Winter golf is not an oxymoron! Many of us women golfers would rather play golf in 40-degree temperatures than on a 90-degree day with blazing sun and/or suffocating humidity.
I grew up in Baltimore, with the suffocating summer humidity, and live now in Denver, with its blazing summer sun. I’ve also golfed in rainy Scotland and enjoyed years of perfect golf weather in Northern California. Still, I LOVE winter golf here in Colorado.
That’s largely because the Colorado Golf Association has an offseason from November 15 to March 15. So you can’t post your scores. That encourages many of us to play faster, and maybe not even keep scores. Believe me, when the wind is howling under an overcast sky, you don’t want to look at a putt from all four sides or stand around writing down numbers.
So winter golf tends to inspire a more relaxing, more fun game.
That is, of course, if you’re prepared for the conditions. Believe me, I’m not one to call freezing my ass off relaxing and fun! But one thing about winter golf vs. summer golf: You can always dress for winter golf, while for summer golf you can only undress so far, legally.
If you’re inspired to give winter golf a try, follow along with these tips and must-have products (many of which link to Amazon and produce small commissions that help us keep this blog going). And if you’re already an aficionado, PLEASE share your own secrets in the comment section below.
BY ALL MEANS, WALK THE COURSE IF YOU ARE ABLE
Lots of courses don’t allow carts on their dormant fairways in winter, so you’re going to be walking a lot anyway. Walking keeps your heart and blood pumping; jumping in and out of a cart, especially if you’ve got some sort of heater going in the cart, is not going to have the same effect. You’ll be shivering on the putting green no matter what you’re wearing.
IF YOU MUST RIDE, FURNISH YOUR CART
Consider a cart cover, or a portable heater. At the very least, bring a warm blankie to protect your freezing ass from that cold leather seat. Two options:
KEEP YOUR FEET WARM
This is not the time for those comfy canvas golf shoes that look so cute with your summer skorts. You want hardy, waterproof shoes like the ones Adidas and Footjoy make. Even on our rock-hard Colorado turf, I say waterPROOF, not waterRESISTANT, because any shoe that protects you from water will also protect you from cold. Under the shoes: wool socks. With this combo, my feet are never cold.
Recommended:Waterproof shoes from Adidas. Waterproof shoes from Footjoy. Crew-length wool socks in many colors.
KEEP YOUR HANDS WARM
I’ve got all sorts of gloves in my bag. I have a regular golf glove to wear on my left hand on a nice day, and a right-hand golf glove to add if it’s feeling a little bit cool outside. I have Footjoy rain gloves and Footjoy winter gloves. Lots of folks like these fingerless mittens they can push up when it’s time to swing. This winter, I’ve been feel pretty good about these gloves I found on Amazon. For one thing, they’re not boring black, like virtually every other product made for foul weather. And they are warmer than my other options. You can also pick up some of those synthetic hand-warmers that may or may not work, or you can save the planet from that trash with these electronic hand warmers, which are No. 1 on my winter golf love-list:
KEEP YOUR HEAD WARM
Forget the sun hat or that mesh baseball cap. On a sunny and pleasant winter day, you want a heavyweight visor or billed cap that you can cover with a warm headband (less bulky and more overall warming than earmuffs) or knitted watch cap when the wind kicks up or the sun goes into hiding. I always have headband and knit cap in my golf bag in winter. I also recommend one like my Scotland discovery, the lined, wool newsboy cap I’m wearing here, which is not only warm but cute. And I’m loving this gaiter to double as a mask on really biting cold days when you probably should be by the fire.
Recommended: This elegant wool newsboy cap would look awesome on a brunette.
DRESS FOR WINTER GOLF, NOT FOR GOLF
We all have our standards for golf clothes. Forget about all that for winter golf, and go with what makes sense for the forecast. Consider leggings or thermals you can wear under a skort, or lined pants you might like for skiing. I don’t like to get too bulky around my shoulders, so on top I’ll start with a tank or sleeveless tee, then add a pullover or turtleneck, and top it all off with a warm, wind-stopping jacket or lined cardigan designed for upper body movement. If the jacket covers a little of my freezing ass, all the better. Recommended: Here’s a fleece tank for starters. These are the lined pants my golf friends are loving this winter. And for a warm golf jacket, I’d feel confident about anything from ZeroRestriction.com.
TEE IT UP
This is easier said than done on the frozen tundras of our tee boxes. You have a simple choice—bring along a hammer so that you can pound your tee into the ground, or pick up a few tees like the ones you see at the driving range. I say “a few” because you may forget to pick up your tee now and then. Here’s a set that comes with strings attached to keep them from flying too far:
PUT AWAY THOSE WHITE GOLF BALLS
Maybe you’re not going to play golf in the snow, but in many parts of the country there will be snowy areas around the golf course. This is the time to show your true colors with a golf ball that will be easy to find on white ground.
Recommended: Chromax neon balls. Titleist Velocity colored balls. Callaway Chrome Soft soccer balls.
You must force yourself to drink water when you play golf. Your body still needs it, even if your taste buds don’t want it. Even making the effort, I’m only drinking half the water in winter that I drink in summer, so I add a supplemental powder to my bottle to increase the hydration effect.
Recommended: Skratch Labs sport hydration packets.
You’re playing golf in January! Toast yourself and your companions with a sip of your favorite birdie juice, which will warm you up from the inside. Cheers!
DID I LEAVE ANYTHING OUT, FELLOW WINTER GOLF AFICIONADOS?