When the leaves start to turn and there is a chill in the air, those hot sticky days of summer are drawing to a close. Soon it’ll be time to start thinking about winter golf. What to wear? Where to play? When to play? Just because it gets a bit chillier, no reason to put your clubs away in the winter.
Let’s start with what to wear.
Winter Golfing Wardrobe
As the colder seasons approach, it will time to get your winter golfing wardrobe ready. Keeping you and your equipment warm and dry are the main objectives. If your muscles are warm, you will feel much more loose, unlike that tight, compact feeling when you are cold.
Adding an extra layer will help you to stay warm. An extra layer could be wearing a golf jacket over your sweater or polo shirt. And it is certainly time to commit the shorts to the store cupboard and dig out the warmer pants.
It may not snow but it’s a sure thing it’s going to rain, so you need to think about waterproofs and all the other accessories that will keep you dry. These will include a fully waterproof jacket and trousers (even a hat), a golf umbrella, one or two extra towels, extra gloves, and waterproof golf shoes. And remember the trick of hanging up a towel inside your umbrella, it should keep it dry. To keep your hands warm, don’t forget a pair of lined gloves, but remember to take them off before you play a shot! Most of your body heat is lost through your head and your hands, so hats and gloves on! Hand warmers? Yes, why not.
Winter Golfing Rules
When you do get out there, there are some special winter rules that the average golfer may not be fully aware of.
The concept of winter rules, also known as “preferred lies,” is one of the most misunderstood concepts in golf. These “winter rules” refer to the practice some golf courses adopt when weather causes adverse conditions on the golf course to allow players to pick up, clean off, and replace their balls if they land in a weather-worn spot. Here is the exact wording from the Rule Book:
“Adverse conditions, including the poor condition of the course or the existence of mud, are sometimes so general, particularly during winter months, that the Committee may decide to grant relief by temporary Local Rule either to protect the course or to promote fair and pleasant play. The Local Rule should be withdrawn as soon as the conditions warrant.”
“In the absence of an exact description of winter rules or preferred lies, some golfers tend to interpret the rules to take advantage of a situation”
Unfortunately, golfers interpret “winter rules” or “preferred lies” to mean many different things. Many golf courses and clubs do not explain exactly what the terms mean. All too often, the only notice that the local rule is in effect is a sign that says “Winter Rules in Effect Today” posted at the starter’s shack or in the clubhouse.
In the absence of an exact description of “winter rules” or “preferred lies”, some golfers tend to “interpret” the rules to take advantage of a situation, like, improving their lie in bunkers and water hazards, or even moving their ball onto the green from the fringe.
An example of an exact definition might be something like, “Fairways only, lift clean and place within one club’s distance, not nearer the hole”. No confusion or taking advantage of the golfers.
Golfers must make themselves aware of any special local course rules before they start their round.
Winter Golfing Vacations
As the calendar creeps towards the chillier months, most keen golfers will be looking for warmer rounds of golf. For the lucky residents of the warmer parts of the nation, the golf season lasts the whole year.
There are hundreds of possibilities for a winter golf vacation, too many to mention here. The USA is such a large and diverse country that sports such as golf can be enjoyed all year round. Favorite states are Florida, Arizona, and California to name but three. And don’t forget Hawaii, it has some great golf courses coupled with fabulous weather. So, get on your favorite search engine and head south!
And so, for most of us, there is a lot to think about when winter comes. Don’t hang up your clubs, give it go.
More golf information and insights can be found on our home page. Thanks for reading!