How Does Winter Affect Your Golf Game?

How Does Winter Affect Your Golf Game? 1

THE FIRST SNOW FELL in our mountains early this morning. It snowed all day, a wet snow that’s not ideal for sledding but makes a dangerous snowball. Although winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, snowfall and temperatures dipping into the 20s make me feel as if winter has arrived. It also signals the end of golf for some.

I saw a poll at that asks how the winter months affect readers’ golf game. I took the poll, but I was more interested in the results (so far):

39% Golf is year round for me, there is no off-season

22% I will read articles online, in books and magazines

15% I will travel somewhere that I can play

13% I will find some place that is open outside, even if I hit balls into the snow

11% I will take lessons at an indoor facility

The truth is, winter will not affect my golf game at all. I haven’t played a round of golf or even hit a ball since July. I’ve been hampered by a strained left shoulder. Nothing too serious, but it’s kept me off the golf course.

My “Armchair Golfer” moniker is well earned. 

Winter Golf in Seattle

There was a time when I was an avid winter golfer. It was years ago when I lived in Seattle. I played with a golf buddy named Russ who was a former college golfer at the University of Washington. Russ hit a nice ball. His college golf days included tournament rounds with players such as Fred Couples and Corey Pavin.

For a couple of years, Russ and I were members of a small private club south of Seattle. Our rule of thumb for winter rounds: If it was 40 degrees or above, we teed it up. If it rained, we played. (It always rains in Seattle.) We put on our rain suits and golf boots. We slogged through nine holes after work and 18 on Saturdays. We tried to keep our golf gear from getting completely soaked. (We never succeeded.) We always walked. On weekends, we ate lunch in the clubhouse and watched sports.

The days weren’t all that pretty, the course was often a bog, and the ball didn’t go very far in the cold and wet. Still, I loved it. I never regretted being on the golf course on those gray winter days. 

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Jeff Cushner/Flickr)

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

5 thoughts on “How Does Winter Affect Your Golf Game?”

  1. I live in Michigan and I called my game quits in November in spite of about four or five nice days between my last round and 20 degree days.

    This was my first year really caring about golf though, I got some new clubs, played in excess of 20 rounds, and did a lot of reading and practice. My first round was 123 with a friend of mine from high school that I still see occasionally when our group is all in town together (we're all in our low 20s). I steadily worked my way down to a mid-90s player.

    Until my last round of the year: 84. I decided that was the most impressive showing I would be able to post this year so I stopped there.

    I'm in the group from your survey that will be reading a lot and practicing at home lagging putts between table legs and down hallways. But I wish I could be in the group that doesn't take an offseason and can play year-round; what an advantage that would be.

  2. Average: Living that far north, I imagine your golf season could be pretty short. Winter golf is definitely possible here in the Mid Atlantic for the heartiest golfers.

    Adam: Congratulations on the progress you've made this year. Suspending play after your 84 was a smart move. You'll have positive thoughts when you return.

  3. Hi,

    Essex, Eastern England – 20 miles North East of London. We are suffering from rain and wind – not that cold yet – there has not been any heavy frosts. We are just going through this period of heavy rain and water logged courses we've become accustomed to in recent years.
    The ground will be frozen by mid Jan I guess and we'll probably get snow but usually only a week or two. We'll pretty much carry on all year until it snows and settles. Going from waterlogged courses in Dec to a frozen course in January is always fun! You gain a 100 yards – but not necessarily bouncing in the right direction :o)


  4. For me the winter is actually a good time to sharpen my swing. I can work things out without feeling like I need to go to the course and prove it. One of the things that frustrates golfers is taking lessons, practicing what's been taught, not seeing immediate improvement and giving up on what was taught.

    Without the opportunity to go to the golf course, I can really focus on those swing changes and give them an opportunity to be stored in the muscle memory.


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