This is the first in a series of essays on things to feed your golf addiction in the off-season, when cold and snow drive those of us in the northern climes away from our beloved game.
The best thing a golfer can do in the golf off-season is to play golf. There’s no need to stay off the course just because the weather has turned cold. If the ground is clear of snow, there likely are courses open.
The key is not to expect much. The cold temperatures, hard ground and wind all will conspire to prevent you from scoring well. The course will have temporary, winter greens, so putting is a joke. Some courses in Michigan even reverse the tees. You start with a temporary tee near the 18th, and play backward to the 18th tee box, which has a hole cut in it. The final hole is the first tee.
Proper clothing is essential. Keep your head covered, your core warm, and dress in layers. I wear a wool hat from Tilley (I love the built-in ear flaps), flannel lined pants from LL Bean, Nike turtlenecks and golf fleece, an insulated vest, a wind breaker and wool socks.
Of course, all those extra clothes will keep you from making a full turn. But maybe that’s a good thing. I tend to overswing anyway.
The hard ground makes it very difficult to play irons, so I load my bag up with woods and hybrids. It’s easier to sweep the ball off the permafrost than dig into it. Lob shots are impossible, but that just makes it a good time to practice your sweeping pitches. The winter wind—at least in Michigan—is often strong, so you’ll need to work to keep your tee shots low.
Golf ball selection is important. Get one that has a very low compression and a soft cover.
Winter golf is fun, though. I’ve played golf in Michigan every month of the year for the last 46 straight months; on Thanksgiving break; Christmas Eve; New Year’s Day; and in mid February and March. As soon as the snow clears, and the skies are sunny, I’m packing my clubs for the course.
10 thoughts on “Feeding Your Golf Addiction In The Winter, Part 1: Play Golf”
I tend to pack the clubs away once the ground freezes and/or there is snow cover. Until the big freeze, your comments are right on about dressing properly. My choice is long underwear in lieu of lined flannel pants but otherwise our garb is similar.
As you indicate, it is hard to play a normal game when one needs to pick the ball because the turf is like a slab of concrete. Playing any sort of shot to a frozen green is similar to attempting to stop a ball in a parking lot. The few times I have played frozen greens, I placed the ball on the green where it hit rather than where it ended up.
What about winter golf shoes? Does Bite still make the golf boot 3.0?
I don’t know about Byte. Adidas also used to make a snow golf boot. I just play in my regular shoes.
I like the new series idea. I’d love to see something on indoor activities. Besides exercises, my best idea has been putting to a dime on the “fastest” rug in the house ( circa 1951, so eveything has a “break”). Love to hear about good putting cups, drills etc.
I see that Adidas does make a golf boot called “Climawarm” golf boot. It’s priced around $119. I may have to purchase this and give you a review.
Love the Duo in any weather. One course in the Ann Arbor area that tends to be open year-round is the Fox Hills classic.
Wilson Duo for me in the Winter. Perfect ball! Its fun to play. The hardest part is finding courses that will let you out (or sneak out and risk trespassing)!
What a great article…!! I think winter golf is fun and I want to play here. Nice blog and keep it up.
Golf Santa Barbara
Great article and very true – no need to stop playing just because it gets cold. Can’t go for months between rounds…
Great tips! No need to stop playing in the golf off-season.