save pars and hang out with friends. The ball does not travel as far, the conditions are wet, and you might not get as loose as quickly when you are warming up. If you are wondering how do you play golf in the cold, I have listed a few tips for you…
Always Be Prepared
Be ready for the wind or the rain. When it comes to winter golf there is always weather uncertainty. You can’t fight the weather and once you are committed to playing golf in it just be patient. It may pour down rain mid round so have an umbrella and rain gear. Or it may get windy and cold, so wear or take a jacket to keep you warm.
The key to winter golf is to wear layers and not big jackets or coats. Playing in a hoodie or big coat will not work. It is awkward and nearly impossible to swing a driver when you are wearing something big and loose fitting. Remember when you are cold, you are stiff and because of that you are not swinging with 100% power or flexibility as you would in the summer. This leads to higher scores and a higher chance of injury as well. A tip is to wear long john thermals under your slacks and in very cold weather put a pair of rain paints over your slacks. For your torso have a good set of Under Armour or tight fitting clothing underneath your polo. Then you can add a vest, sweater, raincoat, or windbreaker. Always have enough gear when playing winter golf.
How to Stay Warm and Dry
Wear a turtleneck, thick socks, a beanie, rain gloves, and hand warmers. It goes without saying, make sure you have waterproof golf shoes. Always carry a rain hood so your grips stay dry or else you are in for long tough round of golf. Just remember in winter golf no matter how many trips you make to the range, or how much time you spend on a practice green — you’re not likely to be setting any personal records on the course. As long as you accept that beforehand, the round will be far more enjoyable.
Before you go the course, do some stretches and light exercise to get the blood flowing. Plus walking will keep your blood flowing. Plus in the Winter, the wind is not in your favor. When driving the golf cart, it’s going to be even colder with the breeze generated by your speed. Walk instead! Walking not only keeps the hurricane force winds off of you, but it also keeps you warmer since you are moving around.
What are the Preferred Lies Rules?
Preferred lies: The concept of winter rules, also known as “preferred lies,” is one of the most misunderstood concepts in golf.. These “winter rules” refer to the practice some golf courses adopt when weather causes adverse conditions on the golf course to allow players to pick up, clean off, and replace their balls if they land in a weather-worn spot. Make sure you know the specifics to the rule before you play in any tournament or event . Usually after you clean the ball, you can move it within six inches, no closer to the hole and not taking it from the rough to the fairway. You can’t move the ball from the fringe to the green.
Who Decides the Rules?
Ultimately, the choice comes down to the individual player as it is not mandatory to take advantage of winter rules — or preferred lies — when the local rule is in effect. Players are entitled to take advantage of the rule if it is in effect, but they are also entitled to play the balls as they lie — if they prefer playing the game in the traditional fashion.
Club Up in the Cold Because the Ball Won’t Travel as Far
Your muscles are going to be tight. You’re certainly not as loose as you are in warm, humid conditions. Your golf ball is experiencing the same characteristics. Take an extra club. If you hit 8-iron from 145 yards, hit a 7-iron instead.
Practice Indoors in the Winter
Most public courses in the winter make player hit off of mats to save the turf from too much wear and tear. If this is the case at your course it is probably easier to practice indoors.
- Golf simulators are a great way to help your game even if it is subzero temperature outside. Find a complex near you with a simulator. Look online for an indoor practice facility near you.
- If you have space in your home buy your own practice golf net.
- Work on your pre-shot routine. Understanding your pre-Shot Routine will really help to keep the tension and anxiety levels way down. Watch the professionals on Television and you will see that they all have a solid pre-shot routine.
- Do putting and chipping drills in your house or backyard. Invest in an indoor putting green or chipping net to keep your short game sharp.
- Keep swinging even if it is for a few minutes in your garage or backyard.
- Sharpen your mental game. If you want to give your body a rest when it is cold train your mind. Most golfers struggle with the mental game as much as the swing and short game. Changing your mindset routine and way of thinking on the golf course can positively effect your game as much as a new driver .
Add Loft to Your Woods and Drivers
- When it is cold the golf ball isn’t going to fly as far or roll as far. Say goodbye to your 10-20 yards of roll you get in the firmer, spring and summer conditions. So adjust your woods and driver by increasing loft.
- Adding loft will give yourself more carry and also make it easy to hit it slightly straighter than normal .
A warm golf ball flies much farther than a cold one so keep the ball you are playing with in your pocket at all times. Also depending on how harsh the conditions are switching to a firmer ball is great way to help in the cold weather.
The main advice is make sure you are having fun. Do not take it too seriously out there. Expect to shoot a few shots worse when it is cold and windy. Enjoy the winter and be prepared for all weather conditions.
- Lessons for Beginners are Essential – Simply put, golf is not intuitive. Everyone has to learn how to swing a golf club. No one, not even the best pros have simply picked up a club and knew what to do with it.
- Lessons are the Best Way to Improve Your Game – Lessons can help knock the rust off your skills or pinpoint why your game got worse. They are also a direct way to improve your game once it plateaus and your professional’s opinion about your gear, can save you money!
About Heidi Mitchell
I’m an LPGA Class A golf professional with over 26 years of experience in teaching golf. I can bring your game to a new level by teaching the fundamentals, psychology and functional body movement of golf based on each student’s individual learning style. I use techniques learned from highly acclaimed golf instructors and organizations such as Jimmy Ballard, David Leadbetter, Dr. Gary Wiren, Jim McLean, Dr. Debbie Crews, The LPGA, and The Titleist Performance Institute. I’m on the NIKE golf staff and I’m a TPI level II instructor, US Kids certified instructor as well as a PGA Hope Veteran program instructor and a GSGA adaptive golf instructor.
Stop Talking About It and DO IT!
See it, here it or do it! I will find the quickest way to communicate the fundamentals of the game. I use video analysis and send you images and notes for a better understanding. This means you get out on the course playing to your potential sooner!
What You Get…
Golf instruction that lets you understand the how, what and why about ball flight. Learn about the body swing connection and how YOU create the most efficient and effective swing for you. When we are done you will have practice drills and stretching tips to get you better quicker.