Cold trickling down in the winter isn’t a very friendly picture for golfers. The wet conditions make it very hard to play.
Are you one of those golfers who get scared playing in the brutal winter cold weather?
Don’t worry! You are NOT ALONE. Even avid golfers find it difficult. But that’s the FUN in it. Playing in the wet and cold can even IMPROVE YOUR PLAY.
Read more to get some tips and tricks to playing in wet conditions.
Is Winter Golf Any Different?
A round of golf is already complicated. It can be very hard to learn. It’s not a cheap sport either. It requires investment, attention, and a LOT of patience.
How about in the winter?
Once the temperature dips down, golf can become a whole different game.
Cold air is MUCH DENSER than warm air, so the play will not be the same. The way you handle your clubs and balls will not be the same.
The key to getting interested in this new environment is always ready to adjust.
Difference in Play
If you listen to what PGA Pro golfers have to share, the winter months give your ball significant ADDITIONAL DRAG.
THAT SMALL FACTOR CHANGES A LOT. Your gameplay, strategies, expectations, and even your predictions will change.
Rule of thumb: For every 10-degree dip in temperature, there will be a one-yard difference of carrying.
Aside from that extra drag on your ball, your swing probably won’t be the same as well. To stay warm on the field, you’ll probably have to wear thicker clothes.
The winter will force you to put on extra layers on your regular golf pants and tops. These extra layers, plus some hand warmers, can restrict your swing.
No need to worry, though!
You can always compensate for the movement restriction with some winter golf hacks.
It may be shocking to those new to golf. But, there are rules we can adapt when playing winter golf.
These rules also apply to regular gameplay but are more appreciated during the wet seasons.
We all know playing golf in colder conditions makes it more difficult. Temporary new rules only seem fair. Golf winter rules help out many golfers in this bad weather.
Since the golf course is cold and wet, your golf balls are more likely to be in muddy areas. Trust me; it will.
With the temporary rules, you can LIFT, CLEAN, AND PLACE your ball within SIX INCHES of your ball’s original drop. It’s a great rule! It’s fair compensation for a difference in your play.
However, this temporary rule only applies to closely-mown areas through the green. These are areas of the course that are cut to fairway height.
Just a reminder, though!
You must mark your ball’s original position before lifting and moving it. If you fail to mark it, you will still incur a penalty.
Again, fail to mark = get a penalty.
The principle of this rule is the easiest to understand.
Imagine a rainy day. The field is wet, and puddles are everywhere. You are bound to get the ball on a puddle or have your feet on some casual water in your play.
What happens then?
If you get into this situation, you’ll be allowed to move your ball to the closest point of relief. Of course, this is assuming you do it right.
The closest point of relief should not be closer to the hole, and you must mark the ball with a tee before moving it.
Once that’s done, you can proceed to the normal lift, clean, and place.
Embedded Ball Rule
Unlike the previous rule, the embedded ball rule is present year-round.
But, it is VERY RELEVANT in the winter.
During the wet season, you’ll probably find your golf ball plugged into the turf. That’s just how it is. The embedded ball rule lets you get free relief anywhere in the general area.
How is this done?
When your ball plugs in the rough, you place a tee peg on the course as you place your preferred lies. Once that’s out of the way, you mark out one club length and drop within that space.
Note: This rule does not apply in bunkers. It also does not apply to penalty areas and the putting green.
Tips and Tricks to Ace Winter Golf
Many people think that the cold weather means it’s off-season for golf. We understand.
The wind makes your shots poorer because the rain removes some spin-off of your ball. Your golf balls will be slower through their flight as well. It’s very hard to predict your shots.
Plus, the cold makes it so hard to stay warm on the field. It’s hard to enjoy when the cold is bogging you down.
But, IT DOES NOT HAVE TO!
The game of golf is very versatile. The wintertime can make it even more interesting. One has to learn to adjust to a different condition of play.
With a few tips to help you, you’ll be comfortable playing winter golf in no time.
Tip 1: Know the Conditions Well
We think that this is a VERY UNDERUSED tip.
Before you can even begin to improve anything in your play, you first must understand what’s different.
If you want to attempt to play winter golf, know the effects of the winter rounds on the playing field. Here are some questions you should be able to answer:
- How does the weather affect the balls? Its flight?
- How does the season affect your use of your clubs?
- Will the cold conditions affect you as the player?
- What factors can you control?
- What conditions are uncontrollable and must be addressed?
Once you’re well informed on the unique features of winter golf, you can begin to ADJUST the way you play golf!
Tip 2: Prepare Better
To play winter golf is a REAL COMMITMENT.
It’s not like your usual summer golf play. You can’t just dress up on your regular golf clothes and pick up your golf equipment. You cannot simply head out to play like you normally do.
The key to enjoying the game is being prepared all the time.
The winter brings rain. Let’s say it drizzles, and you did not prepare an UMBRELLA to shade you. If you’re ever caught on the field on a rainy day, it will be a mess if you’re underprepared. RAIN HOODS are great items to pack as well.
If you don’t prepare well, your body heat will suffer. The rain will make the cold even colder.
It won’t be a good game.
Tip 3: Dress Properly
Dressing properly for a round of winter golf is a part of being prepared. But, we can’t emphasize enough how important this tip is.
Let’s talk about outerwear.
Some people think that putting on whatever keeps you warm is enough. IT IS NOT. It is not only wrong but also misleading.
If you wear bulky jackets and puffy coats, your movement will be COMPROMISED. You’ll keep your body temperature up, but your golf swing will be LIMITED. We do not want that.
Full range of motion is of utmost importance in this sport.
So what do we do to keep the blood circulation of our entire body up? DITCH THE BIG FLUFFY WARMERS.
Instead, layer down some light clothes. Go for long johns or some thermals underneath to keep your motion free and open. Preparing some turtle necks can keep your neck warm too.
Make sure to grab some wet gloves as well to keep your hands warm.
Tip 4: Check if You Are Using the Right Footwear
Golfers should NEVER underestimate the importance of the right footwear. Proper shoes give you the needed STABILITY and BALANCE for your shots.
It is true in normal games, and more so in the winter.
Save money by investing in the right footwear. You don’t want to skimp and then have to keep buying new ones.
Make sure that the shoes you pick are WATERPROOF. Getting your feet wet will be a nightmare. You risk slipping without the right shoes, especially in the cold months.
Get shoes with great traction. Then, pair those up by going all-in on THICK SOCKS too!
It’s also ideal for keeping the soles of your shoes clean. Even the best shoes can get slippery if mud accumulates on the soles. Invest in the right kind and maintain it well.
Tip 5: Don’t Forget to Warm Up!
Keeping the cold to a minimum is not only about your clothes. The best way to keep your blood flowing is to MOVE AROUND.
Do some warm-ups before your game.
It keeps your body and hands warm. Plus, it helps you practice. The practice helps you get loose before your first tee.
Warming up helps you be familiar with the golf course. After loosening your shot and getting familiar with the course, your shots will improve significantly.
If you want to keep warm and toasty throughout your game, consider saying goodbye to the golf cart.
Instead of driving around the cart path to your next shots, WALKING AROUND makes all the difference for your stamina and feel.
Tip 6: The Right Gear Is Your Bestfriend
Winter golf is not only brutal; it is also UNPREDICTABLE. The conditions are rarely the same.
Rain? Frost? Snow? Wind?
You never know what to expect. It’s always best to pick up the right gears for whatever winter conditions that may await.
Here is the list of the correct equipment you can pack up to enjoy winter golf:
- Winter wheels
- High vis yellow ball
- Waterproof bags
Tip 7: Use More Club
In the winter, even your short game is probably a cold one.
When it’s both cold and wet, your ball is slower because it’s not getting as much roll.
The ball will get into SHORTER DISTANCES than you expect. It’s helpful to use the extra club. Using more clubs also compensates for the loss of speed on your swing.
Quick guide: Expect around 5-10 yards less per club for irons and wedges. For woods and drivers, expect about twice the difference.
Whichever it is, ALWAYS CONSIDER TO CLUB UP!
Tip 8: Change Your Putting Perception
Winter changes the conditions. Period.
Even in a short game, you’re most likely to notice the longer grass lengths and extra winter greens. It might not seem much, but it affects the clubs and the balls.
The different course means that there’s ADDED FRICTION for every shot.
When your ball rolls, the putts will be much slower. It will break less as well. But no need to fret. It’s nothing that practice can’t improve.
More advice: Hit two birds with one stone with your warm-up. Get yourself calibrated with the new conditions.
Tip 9: Choose a Better Golf Ball
You probably already have a favorite ball. But the winter times may require you to change it.
A FIRMER DISTANCE BALL is the better choice.
It gives you MORE CARRY, which is ideal for your play. Some believe a warm golf ball increases the speed. But know that getting your golf balls warm can be against the rules.
Honestly, warming the ball isn’t backed up by real evidence anyway. Please don’t risk it.
Tip 10: Add Loft for a Better Play
When you’ve tried playing on the course during the winter, you’ll know that your club can’t get your ball as far as it normally does.
Adding loft to your woods can help make up for the distance difference.
Increasing loft will give your shot more carry. You’ll feel more control with your clubs as your shots will also be straighter.
Tip 11: Serious Golfers Adjust Their Expectations
There are all kinds of winter golf hacks. It’s because THEY WORK.
But, for us here, there is no better tip than adjusting your expectations. Golf is not only supposed to be great, but it’s also supposed to be FUN.
Playing in the winter may not be as successful as your normal play, and THAT IS OKAY.
After playing in the winter course, you may find your play better in the summer. Be confident and enjoy the fresh air!
Golf is a competitive sport. It is a structured sport that requires a lot of skills. It cannot be easy to learn and play. In the harsh winter conditions, it even gets harder. But don’t let the cold keep you from enjoying it.
We hope that these tips and tricks can help you when you play your next round of winter golf. Hacks are great. They’re reliable and effective.
But here’s a final reminder that we think matters more.
The real secret to winter golf is to keep trying. Adjust, adjust, and adjust. EXPERIENCE will help you get better than any hack can ever will.
Now, play! (and don’t let the cold bother you)