The Best Golf Warrior’s Gear For Cold Weather
As the leaves fall and change color, golfers will generally hurry and get their games in before the weather gets too harsh. Those other guys will only golf when others are playing, when the grass is fresh and green and the ball can easily be seen.
For those of you who see the dip in the thermometer and put away your golf clubs, read another article. This post is for the year-round golfer, the one who will head out to the course in any weather: rain, sleet...even snow. This is for the golf warrior.
Why Would I Golf in the Cold?
Why break the weekend or after-work habit of a round of golf just because of the off-chance you get frostbite? The bite of below-zero temperatures makes you feel alive, and keeps you active. And there’s no better place to be active than out on the course, whacking your frozen ball along the crystallized grass.
There’s no long line-ups. The water traps don’t teem with mosquitoes or other pesky bugs distracting you. In fact, depending on how cold it gets where you are in the world, there may not be water at all...those troublesome ponds may have transformed into ice!
Now, I’m not telling you that you must suffer for your art. Your game should not cause you lasting pain, or loss of fingers or toes. You should prepare, and prepare well. You challenge yourself to golf in the cold, so you must also battle against the cold itself.
To Toque or not to Toque
Your head and hands are where you are going to lose the most heat. Throw your fashion sense to the chilly wind, and wear a good winter hat, like a toque. You could get fancy and wear a neoprene skull cap, but who’s looking? It’s just you and a handful of other golf nuts on the course, and chances are they are wearing goofy winter hats, too.
Golf courses have a lot of wide open space, and that means wind. Now in the cold weather you are not adjusting your game for the wind direction, you are making sure that your body is protected from the cold!
Let the ball’s path, and not your core temperature, be dictated by the wind. Ears are particularly vulnerable to frostbite from wind, so make sure whatever you’re wearing on your head covers them well. You may want to also add a scarf to keep your nose and mouth protected, too.
Cold Hands, Warm Heart, Bad Game
No matter how enthusiastic you are about golfing, you will head home early if your fingers refuse to move. Wearing mittens or gloves make a lot of sense in the cold weather, for two reasons: grips are not as flexible when they are cold making holding the club less comfortable, and the dangerous combination of human skin and cold metal.
I’m not sure about your personal medical history, but believe me when I tell you that you do NOT want to make contact with cold metal if your skin is at all wet. Ever had your tongue stuck to a metal pole ouch!
But you do have to get a good grip on your clubs and at least make a decent effort at a swing. New technological advances are made each year in the types of thinner fabrics that will keep you warm. Any glove or mitten you have will be even toastier after you slip a toasty ‘hot-shot’ heat pack inside.
Or do mittens and gloves at the same time by opting for those convertible mittens that have the top fold away revealing cut-off gloves. Every time your digits need warming, simply fold back the cover over them and rub your hands together. Keeping your hands warm will extend your tolerance for winter golf, and reduce the risk of frostbite.
Head and Shoulders, Baby
The next body part you will want to make sure has a good range of motion is, of course, the shoulders. You and I both know that you aren’t going to be making any spectacular shots dressed looking like the Michelin man. You’d be lucky to hold the club with both hands!
If the weather isn’t too cold yet, you can try a turtleneck, layered with a warm vest, so that your arms are free to swing as much as you please. Other options are winter golf jackets which trap heat, wick moisture and improve your golf swing. That last point was a joke...but these thinner jackets will at least provide a large range of motion.
Keep it Moving
When you play a round of golf in the summer, there’s a lot of stillness, isn’t there? If you stayed still like that in winter, you might get frozen to your spot. Your poor legs will lock frozen as you stand lining up your next shot, so be sure to put on some leggings under your pants.
You could stay with what your grandfather wore when he golfed in the winter, good old long-johns. Moving while you wait your turn, or walking quickly as you move is also recommended to keep warm and stay loose. There’s nothing like friction to generate the heat you need to keep playing.
You could use insoles to pad your shoes, or fancy toe-covers under your socks to keep your feet warm, but as I said before, no one is coming out to watch you play in the winter.
So keep it sensible, and wear winter shoes or boots. This is not a fashion show, this is winter golf. We do not care what you look like if you’ve turned up to play when all others have put their golf sets in storage, you are welcome. Come as you are.
A Move in the Right Direction
You might think that using the golf cart in winter to get around the course is a no-brainer, but walking is a better alternative. The more you move, the looser you will stay and be ready to play your best game. The friction built up on your legs and arms as you walk will help keep you warm, and the exercise will help you a lot, too.
We all need more exercise when the cooler air arrives, don’t we? Between the cooler weather discouraging us from leaving the house to the holidays and dinners, you know you would do your body good to walk instead of ride. The golf carts might need a tune-up in the spring , but at least they, unlike us, won’t gain weight from sitting around eating bon bons and chips! If you don't have a push cart check these out.
A Quick Top-Up
If you collect enough brave (and slightly crazy) souls to make a team, the refreshments might lean towards, say, butter ripple schnapps, for a totally awesome feel. A shot of butter ripple will warm your bones. Hopefully you are not to tipsy to smash the ball.
Another great choice is to bring a nice, warm Contigo coffee mug with your choice of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Even though it’s cold out, your body will still need hydration.
Odds and Ends to Even the Score
Now, let’s talk extras. By the time you go out golfing for the day, you might already have tissues with you, but if not, it would be smart to place a packet of them in your vest pocket. Constant sniffling will mess up a perfect shot.
While we’re on the subject of pockets, keeping the ball in your pocket to keep it warm is a great tip. And if there’s snow on the ground, be sure to buy balls of any color than white. Unless you enjoy the habit of searching for needles in haystacks.
Yes, golfing in the colder weather does tend to thin out the crowds at the course. Your small tribe of die-hard golfers will huddle around, creating or maintaining great friendships. Good friends do crazy stuff together. However, some days, you might just be the only person there. But if you follow the tips listed above, you’ll be well-prepared for an invigorating, challenging and fun round of winter golf.