Make the most of your winter golf chances

Tyrus York, Kentucky's 2014 PGA Teacher of the Year
Tyrus York, Kentucky's 2014
PGA Teacher of the Year

When the calendar flips to November, golfers basically fall into three different categories thanks to Mother Nature.

For those who live in warm weather locations like Florida and Southern California, it’s business as usual when it comes to their golf games.

At the other end of the spectrum, if golf season hasn’t completely ended until spring yet, it won’t be long before it does for many players, as the weather where they live is just too cold to play and/or keep golf courses open during the winter months.

Then there’s the third group, which I see firsthand in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, and that group is comprised of golfers who live in locations where you can play pretty much year around if you’re willing to brave some colder conditions.

Tolerance for playing golf in colder conditions will vary from player to player, but if you’re someone who is planning on getting out and playing some winter golf in the coming months, there are some things you can do to make the most out of those rounds.

Here are some tips to help you make sure that you’re getting the most out of your winter golf opportunities:

Dress for success:

There have been tremendous advancements from a technology standpoint in winter apparel in recent years. If you’re planning to not only play but play well in cold conditions, make sure you have the best cold weather apparel. Also, when you’re picking clothes that take into account the winter weather you’re likely to see on the course, dress in layers that can be easily removed or added as the temperature and/or wind fluctuate during the round

Adjust for distance losses:

Research shows that cold weather will have an adverse effect on distance when it comes to the golf ball. How much distance you might lose will depend on the temperature and, of course, the amount and direction of wind you’re playing in. If possible, a launch monitor session on a cold day to measure carry distances with various clubs would be a good idea. If not, make sure that you’re prepared to take an extra club or two on approach shots when you see that the ball isn’t carrying as well as usual.

Short game and putting:

These two important areas of your game are largely about feel, and when your hands get cold, your feel is certain to be affected. On cold days, do everything you can to keep your hands warm between shots, whether that means taking advantage of accessories like hand warmers or winter gloves, or that you simply keep your hands in your pockets as often as possible. Additionally, make sure you devote more of your practice or warm-up time to working on distance control for shorter shots

Keep your putting sharp:

One of the best investments you can make to work on your game in the winter is an indoor putting mat. Regardless of how much space you have to work with our your budget, there’s a putting mat that will fit your needs. When the weather is just too bad to practice on an actual putting green, spend 10-15 minutes daily using your putting mat. Focus primarily on making solid contact and your alignment, which will help you tremendously when you can return to the course.

About the Author Tyrus York is a PGA Teaching Professional at the High Performance Golf Academy in Lexington, Kentucky, which is one of only two Golf Channel Academies in the state. He was named the 2014 Kentucky Section PGA Teacher of the Year, and he also serves as the head coach for the Transylvania University women’s golf team.

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