Playing Golf Well In Winter

golf well in winter

December is here and for much of the country, the golf season is over (Boo!). In states where courses are still open, cold temperatures can make rounds hard. Diehards won’t be deterred from getting their rounds in, though. When the mercury is low, here’s what you need to know to play golf well in winter.

Golf Well in Winter

Dress Accordingly


Layers, layers, layers. This is the mantra a seasoned winter golfer lives by. Base layers, knit hats, and winter gloves are examples of essential pieces to keep you warm. Keeping your body warm lets you make your best swing and protects from injuries, like pulling a muscle. If the weather warms up enough, you can take off a layer or 2 to regulate your body temperature.

For some suggestions on some layers, check out one of our recent posts.

Wearing layers could also prevent you from taking a full swing. To solve this, we get to our second tip.

Pick the Right Club, Swing Easy

winter golf bag

Hitting one club more (at least) is needed for playing golf well in winter. In the colder air, the ball doesn’t travel as far as it does in warm air. So, expecting that 8 iron to go 150 yards will leave you chipping from 5 to 10 yards short of the green all day long. The yardage you get from hitting a longer club leads to the second part of this tip; swinging easy.

As we mentioned, taking a full speed swing can be hard with the extra layers. Taking the extra club(s), you know that you can swing easier and still get the distance you need.

Also, no one likes the pain and tingling that resonates through your hand after a mishit, especially when its cold out. Swinging easy and playing the ball slightly further back in your stance than normal helps prevent these shots.

Stay Mobile


When it’s cold, it takes longer to warm up and get loose. It’s also hard to stay loose for the whole round. To combat this, get to the course early, leaving enough time to loosen up before you tee off. You don’t have to change your warm-up routine you normally use. If anything, you want to add a few more stretches in to make sure your muscles are loose.

Once on the course, keep moving as much as possible to stay loose. Walking your round, versus taking a cart, is the best way to do this. If you decide to ride, consider alternating holes with your playing partner; one of you drives, one walks.

Wrapping up

Next time you and your group decide to form your own Polar Bear golf club, keep these tips in mind. But, most importantly, have fun. That’s the real reason we all play this game.

Other Winter Golf Guides

Ask a PGA Pro

Rudi Fann

Rudi Fann has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2008. He began his career in 1998 as the Assistant Golf Professional at Wake Forest Golf Club in Wake Forest, NC. In 2002, Rudi accepted a similar position at Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. He spent a year there before moving to Nipomo, CA where he worked at Blacklake Golf Resort. Over the next 10 years, he worked his way from Assistant Golf Professional to Head Golf Professional and finally Director of Golf Operations. In his time at Blacklake, Rudi devoted much of his time to running tournaments and other activities in order to create a social atmosphere at the club. After Blacklake, Rudi spent one year as Head Golf Professional at Paso Robles Golf Club before deciding to return home to North Carolina. Since returning to North Carolina, Rudi has worked with the First Tee of the Triangle helping to instill life skills and core values through the game of golf to local youth.