Winter golf: 8 tips for embracing your inner-golf sicko when it’s cold

Golfable days in parts of the country during the winter are few and far between. Here are eight tips to take advantage when they come around.

The post Winter golf: 8 tips for embracing your inner-golf sicko when it’s cold appeared first on Golf.

Golfable days in parts of the country during the winter are few and far between. Here are eight tips to take advantage when they come around.

The post Winter golf: 8 tips for embracing your inner-golf sicko when it’s cold appeared first on Golf.

This time of year, in much of the northern United States, days when it’s “golfable” outside are too few and far between.

It’s cold, dreary, windy, snowy, wet in some places and, perhaps worst of all, it gets dark early.

There is relief, of course, from the raw, dark and grey abyss that is winter. If we’re lucky, we can do as the birds do and head south for colder times, whether it be a weekend, a week, a month or three.

In the past 15 years, new technologies have allowed us to play golf indoors up north, too, either in a simulator or even full indoor short-game areas.

But, while we have all these options, nothing beats those once-in-a-while days when it’s so nice that you drop everything to make sure you get out to the golf course, tee time or not, clubs in hand. It’s the true sign of complete golf sickos. If it was May, you might pass on playing golf, but this is January. This weather will do.

As someone who tries to take advantage of every day above 45 degrees to play golf, here are some of my best tips for making the most of your winter golf round.

8 tips for winter golf

1. Look ahead and clear your schedule: This isn’t always the easiest thing to do. So if you don’t set aside time in advance, consider calling your boss (“*cough* *cough* I’m sick”) and freeing up your afternoon.

I’m sort of joking, but in all seriousness, be as proactive as possible. Check the weather forecast and if it looks like the weather could be good enough one day, do what you can to free up a couple hours for at least nine holes. Until we spring forward into Daylight Saving Time, it gets dark much too early to play golf after your 9 to 5.

2. Set some minimums for conditions: Not all nice winter days are created equal. My absolute minimums are a clear day, less than 5 mph of wind and of 37 degrees Fahrenheit. IF the high is 39, you better check the hourly forecast to see how long that’s for.

Of course, I’ll play if it’s a little warmer and cloudier and maybe allow for some wind as long as it’s above 50 degrees, but setting a minimum allows you to figure out what you’re comfortable with and not risk going out and being miserable.

3. Don’t forget your clubs: I keep my clubs in my car year-round. Is that the best solution? No (our gear guys might have something to say about this) but I don’t feel like lugging them in and out of my apartment every day I play. Anyway, even those of us who keep our clubs in our trunks would be forgiven for taking them out during the winter. After all, we’re not playing as much golf. Just remember, when good weather strikes, get ’em back in position so you don’t have to make the “drive of shame” back from the course to go get your sticks.

4. Walk, don’t ride: I walk most of the time anyway, but if you think riding a cart might be more comfortable when it’s cooler, think again. Riding a cart only blows cold air right at you. Walking will keep you warmer simply because you’re moving your body.

Your course’s superintendent will also thank you for walking as carts can do some damage to courses given the typical soft (or frosty) conditions of winter.

5. Layers, layers, layers: I run pretty hot, so I’m used to playing in just one sweatshirt once we hit about 48 degrees. That said, many times during the winter, those high temperatures are only at those high marks for maybe an hour or two tops. You want to dress in a way that allows you to take off and put layers as needed. You want to avoid wearing two layers, and then trying to take the underlayer off and put the top layer back on, that’s just annoying.

Check out the quilted full zip jacket below from Puma for something that will keep you warm, but is easy to take off and stow as well.

Puma Frost Quilted Golf Jacket

Designed with the elements in mind, the Frosted Quilted Jacket is ready to protect you from the cold in style.

6. The most important layer: Depending on how cold you want to throw on your rainpants. Even though you probably won’t be playing in the rain during the winter (because that really is torture) rain pants are way underrated for keeping you warm. Your legs and lower body dispel a lot more of your body heat than your realize, but having a repellent nylon layer over your pants will really be a difference-maker from a product you use year-round anyway. Footjoy’s HydroLite X rainpants should do the trick.

7. Waterproof shoes are a must: In the Northeast and Northwest for sure, most of the time in the winter, if the course is open, it’s going to be wet. Remember when I said to make sure your clubs make it back into your car before you play? That goes double for your golf shoes and they MUST be waterproof. My go-to Ecco’s BIOM H4 shoes as they feature 100% GORE-TEX waterproof protection and is guaranteed to be waterproof for the lifespan of the product.

Men’s BIOM H4 Shoe (Erik Van Rooyen Edition)

Sleeker, sportier and more youthful, the upgraded ECCO MEN’S GOLF BIOM H4 SHOE offers fresh, minimalist style that perfectly matches the innovative comfort and performance.

If you forget your clubs, it might be easy to find a spare set or rentals at the course. If you forget your shoes and head out in regular sneakers, you’re asking for a miserable day.

8. Figure out how to maximize carry: Remember how we said it’s going to be wet out there? Well, that means the ball won’t roll either. Hopefully, you have your driver set up to optimize your total distance and roll. During the winter, feel free to add a little bit of loft to your big stick and maximize your carry distance, you’re going to need it.

9. Forget all expectations: Unless you live in Puerto Rico or one of the 16 states that have a year-round USGA handicap posting season — and if you do, it’s impressive that you made it this far in this article — you can’t post your score to your handicap. Take that as an opportunity to completely forget about your score and just have fun.

As a bonus, since your scores don’t matter, it also doesn’t matter what tees you play. This is something I realized only this year. But feel free to make em up as you go — as long as you stick to tees that are actually open for play. Shorten up that into the wind par-4. Go off the back deck on that short par-3. You might discover a whole new course that you never knew was there.

The post Winter golf: 8 tips for embracing your inner-golf sicko when it’s cold appeared first on Golf.