Winter Golf In Michigan February 2018
I got out yesterday to extend my streak of consecutive months playing golf in Michigan to thirty seven. As you would expect, a few of those rounds have been under less than ideal conditions. My February 2018 round of winter golf was windy and cold, with skies that shifted constantly between clouds and sun. I played at Huron Hills in Ann Arbor, whose front seven holes are open all year.
Huron Hills is a pretty friendly operation. There was no one in the clubhouse, but attached to a post is an “honor” box in which golfers are supposed to put $5 to play the front seven. I don’t know how many pay, but wanting to avoid bad karma, I dropped in fifteen to cover the eighteen holes I played.
Thursday, February 22 offered a break in the weather that for most of the month was either frigid and snow-covered, or pouring rain. All of that water resulted in water-logged fairways and the emergence of some new, unplanned water hazards. Knowing the topography of Huron Hills, I elected to stay on the first two holes, a par four and a par five, which I played nine times each. With my rusty swing, the par 3 third along the road made me nervous — too much of a chance to hit a car. The fourth is an uninteresting hole, while the paths on five and six were likely to be under water. I saw a couple of newly emerged ponds on the seventh as I drove to the course.
A pro tip for winter golfers: Get a set of rubber tees, such as the ones you see on the mats at driving ranges. One of the reasons for all that standing water is that the dirt is frozen solid just beneath the surface. That makes it difficult to put a tee in the ground. I have in the past carried an ice pick to dig a hole, but now have found rubber tees both easier and more safe.
Another winter golf pro tip. Wear layers. I started out with my Galvin Green Dash Pullover over a long sleeved polo, a fleece vest, winter hat, earmuffs and FootJoy Winter-Sof gloves. Working up a sweat while walking, about midway through my round, I had ditched the fleece, the earmuffs and the gloves. I normally play bare handed, and with the sun out, it was warm enough to keep them off.
Later, however, as the cloud cover came back and the wind picked up, I put the earmuffs back on. Several lighter layers are always better than one heavy layer. Removing and adding layers as conditions demand keeps your body temperature steady and the moisture build-up down. If you sweat too much, your under layers will get damp. Then they’ll get cold. That, my friends, is a recipe for hypothermia.
Winter golf pro tip number three: Get some mitts, such as the Clic Gear model, to attach to your push cart. When you walk, you can stick your hands in the mitts to keep them warm. In addition, put a Zippo Hand warmer in each of the mitt hands. These will keep your hands nice and toasty. I also store a couple of balls in the mitt to keep them warm as well. I think that helps with ball performance.