Playing Golf in Cold Weather

As the temperatures continue to plummet, many golfers are hanging up their golf bags until the spring. There are a lot of advantages to golfing in the winter months. First, you won’t have to contend with the biting midges and mosquitoes that can frequent some of the summer courses.

Secondly, there are events for dedicated winter golfers that you can attend and meet some fellow diehards. Events like the Eskimo Open at Cog Hill are designed to take advantage of the cold temperatures of the winter. Cold weather golf is definitely best played with likeminded individuals.

Thirdly, the long lines and crowdedness that can happen at your favorite golf course simply won’t happen in the later months, so you can really work on your game. People don’t want to deal with the colder weather, meaning that you’ll pretty much have the run of the course.

If you have a hard time with stopping your golf game due to something as trivial as cold weather, then let’s take a look at what you can do about still playing your favorite game, even when the weather outside is frightful.

Dress Warmly

Our number one golf tip of the day is to be smart out there and wear whatever you need to stay warm. Don’t quite know what to wear in cold weather? Well, a good place to start is to purchase winter golf apparel that will keep you warm on those winter-friendly courses. As a general rule, if you aren’t wearing specialized golf apparel for winter, just make sure that you have at least a few extra layers on; thermal clothing is amazing for the course. Here are some examples of excellent winter golf apparel:

  • Cold weather golf gloves
  • Cold weather golf pants
  • Long johns
  • Earmuffs
  • Thermal headbands
  • Insulated golf socks

Warm Up the Old-Fashioned Way

Cold weather quotes from meteorologists and farmer’s almanacs across the country are stating that we won’t have as relatively mild of a winter as last year’s. This is because that year had the good side of the polar vortex, so during this year’s much colder winter, you can stay warm the old fashioned way.

Simply put, you can bring an adult beverage to the course. Alcohol will greatly increase your body temperature so that you’ll barely notice that you’re playing cold weather golf. Just remember, some golf courses and clubs out there frown on drinking alcohol, especially to excess, on their course, so if you are going to use a drink to stay warm on these courses, limit it to hot chocolate.

Use Hand Warmers

These are cheap, items that you can use to quickly warm up your hands and your armpits when you’re playing golf. Many of these have to be heated in a microwave or in hot water, which doesn’t actually work so well for the course. The types that you should consider are the type that heats through a chemical reaction. Simply apply pressure and you’ll have a reusable source of heat that’ll help you stay cold on the course.

Use the Right Equipment

Use the Right Equipment

One of the best cold weather golf tips is to ensure that you’re using the right equipment. Simply put, when the weather is nice and pleasant your body tends to be much more limber and loose. As a result, your swings will have much more power because your muscles aren’t as tight.

On the other hand, in the winter, your muscles are naturally tighter because they are trying to conserve body warmth. As a result of this, you’ll find that your swing will send the ball a far shorter distance when you are playing in the cold.

To counteract this change in your swing, you are going to have to utilize different gear in the winter than you would use in the summer or spring. Remember, a golf ball will lose about two yards of range per every ten degrees that the weather dips. This means that your game will simply have to change when the weather dips and changing up your equipment will also be very beneficial.

Let’s take a quick look at the equipment changes that you should consider when playing cold-weather golf:

  • Use lady’s golf balls instead of regular ones in the low temperatures – When you’re playing in colder temperatures, balls with extra compression will compress even more. This will cause them to become denser and fly farther. To counteract this, you can use golf balls for women, which tend to be low compression golf balls. As a result, you may see a better drive distance during your game.
  • Change up your club – In the colder weather, it’s a generally good practice to club up. If you are used to using an eight iron for example, then you might want to consider using a seven instead. As a matter of fact, some golfers like to use a four iron or a utility or rescue club when the temperature drops.
  • Purchase low compression golf balls in general – There are some specific golf balls that are designed for winter play, which have a lower amount of compression than standard balls. You’ll definitely notice how much better they are than standard golf balls that have gotten cold due to the weather. Companies like Titleist and Taylormade both have dual core golf balls that seem to work well in frigid weather conditions. Each of these types of golf balls will provide excellent control and spin.
  • Use a golf ball warmer – As you might have guessed by now, the warmer a golf ball is, the further it’ll fly. This means that if you can keep the temperature of your golf ball at a fairly warm point, then adverse cold weather won’t affect its flight as much. Golf ball warmers are a bit controversial during a game, but the USGA has stated that you can modify golf equipment prior to a round of golf. Once the game has begun, you can no longer use a golf ball warmer. As a result of this, your early holes will fly better than the later ones.
  • Keep your golf ball warm in other ways – Golf ball warmers can take up to an hour to warm a golf ball to the point where you can use it. On top of this, the USGA bans their use during a game. If a dedicated warmer is off the table, you can also use your own body heat to warm up your golf balls. Simply place them in your pocket when they aren’t being used; you’ll be amazed how effective this technique is for the performance of your swings.
  • Buy golf balls with a splash of color – While many serious golf players consider golf balls with a bit of color to be for the miniature golf course, using them in the winter makes sense. During the winter months, colors tend to become much more washed out so that finding your golf ball can be difficult. This situation gets even worse when there’s snow on the ground. With this in mind, brightly colored balls will be visible in almost any circumstance. In fact, a brightly colored golf ball may even be one of the best possible pieces of cold weather golf gear that you’ll find.

Pick a Winter-Friendly Venue for Golf

Frankly put, not every course or club is even going to be open during the colder winter months. With this said, if you want to stay at the top of your golf game, you really should keep up your practice in these wintry months. With this in mind, find a winter-friendly golf course or shooting range where you can keep your golf skills sharp.

Don’t Expect a Perfect Game in the Winter

Don’t Expect a Perfect Game in the Winter

As you may already suspect, your game is simply not going to be as good in the winter months. There are simply too many factors working against you like reduced range and bounce on your golf ball, tighter muscles, and bulkier clothes that hinder movement.

The bottom line is that your scoring average is definitely going to take a notable dip in late-December to mid-February. That being said, you love golf and using the less populous winter to bone up on your overall game is admirable and honestly, a good strategy.

Don’t Use a Golf Cart in the Winter

This might seem counterintuitive, but using a golf cart is only going to make golfing in wintry courses more difficult on you. Remember, one of the best ways to stay warm is to exercise, so carrying your golf bag from hole to hole will keep you much toastier than if you rode everywhere.

Additionally, your cold weather golf gear, which is insulated, will help your retain more of your body warmth, especially when you are moving around. There’s also an added bonus: since you lose a bit of limberness to the cold, walking a bit will return some of your flexibility between holes.

Stay Hydrated

If you’re going to be exerting yourself on the golf course, it’s absolutely imperative that you try your best to stay hydrated, especially as the temperature dips to the sub 30 degrees Fahrenheit range. If you start to get dehydrated, not only will you start to feel colder, but you can start to have health issues. If you’re trying to use an adult beverage to stay warm, it’s doubly imperative for you to drink water as well.

Take Winter Golfing Vacations

When all else fails, you can always start playing golf in an optimal way again; just take a vacation where you can work on your swing. There are a plethora of golf courses in tropical locations around the world, and even if you can’t necessarily find one that has perfect weather, even rainier places are still great for a game of golf.

Wrapping It Up

True golf enthusiasts will play all year. If this perfectly describes you, then remember to bundle up, bring the right golfing equipment, and stay as warm as possible. Golfing during the cold months isn’t the easiest, but with the right preparation, you’ll be amazed at the fun you can have. You can even meet other serious golfers during this off-peak season.