November Newsletter

1) Merry Christmas and Thanks
2) Playing Golf in the Rain
3) Playing Golf in the Cold

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We’ve all been there, you’re looking forward to a great day on the golf course, but the forecast calls for rain or the temperature suddenly drops into ski-style weather territory.

For most of the year perfect golf-weather days are rare, especially during the Autumn / Winter seasons, so if you want to stay sharp year-round, it’s important to be prepared to battle the elements. Here’s how to give yourself the best chance to thrive when you’re faced with a round in the cold or rain.

Playing Golf in the Rain

Like all good boy scouts / girl guides, being prepared is the big factor here. When it comes to playing in the rain you need to have ready a complete set of water-repellent equipment:

A Big Golf Umbrella – not a £2.99 job that may just about cover one of your hands.

Rain gloves, yes they do make them and yes they do work.

Rain hood (for clubs) you’d be amazed at how many golfers forget this, If you’re in the market for a new bag then consider a waterproof one, they are all the rage at the moment and remain at a competitive price.

Waterproof hat – try to get one that has a big rim at the back, it stops the water going down your neck

Waterproof shoes – look after them and they will look after you.
Towels – large towels and more than one.

Next, do you know your golf bag? What I mean by that is to make sure you know where everything is located; the last thing you want is to go pocket searching looking for your favourite marker when the heavy rain starts pouring down. Organise that bag and remember what your put in each pocket.

Make sure the moment you venture outside, even if it’s to putt before you play, that the umbrella is open and at this stage covering your clubs. Most golfers have an umbrella holder on their trolley these days.

You’ve seen it on TV and it’s a great tip to hang some extra gloves and a towel on the ribs underneath the brolly. Plan on keeping the umbrella open for the entirety of your round, unless the rain stops. I’ve even seen golfers with two umbrellas, one for them and one for the clubs!

Use the towel to dry your grips before every shot. If you opt to use regular gloves instead of rain gloves, the towel is also handy for keeping your hands dry.

Staying as dry and warm as possible will make a world of difference, so try to minimize your practice swings and time spent out from under the umbrella.

One last tip: after you replace your ball on the green after marking, keep your umbrella over it as long as possible to reduce the amount of water that falls on the ball before you putt, but avoid slow play at all cost’s.

Playing Golf in the Cold

The goal is to stay as warm as possible, when it’s cold we don’t want to move around freely and our swings become restricted so therefore layering is important. The cold also needs preparation and some of the things you’ll need are below:

Get a nice base layer, these compression garments are very popular now and are so lightweight but keep you nice and cosy.

A second layer is also vital, something like a fleece lined top or a performance fabric jumper and finally for the really cold days a windbreaker or rain jacket.

Although this is now disputed, if you do have hair like me then you will tend to loose a lot of heat through your head, so headwear is important. Ditch that baseball style cap and go for a beanie style, you can even get ones that are insulated; it makes a big difference to me.

One very popular item is winter mitts, the type that are large and you wear on both hands, buy some handwarmers and leave them inside those gloves. Put the gloves back on immediately after you’ve played your shot, its important to keep those hands warm.

Another no-brainer tip: Wear your waterproof trousers over your golf trousers, in extreme cold some folks wear thermal underwear, golf trousers and rain trousers.

Depending on the course you’re playing, walking will almost always keep you warmer than riding.

Make sure you club up, too, because losing distance in the cold is a real thing! You should also try to keep your ball in your pocket as often as possible, unless you have a hand-warmer stashed there, in which case it would be against the rules in competitions. In a friendly game you could switch golf balls between holes.

Finally, I know of many people that keep a little flask in their bag to have a little sip of something here and there between holes. A thermos full of hot chocolate or tea would probably have a similar effect for me as a non-drinker.

Martin Rathbone PGA - Head Teaching Professional - Surbiton Golf Club
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