Stay Sharp With These 4 Winter Golf Tips!

Gray skies, wind, rain and even snow! What can a keen golfer get up to in the long winter months? Well, if you really put your mind to it, there’s tons to do. So, here are 4 tips that will help you get off the sofa and get those clubs out.

The winter months are a great time to get in some useful practice – most average golfers are guilty of not practicing enough, especially the short game. When did you last practice putting, even though a 2-foot putt has the same value on your scorecard as a 250-yard drive, both one stroke on your card.

The winter months are a great time to practice

It’s windy, raining and cold and you’re not going to play that Sunday morning round with your buddies. So instead of mooching around at home, the first of the 4 tips is to get yourself down to the golf range. But, when you get there, don’t do what nearly all golfers do, which is smack 100 balls into the distance, especially the last one, because they want to end on a high.

No, the best way to practice at the range is to hit every ball with focus and with purpose.

Start with a pitching wedge. Set yourself a challenge – make it interesting. It doesn’t matter what distance you hit the ball with a normal swing; your aim is to hit 10 shots as close to the 100-yard flag as possible. Choke down a little if you feel it will help. This is a good tip for the average golfer. Choking down will probably mean you won’t hit the ball as far but in the cold winter months, the ball doesn’t travel as far anyway.

Next, try your 7-iron. Your only objective is to hit 10 shots as close to the 150-yard flag as possible. Focus on that, nothing else. Give yourself a clap on the back each time you get close.

Give your 3-iron a go and try and get 10 balls as close as possible to the 200-yard flag.

You get the idea. Always hit balls with purpose and focus. Don’t waste them.

Ok, I’ll allow 5 smacks with the driver. Got to keep warm!

And talking of keeping warm…

How to keep warm and dry in bad weather

Talking of keeping warm and dry, even if you are on the range, but more importantly, if you have made it to the golf course, wear a woolly hat and weather-proof or water-proof clothing. Carry a spare glove in your bag, your first one will get wet and that’s not nice! Take a golfing umbrella with you in case it rains, and you can keep your towel dry hanging under the umbrella. Good tip. Buy some winter mittens; it’s very important to keep your hands warm during a round.

Beginners don’t always do this but it’s important to warm up before any round of golf, especially when it’s cold and this is also important before you launch into those range balls.. Make an effort to arrive at the club an hour early to do some stretching exercises, swing a long club around your body parallel to the ground. And do some practice pitching and putting to get used to the speed of the greens in the bad weather.

Walk rather than take a buggy, you’ll stay warmer and looser.

Practice at home

If you really don’t want to go outside, the weather is so bad, then there some things you can do to practice even at home.

Putting practice in the warmth of your home can be very enjoyable and useful. There are no humps and bumps to contend with but getting the speed or pace right is hugely important. Here are some great indoor putting mats which can be good fun.

You could buy a small artificial turf mat for practicing full swings in your garden. Don’t go hitting balls over the fence though!

Winter is also a good time to catch up on reading those golfing magazines and which often contain some great tips.

Regular exercise and stretching during the winter months are great to get ready for your first Spring round of golf.

What are winter rules

The last of the 4 tips is to understand the rules. Many golfer don’t understand what winter rules are. If you do manage to get out there on the course, then you need to understand what these rules are. Your playing partners will appreciate it.

The main thing you need to understand about winter rules, is that they are nothing to do with the USGA or PGA, they are local rules applied by your golf club committee, and they only apply while there is a notice up somewhere saying “Winter rules apply”.

So, preferred lies, is not some rule that automatically comes into effect in November. It is a local rule that the club committee has decided to apply because of the inclement conditions. Also, you should find out what distance you can move your ball; 6 inches or a club length, maybe, and never not nearer the hole. Don’t forget to mark your ball before you pick it up, and remember you are only allowed one pick up per stroke, and you can only mark, lift, clean and replace your ball if it lands on a closely-mown area. You are not allowed take a preferred lie from the rough.

If you don’t follow these rules when making a preferred lie, you will incur a penalty of one stroke for moving the ball in play and the ball must be replaced.

So, be aware of and use the local rules but don’t break them.

We hope that these 4 tips will help improve your game. Enjoy your winter golf!

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