The winter months could be regarded as the best time of the year to get out on the course, purely because the course will be empty and you and your friends can enjoy a round at your own pace.
Furthermore, the courses tend to be shortened with temporary tees and greens in play throughout the cold period.
You will need more than cold weather, frozen surfaces and shorter courses to stop the dedicated golfer heading out for a round in the winter, so here are 10 winter golf tips for those who want to keep their swing in check during this period.
Warm up and stay warm
Sound obvious? Well it is. But there are plenty of golfers who do not warm up before a round of golf during the winter months, despite your body arguably being even stiffer than before a round in the summer.
Once you have warmed up, make sure you have enough layers on to keep warm while also being able to complete a swing. Woolly hats and gloves, possibly with hand-warmers inside, are a must during this time of year.
There is nothing worse than thinning a shot with freezing cold hands. As you feel the vibrations make their way up the shaft, warm hands will make sure the pain isn’t quite as insufferable.
Add loft to your driver
Often you will turn up to the course in the winter and the ground will be soft, maybe even boggy, under foot, which is why it may be a good idea to add loft to your driver. This is simple because your ball will not roll as much in wet conditions, so you need to fly the ball as far as possible.
Hit your putts a bit harder
If your course doesn’t play on normal greens during the off season, then you may find yourself playing on surfaces cut 20-yards short of the green on the fairway, over ridges, with holes the size of buckets.
But how many times do you see your friends lining up a putt on a surface that is quite frankly unpredictable and inconsistent? The best way to putt on wet winter greens is to just hit it hard and straight at the hole, avoiding all break and making sure you get the ball to the hole. The hole is massive you really can’t miss!
Prefer the ball
There is no point playing it as it lies in the winter. For the most part, fairways and rough aren’t cut as short as they are in the summer so you will find your ball nestled down on the surface more often than not. Just move your ball to a nice piece of grass, and enjoy your round. This is winter golf, not The Masters.
Also, make sure you clean your ball between shots. Mud on the ball will cause it to spin differently and be weighted unevenly. By cleaning the ball, you will get better feedback and the only excuse you can have for a bad shot is a the poor swing you put on it.
Play bump and run shots around the green
This may sound strange, especially as the one of the previous tips is to hit the ball high with your driver. But, around the greens it is safe to play a less lofted club as oppose to trying to lift a sand wedge, especially if the ground is wet.
The extra bounce will help you avoid chunking it. If you play these shots with a wedge, you may find the club getting caught in the wet ground and therefore causing you to duff your shot.
Try a golf simulator
Who says winter golf has to be played outside? With many golf clubs and driving ranges now featuring state-of-the-art golf simulators, it may be a good idea to try one of these during the cold spell.
Yes, you may have to pay to use it, but you will most certainly be warm while you play your round and you can play some of the best courses in the world including Pebble Beach and the Old Course at St Andrews.
Keep your stats
This may sound strange for some, as it is almost a given that you will score better during the winter because the courses are shorter and the holes tend to be bigger. But your swing doesn’t change an awful lot in the winter does it? By recording your stats, you will be able to see where your bad shot is and then work on that at the range, and ultimately correct it in time for the new season.
Know your winter distances
If you think the best chance you may have of winning a tournament is during the winter, then it may be a good idea to learn your winter distances. You will find that in colder weather the ball will not fly as far, and the wet ground effectively stops your ball from rolling at all.
Follow your ball into the sun
With the sun lower in the sky during the winter, you can easily, and quite often, lose track of your ball in the sun. The best way to combat this is by following your ball from the moment it takes off until just before it reaches the heart of the sun. Please don’t stand and stare directly into the sun, because you’ll lose complete track of your ball and potentially damage your sight. Instead, look to the spot where you think it will land and more often than not it will come into view.
The winter period is the perfect time to take up golf lessons because it means you can make big changes, without having to worry about a competition that may be coming up at the weekend. You often get great value for money in winter golf programmes and your game will no doubt benefit come the start of the season.
These are just a few tips to help you enjoy golf during the winter months. What do you do during the coldest part of the year to get your golfing fix?