Golf can be tough enough at the best of times, but winter conditions can make the game even more challenging. If you are one those golf nuts who keep on playing – even with the winter greens – we’ve put together some top winter golf survival tips, to keep you on top of your game!
1. More club
Check your ego before you start! Your ball will not go as far in the cold. You might have to hit 1-2 clubs more (so, a 5 iron instead of a 7 iron) on every shot, but at least you’ll be sure to get to the hole. Because the ball doesn’t go as far, you might also want to consider playing one tee up from your normal length. A quick round will get you back to the fireplace a lot sooner.
2. Keep walking
If you can, then choose to walk rather than to use a buggy or cart. You will be surprised how much walking will warm up your body. You will also stay looser and your swing won’t suffer too much.
3. Two balls
Cold golf balls don’t fly as far as warm balls, so use two balls. Use each ball on alternate holes, keeping the other in your pocket to keep them as warm as possible. As long as you do not artificially heat the balls during the round you are within the rules.
4. Proper clothing
You’re going to need your essential winter golf gear! We advise you to wear multiple layers. It’s up to you what you like to wear, but consider wearing a (long sleeve) thermal t-shirt, thermal underwear, a sweater and a light-weight windbreaker. And, don’t forget a good winter hat (we generally lose 15% – 25% of our body heat through our head). Don’t wear too much though, you don’t want your swing to suffer.
5. Softer balls
Some golf balls are softer than other golf balls and in cold weather you will want a ball that is easier to compress. A hard rock ball (like a Top Flite XL) will feel like a steel ball on a cold day, so go for a softer option.
6. Warm hands
Invest in some proper winter gloves. Not normal gloves, they should be suited for golf. Keeping your hands warm and dry while keeping a good grip is crucial!
7. Stay hydrated
Many people will substitute water and energy drinks with coffee and hot chocolate when it’s cold, and their game suffers. Your body needs nutrients and hydration especially when it’s cold, and coffee just doesn’t cut it. Have your hot chocolate, but don’t forget to drink water (or an energy drink) every hole to stay properly hydrated.
8. Yellow balls
Not so long ago, yellow balls were the preserve of driving ranges and rock-hard budget balls. But now brands like Titleist, Srixon and Bridgestone offer some of their premium balls in yellow as well. Yellow balls are easier to spot among leaves or frost as yellow is actually the most visible colour in the spectrum.
9. Smart spotting
The sun is often quite low during the winter and following the flight of your ball can be tricky. Track your ball from the moment it takes off until just before it reaches the heart of the sun. Instead of continuing to follow it – and losing it – turn your attention to the spot where you think it will land; you’ll soon see it come into view.
10. Winter rules
It’s good to know what to do during winter time and when local rules apply, like:
- preferred lies: this is a local rule, the club determines how far the player is allowed to prefer the lie.
- embedded ball: local rule, check if relief also applies to the rough.
- cleaning the ball: local rule, it allows you to lift your ball and clean it before playing your next shot.
- casual water: local rule, this entitles you to free relief if water is visible under your feet or the ball when you make your normal stance.
We hope you like these tips and enjoy your round of golf. The main advantages of playing during the winter are empty fairways (so nobody will be pushing you) and the fact that you will be in shape when the season starts! And if you $#@%^ winter greens like me, then just go to Leadingcourses.com and book a golf trip to some warmer countries!
PS: these tips have been gathered by surfing the web, by talking to pros and most importantly from our own experience!
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