Posted on February 3, 2022
by Mark Gregson-Walters
The thought of getting out of bed, let alone out onto the golf course is hard enough on a dark, freezing winter morning, but with the right preparation, the right clothing and a hefty dose of positive mental attitude and motivation, it can be done! Not only will you feel accomplished, but your golf game will stay in check for when the warmer, lighter days arrive.
Centurion Club’s Head Coach, Mark Gregson-Walters has put together some advice for surviving golf through the winter. From tips on how to mentally prepare through to physical exercises and the correct clothing.
Prepare in advance
Getting motivated can be tough, but with some forward planning and some positive self-talk you can overcome the physical and mental barriers, including the voice in your head telling you to wait until tomorrow.
Some simple tips on preparing to head out for a round of golf are:
1. Book your tee-time in advance and organise to play with a friend. You won’t want to let them down by not showing up!
2. If you’ve booked an early tee-time, get a good night’s sleep and set your alarm to allow enough time for a decent, fuel-filled breakfast.
3. Prepare your clothes the night before – lay them all out ready, so you haven’t got to root through drawers in the dark to find your layers.
4. Get your golf bag ready in advance and leave it by the door ready to grab and go.
Staying warm is important – it means you’ll enjoy your round more, perform better, won’t get distracted by feeling cold and also means you’re less likely to get injured.
A decent base layer, like the Peter Millar ones we stock in the Pro Shop are ideal. A snood is also a great way to keep the heat from escaping around your neck. It can be pulled up over your face and ears and if you get too warm, it’s small enough for you tuck away in your bag.
A hat, gloves or mittens and some trusty handwarmers are all essential items for enjoying golf in the winter. Make sure you have all these in your golf bag. It’s also worth investing in some coloured golf balls – if you hit a wayward shot, they’re easier to find when the weather is dark and gloomy.
Getting straight out of the warmth of your car and onto the course without warming up is never a good idea, particularly in the winter, so a thorough warm up is essential. Before you even pick up a golf club, jog on the spot or do some star jumps – this will get the blood circulating and let your mind and body know you’re about to do some physical exercise. Then stretch key muscle groups – your upper back (lats), chest (pecs) and shoulders. Then your thighs (quads and hamstrings), calf muscles and hip flexors.
Allow time to head over to the range to practice your swing too. Your body will then be more prepared meaning when you tee off, you’re likely to hit a better shot.
Take a break and re-fuel
Staying warm whilst also focusing on playing a decent round is tiring and after 9 holes on a bitterly cold winter’s day, you’ll have earned a break, so make sure you take it. Carrying a hot drink in a thermos is a good idea, but an actual pitstop is even better and if your game isn’t going quite as well as you’d hoped, it’s a chance to re-set too. At Centurion Club, the Halfway House is perfectly positioned for a mid-round break. A selection of drinks, snacks and something more hearty like a bacon bap are all available and will give you the re-fuel you need to take on the final nine holes of your round.
Off the course – stay golf fit
It may be that you are a fair weather golfer and no amount of encouragement, tips or advice is going to get you out onto the golf course in winter, so it’s important to keep your body golf fit for when spring arrives and you’re ready to dust off your clubs. Maintaining strength, mobility and flexibility when you’re not playing golf is critical and will mean you’re not back to square one after a winter hiatus. Some simple lower body strength exercises, like squats, lunges and glute bridges together with some upper body exercises including pushups, shoulder presses, tricep dips and plank will help maintain strength and mobility. These followed by a regular stretch routine, focusing on the major muscle groups, particularly your hips and back are a great way to ensure you’re golf fit come spring. You may want to invest in a foam roller or trigger point ball too as these are great aids for reducing tight muscles and inflammation.
Practice off the course
For anyone who loves golf, it’s hard to even walk past a golf club without picking it up and practicing your swing, so do just that but make it a regular thing. If you have space outside at work or on in your garden at home, use it to your advantage – instead of heading for another coffee break, grab a golf club instead and have a bit of a practice. Invest in some foam balls and then practice your swing where there’s space – this will help maintain your mobility. Try chipping into a net or towards a specific target in your garden, or practice putting into a plastic cup. Use a mirror too, this is a good way to check your position.
Lighter and Shorter
There is no doubt about it, playing a round of golf in the winter is harder work than in the spring and summer season. Make sure you lighten your load and carry just half a set of clubs. Expect to play slower and don’t be afraid to call it a day after 9 holes. Even with the best advice and tips, sometimes a full round in the biting winter cold is simply too much. The reward of a warm shower and something to eat and drink in the clubhouse, knowing that you’ve managed to get out on the course at all, are something to be proud of.
Head Coach, Mark Gregson-Walters provides a great range of golf performance programmes, available in person or via the GolfNow app. To book a lesson with Mark contact him on:firstname.lastname@example.org