“Winter golf” has different meanings depending on what area of the country you happen to be in. In Florida or Arizona, it means peak season. In Minnesota and Massachusetts, it means a time to put the clubs into storage. But for some areas, the weather is just warm enough to keep the greens cut and the pins in the hole, but still cool enough that you’ll need to properly prepare yourself for a day in the elements.
One of those regions is Charleston, South Carolina, one of the premier golf destinations in the country. Most courses are open here all 12 months, but at this time of year, there are days when frost warnings and dipping wind chills can make a round of golf as trying as it is enjoyable.
We asked Jeff Minton, PGA Professional and Director of Golf at Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, SC to advise you on how to prepare yourself for playing golf in colder conditions.
With the cold weather upon us the following tips will help keep you and your game in tip top shape. The tips are geared towards golf however they would be beneficial for all sports.
- It is important to stretch before playing golf anytime of the year; however in the winter months it is imperative. On the first tee or at the practice range spend a few minutes doing some golf stretches. An easy stretch to do to improve your shoulder turn is to put a golf club behind your back and between arms, bend from the waist slightly and slowly rotate your shoulders level as if you are making a backswing and a forward swing. This will make that first tee-shot much more comfortable!
- The way you dress in the winter season will have significant impact on your swing or stroke. Try to avoid wearing tight fitting, heavy outerwear. This will hamper your ability to create the proper motion and not allow your body and arms to swing freely. When heading to the course or the courts on those chilly mornings dress in several loose fitting layers that you can shed when the temperatures rise. Keeping you head, hands and feet warm will also make those winter rounds much less frigid. Wear a hat, warm socks and winter gloves. This will take the bite out of the winter chill.
- If you can, walk the Golf Course. Walking will keep you warm not only by the exercise you get, but also will reduce the chill of riding in a golf cart.
- While swing the golf club in cold weather focus on maintaining a steady tempo throughout your swing and good balance. This will ensure that you are hitting solid shots that will fly farther and stay on line.
- On days where the winter chill is too much for you to handle (for me that's below 60 degrees) there are a couple drills you can do indoors to improve your game. The first is to position yourself in front of a full length mirror and take some simulated swings while watching yourself in the mirror. The more your eyes see the proper positions in your golf swing the easier it will be to re-create that motion when playing a round. This is also great tip for Tennis players as well.