15 Tips For Playing Golf In The Winter

15 Tips For Playing Golf In The Winter

 

Winter is coming! You don’t have to worry about White Walkers but you will need to deal with changing conditions at your local golf course.

We know that some golfers leave their clubs in the garage during the winter, but we don’t think this is the right answer. You must keep your game sharp during the “offseason”.

Don’t let the cold weather force you to cancel your tee time. Even if you don’t live in Florida we believe the golf season can be year round. We can help - before you head to the first tee in winter weather check out our tips for enjoying golf as the seasons change. Winter golf is different but can be just as rewarding as playing in the middle of the summer.

How To Play Winter Golf: 15 Tips

1. Walk The Course

Riding in a golf cart during the winter months can be brutal. The last thing you need on a cool day is the brisk wind when you are riding down the cart path. Walking the course will get your heart rate up and raise your body temperature.

man walking and carrying a lightweight golf bag

Get a comfortable pair of golf shoes and a lightweight golf bag. To enjoy winter golf you do need the right golf equipment and a walking stand bag is important. We haven’t even mentioned the best thing about walking when you play. You will get some exercise while playing the game you love. Michael Scott would call this a “win-win”.

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2. Dress Appropriately

If you want to enjoy your round of golf in the winter, you need to bring the correct apparel. Always dress in layers (thermals are great) - this will give you flexibility if the conditions change during your round. Don’t forget your warm socks - cold feet can quickly ruin your day.

Titleist makes great golf mittens and they have a slot for your hand warmers - keep your fingers nice and toasty. Always have a beanie in your bag to protect your ears - a regular golf hat may not cut it in December. You may want to consider getting a pair of winter golf gloves - they are designed to be worn throughout your round.

If you dress appropriately, you can play your best golf in the winter months.

3. Use A Waterproof Bag

You don’t have to be a meteorologist to know that you will deal with more moisture when playing winter golf. Even if it doesn’t rain or sleet, you will need to protect your golf clubs from dew and/or frost. Don’t get caught on the course without a waterproof golf bag and a protective rain hood.

Of all of the winter golf tips we will provide, having the correct equipment is the most critical.

4. Adjust Your Driver

Most modern drivers allow you to adjust the loft and lie, but far too many golfers never take advantage of this feature. We would recommend you consider your driver settings before every round, but it's especially important in the winter.

What factors should you consider? How wet are the fairways and do you expect to get much roll? In the summer, you want a lower ball flight that will release when it lands, but in the winter most courses will be soft. Add a degree of loft to your driver so you can maintain your distance off the tee.

5. Strategize & Plan Out Your Clubs

The rules of golf allow you to carry 14 clubs, but which 14 you bring to the course is 100% your decision. Golf course layouts and conditions should dictate your selections. Your golf ball doesn’t travel as far in cold weather, so this might change your club selections. A great example is a hybrid versus a long iron. We would always recommend a hybrid when you are playing winter golf.

6. Switch Golf Balls

Not all golf balls are the same. There are different covers and different compressions. There are high-spin golf balls and low-spin golf balls. The best ball for you in the heat of the summer is not the best ball for you during a chilly day in the winter.

During the winter months, you should switch to a firmer golf ball that spins less. Winter golf will typically include more wind and you don’t want your golf ball spinning up into a cold breeze.

7. Take More Than One Towel

Dirt, mud, moisture, and sand will impact the performance of your golf clubs and golf balls. This is true year-round, but you will encounter more mud and moisture in the winter. Don’t get stuck on the back 9 with no way to clean your golf equipment - always bring extra golf towels for a winter round of golf.

golf towel hanging from a golf bag

 

A prepared golfer will be a better winter golfer.

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8. Keep Your Soles Clean

This wasn’t a problem back in the 80s & 90s when everyone used metal spikes, but slipping during your swing can be a real issue with “soft spike” golf shoes. As we have talked about above, winter golf comes with additional moisture (dew, mud, frost) and you will need to keep the soles of your golf shoes clean.

Are you wondering how to keep them clean? Take a look back at #7 - this is why you need to always bring more than one golf towel!

9. Book A Winter Golf Trip

Does this all sound like too much work? Maybe you want to go someplace to warm up? No problem - reach out to a few of your golf buddies and book a trip to one of your favorite golf destinations. Do some research and find a place with a warmer climate and great golf courses.

two guys walking with their golf bags

 

A good rule of thumb is to head south. You could try Florida, Texas, or Pinehurst, NC. When you get tired of frost delays, a winter golf trip can be the perfect solution.

10. Keep Swinging

You have been working on your golf swing all summer and you are finally starting to see your scores go down. You don’t want to lose all of your progress simply because the weather turns cold. Find a place to continue working on your swing.

It might be too cold to play 18 holes, but you could visit a heated driving range. If that isn’t an option, look for an indoor golf simulator. Where there is a will, there’s a way!

11. Try Different Shots

Your short game may need to change a little during winter golf. The shots you hit on firm and fast greens in the summer will not work on the slow and soft greens in the winter. Try different shots and use different clubs when chipping in December.

It depends on the course conditions, but it is typically better to fly the ball farther onto the green during the winter season. Practice these shots on the putting green before you break them out during a round.

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12. Sharpen Your Mental Game

Arnold Palmer is credited with saying, “Golf is a game of inches. The most important are the six inches between your ears.”. Playing golf is a mental challenge that only gets more difficult when faced with winter conditions.

The golf course will not be in pristine shape and you will have to deal with wind. To be successful, you will need to be patient and learn to deal with bad breaks. Learn to grind out a score in the winter and summer golf will seem easy.

13. Practice Indoors

We get it - you can’t play golf with 6 inches of snow on the ground. There will be some days in the winter when playing golf outside simply isn’t possible. That’s fine - you can practice indoors. You call roll putts on your carpet and do speed training in your living room. The other option is to put a golf simulator in your basement or garage.

You can’t get to the golf course? Bring the golf course to you! All of a sudden, you will be the popular person in your weekend foursome.

14. Play Winter Golf Rules

The golf courses you play in the winter won’t be in perfect shape, so you shouldn’t have to use the same rules as the PGA tour. On the first tee, agree within your foursome to play winter rules. This simply means that you can improve your lie (lift, clean, & place) throughout the golf course.

The official rules of golf say that you can never improve your lie, but most amateur players typically do in the fairway. If you play winter rules, you can do it in the fairway, the rough, and in sand traps.

15. Socialize And Have Fun

This is true for all golf, but especially winter golf. Don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy your chance to get outside, to get fresh air, and to hang out with your buddies. Who cares what you shoot on a cold day in January?

Make some swings, try to roll in some putts, and enjoy a few laughs. Winter golf isn’t supposed to be perfect, so just be happy you get to be on the golf course.

Embrace Winter Golf

Winter golf is different. Your expectations when you arrive at the course should be different as well. Winter golf requires you to prepare more - always take 15 minutes before you leave the house to make sure you have everything you will need to enjoy your day.

Do you know the best thing about winter golf? Spring golf is right around the corner!

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