Braving the Weather: How to Play Golf in Any Season
The ground is covered in five inches of snow, but you still have that itch. Your golf bag is sitting in the corner, lamplight glinting off the clubs, just begging to be used. Now, we know what you’re thinking—you could turn your frozen pond into a golf skating rink. Ice skates, golf balls, a bottle of beer… You’d have to drill a couple of holes into the ice, but what could go wrong?
Unfortunately, we wouldn’t recommend this method of gameplay. But we know that living in an area with unsavory weather conditions can get in the way of your game. Without the ability to golf, you’re stuck indoors, losing at a game of Scrabble with your wife. Bad weather can negatively affect your golf experience in a variety of ways, which include but are not limited to:
- Cold temperatures can cause your golf balls to travel shorter distances
- Crosswinds can throw your balls off path
- Rain and fog can cause reduced visibility and blind shots
- Snow can get in your boots and cause wet socks, which is honestly the worst
Now, there’s no reason to allow something as trite as Mother Nature to impede you. After all, this is America, and we should have the right to bear golf clubs no matter what the weather. And here’s the thing—golf is already difficult in any weather. Regardless of conditions, the average golfer only has a 1 in 12,500 chance of making a hole in one (which isn’t to say that we consider you to be an average golfer). Everything aside, we don’t want your skills to get rusty, so we’ve researched a few different ways you can golf regardless of the weather.
Consider an Indoor Golf Simulator
If you have the space for it, an indoor golf simulator is a great weatherproof skill-saver. Golfing from the safety of your own home has several perks. For one, you won’t be cold. This helps you avoid being bogged down by uncomfortable outerwear during your game, and it’s also an opportunity to sport entirely unique, funky golf clothes.
To properly use a simulator, you’ll need to purchase a few things, although you may already have a few on hand. Other than the simulator itself, you will need:
- A golf mat
- A projector
- A computer or tablet
- A net to protect your walls (optional)
Depending on your setup, the total cost for everything can range anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000. This excludes your regular supplies, such as your golf balls and your clubs.
Despite the convenience, a potential downside of an indoor golf simulator is the lack of variety. You won’t have the same open space and diversity in landscapes you’d find on the course. Regardless, this setup will save you travel time, club fees, and weather annoyances.
Golfing in the Snow
While golfing in the snow is difficult, we wouldn’t go so far as to call it impossible. The experience is certainly different from what you may be accustomed to, but the game will be enjoyable nonetheless. Follow our tips and you’ll be ready to hit the greens—er, whites—in no time.
We’re going to assume that your intention is to dress warmly in the snow—unless you’re one of those folks who believes in shorts all year round. Just be sure to choose something that will allow mobility. Consider a thermal shirt and underwear, and be sure not to forgo a hat.
You’ll also want to consider walking instead of using a golf cart. This will allow you to stay warmer so that the cold won’t affect your swing.
Use Colored Golf Balls
Unless you have a smart golf ball, finding your balls in the snow will likely be difficult. Get some brightly colored balls that will be easier to spot—just be sure not to skip out on the quality.
While we’re on the topic of golf balls, a warmer ball will travel farther than a cold one. Carry two balls with you and alternate them between holes. Keep the one you aren’t using in your pocket so that it can warm up.
Follow the Rules
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the “preferred lies” rule, which some courses will post in adverse weather conditions. This rule allows players to slightly adjust the position of their ball if it lands in an inconvenient location. Players are allowed to lift their ball to clean it, but the ball must be replaced within six inches of its original position, and not any closer to the hole. Winter weather does not affect the “embedded ball” rule.
Golfing in Extreme Heat
Golfing in high temperatures has some minor perks—for example, you can wear shorts again. However, should the heat be particularly harsh and you know you can’t bail on your friends again, you’ll want to pay attention to a few key things.
If you wait until you’re thirsty to drink, you’re already dehydrated. Keep a minimum of two liters of water on you, and be sure to set times to stop and take a drink. You should also start hydrating at least an hour before exposing yourself to the heat. Avoid coffee and alcohol, as they can both dehydrate you more quickly. Sports drinks are fine, but water is ultimately your best friend.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Protect your body from the sun as much as possible. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat with a brim. Consider popping your collar to keep your neck safe from the sun as well. Even if you usually walk, taking a cart is recommended in extreme heat.
Bring an Extra Pair of Gloves
Two, even. Your gloves are going to get sweaty, which can affect your grip on the club. Having a couple pairs in your bag to switch out will be far more useful than you might think.
Pick an Ideal Time of Day
Try to golf in the early morning or in the evening, if you can. The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., so playing around these times is ideal.
Keep in mind that if the temperature is extremely high, staying home altogether will be safest. if you feel fine initially, you never know when the negative effects of the sun are going to set in. At the end of the day, your health is what’s most important. Same as with a golf score—you want to keep the numbers on your pain scale as low as possible.
Rain or Shine—Happy Golfing!
We admire your determination to golf no matter what the weather—we bet you’d be out there in a hail storm if you could be. Though golf does have its set rules, the game can be adaptable when required. Above all, what’s most important is that you can safely enjoy what you love to do.