Winter Golf: Survival 101

Reading Time: 4 minutes


With a blast of cold air affecting most of the nation, I thought it would be a great week to take a look at cold weather golf. While the number one answer in virtually any survey regarding cold weather golf is to “Move somewhere warmer”. As this is not an option for most of us, keep these things in mind when braving the winter temperatures for a round of golf.

Winter Golf

1. Dress Appropriately

Dressing in layers offers the best chance of staying warm and still being able to make a decent swing at the ball. The key here is layers. Keep in mind that you can always take off a layer or 2 if you are too warm but you cannot add a layer that you do not have if you are too cold. While a nice thick coat will keep you toasty between shots, trying to make a swing with it on will prove impossible.

Winter Golf

2. Take An Extra Club & Swing Easy

There are two reasons for this piece of advice. The first reason is the fact that the ball does not travel as far in cold air as it does in warm air. Expecting that 8 iron to go 150 yards in 35 degree temperatures will leave you chipping from 5 to 10 yards short of the green all day long. The second reason to swing easy is quickly recognized by anyone who has ever hit a shot thin in cold weather. Nothing will dampen your spirits during a round of golf more than the horrible pain and tingling that resonates through your entire hand after a shot hit too low on the club face. Swinging easy and even playing the ball slightly further back in your stance than normal can go a long way toward preventing these shots.

Winter Golf

3. Arrive Early & Keep Moving

The most difficult thing to do in cold weather is to warm up, get loose, and stay that way for the entire round. Make sure that you arrive early enough to have extra time to loosen up and get all of the body parts moving prior to getting to the first tee. Once on the course, try to keep moving as much as possible in order to stay loose. Walking is the best way to do this but if you are riding in a cart, consider alternating hole by hole with your partner who will drive the cart that hole and who will walk. At the very least, walk around the cart each time you get out of it to get the blood moving again.

Winter Golf

4. Be Realistic & Have Fun

Be honest with yourself. In this kind of weather, the fact that you are able to get out at all and be with your friends playing this wonderful game should be enough. If you go out expecting to break the course record and go low, you are not going to have much fun. Try to look at it this way. The more swings you are making, the warmer you are going to be due to the extra movement.

Next time you and your group decide to form your own “Polar Bear Golf Club”, keep these tips in mind and most importantly, have fun because that is the real reason we all play this game.

Quick Recap

1. Dress Appropriately
2. Take Extra Club & Swing Easy
3. Arrive Early & Don’t Stand Still
4. Be Realistic & Have Fun

Ask A PGA Professionals at GlobalGolf

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Alan Unruh, PGA

Alan Unruh is a Class “A” member of the PGA of America, and holds PGA Certifications in General Management, Golf Operations and Player Development. With these certifications, he is among the 1% of PGA members that hold multiple PGA Certifications. He has a profound passion for the game of golf along with extensive experience and knowledge regarding planning and strategy for golf operations, rules of golf, tournament operations and golf swing fundamentals. Alan has also played a crucial role helping manage multiple high profile tournaments throughout his career including the USGA Women’s U.S. Open, PGA and LPGA Tour events, and multiple NCAA and AJGA events.

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