I find that golf can be pretty difficult at the best of times, but winter conditions can make golf even more challenging, so here are some tips from National Club Golfer to keep you on top of your game throughout the next few months.
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.
2 Keep walking
If you can, then choose to walk rather than to use a buggy. You will be surprised how much walking will warm up your body. You will also stay looser and your swing won’t suffer that much. If possible, for the good of the course, carry your clubs.
3 Keep your golf balls warm
Cold golf balls don’t fly as far as warm balls, so place two balls on the radiator to warm them up before you leave the house. Then pop them into your pocket and 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
Wear multiple layers. It’s up to you what you wear but if it’s chilly I always pop on a long sleeved thermal t-shirt. Gone are the days when you had to pile on 14 jumpers to keep out the cold – with today’s hi-tech outer layers, mid-layers and inner-layers all doing their job! Scientists tell us that we lose 55-60% of our body heat through our head, therefore it’s vital to have a woolly hat to keep your head (and your ears) as warm as toast.
5 Warm hands
Invest in some proper winter gloves, available from any good golf shop. You need gloves that will keep your hands warm and dry while giving you a good grip is crucial. You should also invest in a pair of mittens to keep your hands warm in-between shots if the temperature drops very low.
6 Stay hydrated
Many people will substitute water and energy drinks with coffee or 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 regularly to stay properly hydrated.
7 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 because yellow is the most visible colour in the spectrum.
8 Smart spotting
The sun is often quite low during the winter. 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.
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 new season starts!