Well it’s that time of year again when the evenings are getting shorter and the last strands of summer begin to disappear with that Autumnal chill taking prominence. Autumn gradually leads us into the winter months and often a lot of amateur golfers tend to hibernate their clubs. Depending on your location throughout the globe there comes a time every year when golf stops resembling golf. In Ireland that is usually around November time, when the ball seems to travel about 20 yards shorter than it did in August as a result of too much clothing which inhibits any swing fluidity, also, the fairways become slightly slower while the greens seem to become dead and lifeless.
The enforced hiatus from the game during the winter months can often lead to golfers dreading the ensuing March or April when they take to the fairways once again. The clubs will inevitably feel like foreign objects and it can often take two or three solid months of play to rediscover the form of the previous summer. So the old adage that practise makes perfect is even truer for a game such as golf when the skills involved need to be critically precise. The Golf Academy at Fota Island Resort is an ideal environment to hone your skills especially during the winter months with some enticing membership offers at present.
Winter golf in cork can be a different game than the summer variety particularly when jack frost or a hint of snow begins to cover the landscape. But the cold climate should not be an excuse for you not to enjoy the game. Often there are no lines and slow play may not be an issue if there is no one on the course but you! That water hazard you had trouble carrying in the summer months may be frozen and those flies that plagued you during those long summer evenings are no where to be seen. It may not be exactly the same game you played during the summer but if you prepare correctly, it can be just as, if not more, fun and exhilarating.
Some Winter Golf Tips
In his blog, Gareth McShea provides some insightful tips for the amateur golfer when preparing for winter golf:
Check your golf shoes and make sure they are waterproof. If not, you might want to consider buying a new pair. When cold weather comes, it brings frost and moisture on the grass along with it. This can soak your feet which can lead to an overall feeling of discomfort. Also, ensure that you have sufficient waterproofs for the wet months ahead.
When dressing for the cold, put on layers of clothing, as opposed to wearing thicker items like a lined sweater. Multi layering will provide more warmth and you’ll be able to easily remove a layer if necessary. Under Armour compression garments are great for these times.
Always wear a hat that provides warmth for the head and protects the ears. You may not be nominated for the most fashionable person of the year award, but you’ll never have to worry about frostbite, or a headache from the cold.
Performance gloves are an essential piece of kit in the cold. New materials have allowed manufacturers to create pairs of gloves which are highly effective in combating the cold and wet. All of this is achieved without any compromise in feel.
During cold weather, the air is denser or heavier, which slows the flight of the ball and the distance it will travel. You might have to use more club than normal for a given distance. For example, a 6-iron might have to be used for a distance that would normally require a 7-iron, and so on.
With the ground getting softer it is important to keep the grooves on your clubs clean. Clean grooves impart backspin on the ball which in turn creates flight, so include a dry clean towel and a 3-in-1 multi-club cleaner as part of your kit.
Your risk of injury increases with cold stiff muscles, so keep moving. This is not the time of year for reading putts from ten different angles (there is no right time of year for that!). If possible get to the club in time to do some gentle light stretching before launching a missile off the first tee or you could partake in some spinning and core classes, enlist in a boot camp, avail of the swimming lessons or indulge in some Ashtanga yoga classes at the Fota Island Spa.