25 reasons you should be playing winter golf

The Scoop

The nights are drawing in and temperatures are plummeting - but here's why you should be getting out this winter

by Dan Murphy, Mark Townsend and James Savage

1. You can embrace links golf

“I like all types of golf but I don’t enjoy it so much when it’s wet and my ball plugs,” says Pat Ruddy, golf writer and architect/owner of The European in County Wicklow. “I don’t like finishing my round with my shoes covered in mud and my trousers muddy up to my knees.

“At this time of year it is is the time for the linksmen to rejoice – you can play all 12 months of the year.”

2. Courses are less busy

And that means there’s less pressure. Duffed your tee shot off the 1st? Have another go, my friend, we’ll call it a mulligan. Now, we’re not saying we should throw all the rules out in favour of golfing anarchy, just because we’re a bit chilly.

But there has to be some recompense for having to clean your clubs after every shot, and that’s the peace and quiet and relaxed rules afforded by a course that is less busy.

Then, when you get going, there’s that beautiful moment where you hit your ball into the short winter rough. Blissfully, you pour a cup of coffee from your Thermos and have a really good rummage, because there’s no-one rushing you along.

3. The ready-made excuses

The only problem with sunny days and perfect greens is they severely limit the ready-made reasons for poor play. There are no such problems in winter.

When you block-slice one out of bounds it’s because you are – successfully – working on improving your swing path and it’s just a case of syncing up the clubface to this exciting new angle of delivery.

A missed two-footer is down to the bumpy greens. It’s not surprising an 8-iron from 95 yards comes up short when it’s 2° and into the wind. How can you possibly turn properly when you’re wearing so many layers? On these soft greens, chipping is a lottery.

We could go on, and often do.

4. You don’t come off sweating

With temperatures soaring into the low 20s and the pressure of returning a Stableford score in the low 30s, over-heating is a real problem in summer.

What a joy, then, when you can bask in the afterglow of a par salvaged courtesy of a clean, but not damagingly so, chip-and-run followed by a four-footer that topples in the side without having to mop your brow on a dirty towel.

Afterwards you won’t have a red face or be regretting not bringing a spare pair of socks. With a bit of luck, your base layer won’t even need peeling off your back.

5. OK, so it’s a bit colder and you might need to wear a jumper

Otherwise it’s a genuine treat as everyone else is at home bagging up leaves from their back garden.

There’s none of the faff; you book a time that you want to play, you don’t have to park in the overspill car park, you’re outdoors for three hours and you’ve got all the excuses under the (non-existent) sun as to why you might play badly.

Then you might even get to hog the remote control in the clubhouse and watch the last noggins of Sunday Brunch on C4+1.

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