Golfing in the depths of December or early in the new year is nowhere near as attractive as playing a round on a fine summer’s day, but that doesn’t mean the clubs have to be left aside for several months of the year.
Instead, by making a few modifications to your play – and even to your routine as you prepare to play, and what you do afterwards – you can continue to enjoy the game even at this time of year.
Read on for my Top 12 Golf Tips for this Christmas:
- Before you even go to play – Make sure you’re dressed properly for the weather. Layers are the way to go, and consider wearing a specialist sports base layer shirt/vest and pants underneath your regular clothes. Pay attention too to your socks – woollen ones are best at this time of year.
- Pay attention to your bag too. Bring extra tees, balls, and towels. Tees seem to snap more in cold weather, balls have more piles of dead leaves and the like to get lost in, and you may need a towel for yourself as well as your clubs. You don’t want to have to dry your hands and face with something you’ve just used to wipe dirt off your pitching wedge!
- Go through a simple warm-up routine before your first swing. Even ten minutes extra of swinging the arms and doing some stretches before you tee off can make a big difference.
- As your game begins – keep moving between shots. The course will probably be relatively empty, allowing you proceed at a brisk pace. If you do have to wait for a group ahead to move on, don’t stand still over your ball. Instead, go for a stroll over and back, or walk up the course 50 yards and back, to get a better look at where your next shot is destined for. Golfers who keep moving between shots are less likely to end up feeling sore and stiff.
- Also – keep your hands warm between shots. Get a good pair of gloves if you don’t own them already. Numb fingers won’t help your grip!
- Play a softer ball. Balls may not have compression ratings any more, but you can still tell a ‘hard’ one from a ‘soft’ one. A ‘hard’ ball will feel like a lump of steel on a cold day, so use a more suitable alternative.
- Be realistic! The ball won’t go as far or spin as much in the cold. Adjust your course strategy accordingly.
- Club up a level or two. Because the ball won’t travel as far, use a 5 iron where you might normally use a 6 or 7. Use a 3 wood where you’d normally take a 5. You get the idea!
- Forget about strokeplay scoring. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to post a good score in most winter conditions. Play stableford or matchplay instead, to make the game more enjoyable.
- Have a hot meal and drink afterwards. If you’re not in the habit of nourishing yourself in the clubhouse after a round, now’s a good time to start!
- Work on your game in between rounds with golf lessons. Chances are you won’t be spending as much time on the course at this time of year as at any other, but you can still get your golfing ‘fix’ with lessons to iron out problems in your game and have you ready to go when conditions pick up again in the new year. You could be surprised at the difference a few lessons can make.
- If you want to ‘help’ somebody buy you a Christmas present – drop hints about how great vouchers for lessons would be! My own vouchers start at just €45 for a 30-minute lesson, and go up to a bundle for ten one-hour lessons at a big discount rate of €575.
I hope you enjoy your winter golf, and I’d love the opportunity to meet you in the coming weeks to help improve your game. Together we’ll get you in great shape for 2017.