MEMORIES of those long balmy summer days are fast fading. The clocks will soon be going back and, before we know where we are, it will be dark by 4pm. There will be frost on the ground, it will rain (a lot) and some of you will choose to put your clubs away until it starts to get warmer again. But for many of us, golf is a game to be played all year around. So are you ready for the winter and all the challenges it will bring? Here, we present 12 tips that should help to make the game a little easier over the coming weeks and months.
Are your golf shoes up to the job? There is nothing worse than realising that water is seeping through, so go out and buy a pair of decent shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry. If your existing shoes are still fit for purpose, check that the spikes are still okay because a combination of ice and mud will mean that you want to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Losing your balance and ending up on your back is never a good look – and somebody is bound to have a camera phone.
Don’t cut corners by buying cheap waterproofs. If you pay £25 then you are going to get wet. Very wet. Here’s the thing with a decent set of waterproofs – not only will they keep you dry, but they will also keep the cold out. Win, win.
Proper Woollen hat
You may look ridiculous, but who cares? Looking ridiculous on the golf course is the law, after all. Wearing a baseball cap or a sun visor on a freezing cold winter’s day is a pretty pointless exercise. So get yourself a proper woollen hat that covers your ears. You are shopping for something that resembles a tea cosy.
You will be playing a lot of golf in wet and muddy conditions. That means the grooves on your irons will quickly fill up with dirt. Wiping your clubs with a towel will remove some of it but to do the job properly you should buy a groove cleaner and use it regularly.
Lightweight Carry Bag
And why would you need a lightweight bag? Almost all of us have turned up at golf courses during the winer, only to be informed that there is a trolley ban. So you have some options – you climb back into your car and head for home; you lug your heavy bag around 18 holes; or you buy a lightweight bag with a stand that takes the pain out of carrying your equipment.
Golfers of a certain age will recall the days when you had to wear 17 jumpers, three pairs of socks, five pairs of trousers, long johns and 25 pairs of pants to keep the cold out. Happily, those days are gone. Buy yourself some thermals. They are lightweight, unobtrusive and they will keep you warm. It is a no-brainer.
Get some mittens. They may not look great. In fact, let’s be honest, they don’t look great. They look awful. But they will keep your hands dry and warm, and you can take them off when you come to play a shot – just don’t put them on the wet ground.
If your feet are cold you are going to have a thoroughly miserable time of it. Thermal socks are the answer.
We spend lots of money on golf balls, clubs and suchlike. For some unfathomable reason, countless numbers of weekend golfers seem to think that it never rains on the golf course. We have all played with there guys who, when it starts tipping down, have no brolly. We have also played with guys who produce a brolly that, upon the first gentle breath of wind, immediately blows inside out and they have to dump it in the first available waste-basket. Why, oh why? Technology has come a long way. Buy a proper umbrella. PLEASE!
Almost all of us have a towel hanging from our golf bags. Here’s a bit of advice – during the winter, on a wild and wet day, if you leave your towel hanging outside your bag it is going to get wet. Very wet. And become utterly useless. Start your round with a dry towel – and tuck it inside your bag.
Learn how to pick the ball off the frozen ground with an iron without taking a divot. Trust me, this is a shot that you really need to master if you are planning to play golf during the winter. Trying to take a divot when the ground if frozen is NOT to be recommended!
It’s winter and, with the best will in the world, you are going to be putting a filthy trolley and a mud-covered golf bag into the boot of your car. Get hold of an old blanket (for goodness sake check with your other half first) and lay it on the floor of your boot. Hey presto! No filth on your car-boot surface.