[Ultimate Guide] How To Golf in Cold Weather (Winter Golf)

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Playing Golf in The Cold is Not That Bad (I Promise).

As the temperatures start to slowly rise across the country you are going to have more chances to golf than you may think! If you are like me and your clubs have not have been used since November, you may be going crazy waiting, wanting to get them out again and go play. I have good news! If you follow this guide, you should be able to get out on the course a little faster than you thought.

Where I currently live, each week we are starting to have about one or two days with a high of 40 degrees. While this is a little abnormal for January – it did give me a chance to get out on the course and play 18 on a windy Friday afternoon. 

I was fortunate enough to receive a Clicgear Rovic Rv1s for Christmas and couldn’t take another day of it just sitting in my office. I headed out to a local course and was delighted to find that my green fees would only cost $9! I considered hitting a few shots on the driving range or on the putting green, but ultimately I just decided to get on the tee box and figure my game as I went. 

Stepping up to the first tee – I was knew that I had prepared for this and that while my swing was not going to be 100%, I did know that I would be able to get on well enough. Believe it or not a few weeks of preparation went into getting ready for the season, even if it was this early.

Pre-Course/ Preparation for Winter Golf

The first step to getting ready for the season for me was to start stretching to prepare my body for a swinging. If you have not purchased a foam roller – grab this from amazon ASAP. Stretch every day and roll your back, legs, and glutes out. Past stretching, you may want to also start going to the gym and focus on cardio. Your first round back is going to put more strain on you that you may think and getting your body use to some physical activity will help. Playing stiff is going to make it difficult to control the club when swinging and also increases the chance of injury. The day you decide to get back on the course, stretch your legs, hips, back and arms out – you will be glad you did!

What To Wear For Cold Weather Golf? - (Layer Your Clothing)

The key to playing golf in the cold or winter golf is to layer your clothing.

I’m going to say it again for those of you skimming: The key to playing golf in the cold or winter golf is to layer your clothing.

If you expect to go out and play with just a large coat you are going to be miserable. You may stay decently warm, but your swing is going to be awful and almost uncontrollable. Rather than wearing your largest coat, wear a few layers that will keep you warm while also not constraining your arms. 

Base Layer: This is a skin tight shirt that will trap the heat on your body. When you are looking for this type of shirt – look for some that have a partial turtle neck that can keep the heat from leaving your neck area. This should help keep your torso and neck warm (as a base). You can also look into buying long underwear that can also help keep your legs warm if you are especially sensitive to the cold.

Primary Layer: Your primary layer is going to be where you can “style” yourself the most. This layer should consist of a collared shirt (because we aren’t heathens), long pants (*we recommend Amazon’s golf pants, they hold heat very well for their price), and some warm socks.

Secondary Layer: Your secondary layer is going to be where you have to make decisions to optimize how warm you stay vs how free your swing is (Warmth vs Swing Freedom). For me personally, love vests. When I play, my base layer keeps my arms warm for the most part. The vest gives me enough freedom to swing freely, while still keeping my body warm overall. If you are not a fan of vest, you may want to look into a light water or wind proof jacket or a loose wind breaker. The point of this layer is to figure out what works for you. Wearing a tight sock hat will help keep you head warm. Keeping your head warm is vital to staying warm in these winter rounds.

Other Accessories: There are other accessories that you may want to look in to. Hand warmers can help keep your hands warm between shots. Winter golf gloves can also help with the wind. One of our favorite accessories is the Clicgear pushcart mitts – these lock onto your push cart and keep your hands warm between shots.

Walk Instead of Ride

I can not recommend this enough for winter golf. As you walk your body heat is going to rise. You will be warmer if you walk. Renting or investing in a quality push cart can also help keep the strain off of your back. This may sound somewhat crazy to new golfers who only like to ride – but, some golf coaches theorize that you play better when you walk. It allows you to have more time to think about your shots, study the landscape and will help you judge distances better. Most courses do not allow carts on the fairways during the winter to avoid any damage to the grass. Walking will most likely speed up your round as you will be able to walk directly to your ball on each shot, rather than having to walk to and from the cart that is on the cart path.

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Keep Your Hands Warm

Nothing will ruin your round more than frozen hands. Stop by the pro shop and grab some hot hands before your round if it feels especially cold that day. This was mentioned above, however, if you are walking – you may want to look into a pair of the Clicgear pushcart mitts – they are a game changer. Keeping your hands warm will help you keep better control over the club during your swing.

Use Golf Balls With Bright Colors

As someone who has awful eyes – I play colored balls year round. However, I have always found a stigma against playing a highlighter yellow golf ball. I can understand it is not as pleasant to look at as a white golf ball, however, they really are helpful when tracking. If you are playing late fall/early winter golf – this tip may be more helpful than you think. If I had a dollar for ever ball I lost under a leaf in November, I could probably buy a box of Pro V’s. In cold weather golf, you are playing against the course in much harsher conditions. Don’t let your scores suffer because you don’t want to play a yellow ball on a cloudy day. Another tip is to use softer compression balls to help get as much distance as you can out of your shot.

Myth: Keeping Your Golf Balls Warm Will Help In Cold Weather Golf

This may sound dumb (because it is), but there are some that believe if you are able to warm you golf ball between shots – you will play better. In theory this is true, however, when you are playing on the course – it just doesn’t play out. Personally, I avoid touching the golf ball between holes. I always put it in my push cart. It is cold enough, I don’t need a small ice pack making my hands colder.

Adjust Your Expectations About Cold Weather Golf

When you get out to play in the cold, make sure you are prepared to play a different style of golf. One important thing to know about golfing in the cold, your golf ball will not travel as far. The air is more dense in colder temperatures. You will need to club up! This fact paired with clothing that restricts your back swing and you may be looking at an entire club difference in your shots. Don’t be scared to grab another club or two when you are first out there – it may feel wrong, but the distance will be just right.

Golfing in the winter also warrent’s a few different rules that you can abide by. Personally, I do not count these rounds into my handicap – so, I don’t feel bad about adjusting a few rules. My buddies and I all agree on these:

  1. Lift, clean and place: Chances are the course you are playing on may not be in the best condition. If your ball winds up with a bunch of mud – feel free to mark it, clean and replace the ball on any shot.
  2. Play the ball up: If your ball ends up on a patch of dirt, feel free to move it onto a patch of grass. 
  3. Play from different tees: When I am playing in sub 50 degree weather – I always vary the tees I play. If you normally play the blue tees, play half of the holes from the next tees up. Remember the idea is to enjoy your round.

When Is It Too Cold To Play Golf?

While all of these tips may help you stay warmer or help your expectations for winter golf – they are not guaranteed to give you a fun, enjoyable round of golf. Some golfers subscribe to the “50 degree theory” – where they only will get out on the course if it is above 50 degrees. While some may hold their nose to this idea, it really has some validity. If you go out to golf in 42 degrees and freeze, you may walk away from the course discouraged and frustrated that your spent the time and money to golf. I encourage each golfer to have a cut off point or cut off temperature that you abide by. For me, I will go out on the course if the temperatures are above 40 degrees. I am able to get out and enjoy my time as well as stay warm enough to not freeze.

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