6 Benefits of Playing Golf Through Winter
In years gone by, many of us shut down our golf over the winter months. Competitions were generally put on pause, along with our handicaps, and the only meaningful rounds seemed to be the Winter Knockout … which inevitably gets finished in mid-June! However, with more golfers than ever taking up the game, the improvement of overall course conditioning, and changes to club competition practices, there’s not as much reason to shut your golf down for a few months.
Join us as we fly through some of our favourite reasons for heading up to the course … even in deepest, darkest winter.
Let’s face it, for many of us, the golf club is our main source of social interaction. Or at least, one of them. Catching up with mates on a Saturday morning is always welcome relief, but this can be even more important as the doom and gloom of November and December sets in. A bad week at work can be forgotten about by the time you’ve birdied the first hole, and you’ll have the next four hours to chat about anything and everything to keep you distracted.
It can occasionally be a slog as the going gets damp, but it’s made a heck of a lot easier when you’re bounding along the muddy fairways with three mates. And the enjoyment doesn’t stop at the 18th green. There’s nothing quite like a hot shower followed by a cold drink after a round of winter’s golf - again, made all the more enjoyable in the company of those you’ve known the longest.
And on an entirely serious note, in an age where it’s now rightly suggested that a ‘stiff upper lip’ isn’t necessarily the best solution to all of our problems, simply seeing others and sharing stories and troubles (particularly through the winter) is one of the sport’s greatest benefits to us all.
Coupled with this weekly catch up is your weekly 4-hour walk which can be much needed with Christmas on the horizon! There’s innumerable physical benefits to the game to go along with the aforementioned mental ones, and keeping walking and swinging is undoubtably top of the list. Many of us can experience a degree of stiffness as we get a touch older, which certainly isn’t helped by sitting indoors and eating another Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
Even if you just whip round 9-holes or so, your body will thank you in the long run for keeping moving through the winter. You never know, it might even allow you to hit the new season from a moving start!
Stay Competitive & Keep On Top of Your Handicap
As mentioned at the start, the winter was primarily the reserve of the matchplay format, and this is something which is a staple of many clubs. Pairing up with a friend for the Winter Fourball, or going it alone, there’s still plenty of opportunities to get the competitive juices flowing.
However, the introduction of the World Handicap System has meant that as long as your chosen course is still playing within the regulations (limit on temporary tees / greens), you can still submit scores throughout the winter, even in non-competitive rounds. This is particularly useful for those who may need to get some scores in to attain their first handicap!
Time For Improvement
However, many of us have the same chat with ourselves every September. As the light begins to fade and we’ve just missed out on our golfing goals once again, we promise ourselves: “I’m going to spend this winter practicing”. There’s method to our madness. Whether it’s indoors on a simulator, down at the driving range, or out on the course, winter does provide the perfect opportunity to get better. It’s hard to make significant changes to your swing during the season, and so having a few months to bed in the new feelings can be hugely beneficial.
You may even want to really go for it this time around with some warm weather training! Our friends at Golfbreaks can always help you out with a winter escape, with thousands of Brits heading to Turkey, The Canary Islands and the Middle East to feel the sun on their back through these months.
Take Advantage of Winter Rates
Staying at home has its advantages too. We’re in an era where golf club visitor fees are higher than ever, and ticking off a bucket list course or two can be simply unaffordable. That said, many of these are dotted around the UK’s coastline, and as a result, play fabulously throughout the winter. Many, such as Royal Cinque Ports in Kent, will also host visitor competition through this time, with the entry fee less than half of that during the warmer months. So why not take advantage of some of these offers through the winter? Perhaps take in two or three, and then return to your favourite in the height of summer to see how it compares!
Experiment With Your Clubs
We all love some new clubs. Or old clubs. Or just things that look interesting. Winter is a great time to give some new bats a go, particularly as many of the manufacturers will release new equipment as some point between October and February. And if you’re not after the latest and greatest, this also creates the perfect opportunity to pick up a bargain or two online, as those who are swapping over will be looking to free up some of their own pennies for their purchases.
But, what if you’re happy with your set up. Firstly, congratulations! Secondly, why not mess around over the winter by taking out a half set. Your greenkeepers will thank you for slinging seven-clubs in a pencil bag, rather than lugging your trolley through the rough, and you’ll be forced to play more creatively with the clubs you choose to take with you. This can act as some of the most effective practice you’re likely to have, and you’ll be thankful of it in the summer when you're forced to play a little knockdown shot into the wind.
Or, if you need to take something off a 8-iron, because you ‘accidentally’ wrapped your 9-iron around a tree … No? Just us?
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