© Copyright Golf Guide 2017
How to play golf in winter
Pro-golfers can adjust their game to any playing ground. If you don’t want to lose your skills over winter, keep honing your technique by following a few basic winter golf rules.
The best part of playing golf during winter is the emptier courses and the chance to put your expertise to the test. To help you handle frosty grounds and low temperatures, check out our tips for playing golf in winter and set yourself a fresh challenge.
Low sun glare
Keeping a track on your ball as it soars through the air with a low-lying sun is difficult. However, there is a trick. 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 that 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.
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.
Broaden your tee-off stance
Unsteady footing means poorer accuracy. Widen the distance between both of your feet before each swing so that your weight is spread more evenly. This way, you should feel more secure as you rotate with each swing, which should give you a cleaner shot.
Walk the course
Ditch the golf buggy and walk around the course in winter. This will loosen your muscles and help you feel more flexible to improve your swing on chilly days.
A decent golf umbrella is essential if you want to be in with a chance of lasting a full round of golf during cold, rainy days. 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.
Changing your strategy
A golf ball will travel slower if it travels through cold air compared to warm air. Because cold air is denser, each shot of the ball in winter has to contend with more drag force, which will give you a slightly higher and shorter trajectory. 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. Also, don’t feel bad if you add a couple of strokes onto the par of the course for every nine — even pro golfers wouldn’t shoot under their handicaps when the green surface is poor.
Letting your hands get cold is a rookie mistake in wintertime golf. Hands and feet are the first parts of the bodies to get cold, which diminishes flexibility and movement. So, 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.
Coloured golf balls
Dull days means poorer visibility, which is a problem when you need to find a far-travelling golf ball on a large course. 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.
If you’re going to be out in the open for hours, you need to be able to maintain your core body temperature and ensure god circulation. 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.
Anticipate a different run of the golf ball
Hitting a golf ball on damp ground means the run will be shorter, which can significantly affect your score in golf. 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.
Take a flask of coffee, green tea or even warmed coconut milk to keep you alert, warm and energised on the cold course. Warm fluids help keep your metabolism going and keep your core body temperature stable, which is vital when you’re out in the open in cold weather.
Follow this sound advice, and you’ll be a winter pro on the course.