November 2018 Newsletter – – 07958785326

Jack's Back

OK, so this year the course at Surbiton has been presented in the best condition I’ve ever seen it and in my opinion, the presentation was as good as any course in surrey.

As we now creep further into winter the course will start to change and the chances are you will be looking at a landscape that’s appearing a little bleak to say the least, add to that the fact the grass is about as common as gold dust and it’s a sure sign our friend “Jack Frost” is back.

The key to playing better golf when Jack is around is by adapting your game and indeed adapting your expectations.

Before you start – Warm up Your Engine

If I had a £1 for every time I see a golfer walk up to the first tee and just start playing I’d be a very rich man, why put yourself at a disadvantage before you’ve even started playing. Are you really that anxious to get under way and possibly injure yourself?

When it’s cold and frosty do you jump straight into your car and drive off? The body, just like your car, needs to warm up before you play and when its cold outside it takes longer than normal. Dynamic stretching for 5 minutes can really help you on the first hole; you need to work on things like lower back, hamstrings, wrists and shoulders, how about a brisk walk around the car park to raise your heart rate? Alternatively you can do the “Miguel Angel Jimenez” warm up (see video below) but please do not even attempt this if you have any aches, pains or injuries, please consult your doctor first.

Trajectory Tip

Cold frosty mornings are not always bad for your game if you use them to your advantage. Chilly mornings do affect the flight of the ball and although it doesn’t go as far through the air as normal it does go further along the ground. This is the best time to lower the launch angle of your shots and get them to run like a sprinter when they land. If you can hook the ball at will then even better, a hook shot with hard ground is a great combination for extra distance.

Smart Approach to Greens

Now you know how to play shots from the tee we need to look at our approach shots, the frozen ground can really hurt balls flying into the green that is unless you can hit shots that make the ball land like a butterfly with sore feet. I’ve seen shots hit onto a frozen green that bounce 20ft plus in the air and shoot straight off the green again. You have to play these shots like you are playing any “Open” championships where a low, short and running approach into a green is your friend.

The Greens

Frosty greens can sometimes resemble a road all dug up ready for re-surfacing so don’t expect to hole many putts. The ball can speed up or slow down depending on how much frost there is and the same applies to the break of the putt. One thing to remember is the grass is not growing so don’t be fooled into allowing extra break, just add more focus to the pace.


Winter golf means lowering your expectations, there are way too many obstacles out there hampering your game and you are not going to do as well as you can on a nice warm summers day. Play lots of golf where individual scoring is not the focus, team games or friendly match play takes away the obsession of keeping score. Try to stay calm as you play in the winter especially if you are a club slammer, doing that into rock hard ground will bring you a trip to the doctors and a forced break from golf.

I hope all this helps you enjoy golf over the winter and I look forward to seeing you all soon.


Martin Rathbone PGA (AA-AAT) Head Teaching Peofessional - Surbiton Golf Club