Golf requires year round practice and maintenance to continually hit the perfect swing. This means braving the elements of bitter winters no matter your latitude, winters are relatively uncomfortable. Follow this guide to protect not only yourself and health but your handicap and scorecard.
#1 – Bundle Up
As the winter sets in be sure to wear the right clothing. It should go without saying that staying warm is important especially when playing golf and not getting a chance to increase the heart rate rapidly. Many golf pants are built to wick moisture and keep golfers cool during a grueling summer or spring round. These Sunderland golf trousers from Function18 are sure to keep your legs warm and flexible during those winter rounds.
For any clothing look for something padded or with windbreaker materials. This will help with those windy rounds and keep the wind from chilling you to the bones. Make sure the material is water resistant at a minimum preferably waterproof to keep rain (or snow) from soaking your clothes down to the core – there are many waterproof options available at Function 18. Finally, make sure the clothes are comfortable. Before buying them off the rack make sure you are comfortable swinging. If they are to padded or large it will alter your swing path and ultimately throw off your contact position.
#2 – Focus on Keeping the Extremities Warm
Similar to bundling up, you need to keep your hands warm. The hands and fingers are the only connection points between you and your golf club. With rigid, inflexible fingers and wrists, the club won’t break through the zone as naturally and you undoubtedly leave the club face open on the attack angle. There are two basic ways to keep your hands warm, each with benefits and drawbacks.
First, heavy mittens offer the most warmth and least amount of flexibility. A good tip to keep the feel of your swing is to continue to wear the mittens until you start your warm up swings. This way you can maximize the amount of time in the gloves.
Second, consider a smaller, more flexible pair of gloves. They offer more feel and touch without having to remove the gloves for every swing but might not keep your hands warm. A good way to keep your hands continually warm with smaller gloves is to use small hand warmer packs and slide them on the back of your hands, this way your grip isn’t affected and your hands stay warmer.
#3 – Wear Longer Cleats
The ground gets harder making you more prone to slipping. Instead of opting for shorter spikes or soft spikes, consider swapping them out for longer or more robust spikes. This will keep your feet from sliding during your swing and avoid muscle strains and knee tweeks.
To keep your feet warm consider wearing wool socks. If you think the ground will be considerably wet during the round try using some plastic wrap or plastic grocery bag to wrap around your foot before putting it in your shoe. This will keep your feet dry.
#4 – Warm up Adequately
Walking from the parking lot to the first tee and swinging for the fences is never a good idea. In the winter, muscles and joints tend to be tighter due to the chill. Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before your team time to stretch and swing clubs at full speed prior to stepping up and going for it all off the tee box.
Most importantly make sure you are rotating the core and lower back. These areas are especially susceptible to torque during the colder months.
#5 – Protect Your Face and Eyes
You might not think the winter is a time to get a sunburn but winter weather presents another challenge and threat to your body. Colder temperatures bring colder winds and wind burn is a very real possibility on the golf course. A good way to face the wind is to wear a face mask that will protect the skin on your face.
Winter also means lower humidity. Dry cool air can damage the skin and make your round a nightmare if you are constantly itching your face because of the dry cold skin. In your golf bag make sure to pack some lotion. When you feel your skin starting to dry out, warm the small bottle of lotion in a hand warmer for a few minutes and apply liberally. Also, pack chapstick because your lips are especially prone to freezing cold and windy temperatures.
Finally, make sure to wear sunglasses. Cool crisp air and the low trajectory of the sun translates to blinding approach shots where the sun may be directly in your face in the middle of the day. Although winter, the power of the sun can damage your eyes year round. A good pair of polarized sunglasses can make a long term difference in your vision.