Is winter the best time of year to play golf?
Yes, says Alex Perry
I love playing golf in the winter. Quieter courses, wrapping up nice and warm, the crisp, fresh air – what’s not to love?
And call me an old man if you want but I much prefer a nice hot cup of tea to a beer when I come back into the clubhouse.
But on top of my several reasons for preferring winter over any other season to play golf? Clothing.
At the height of summer, even the most breathable polo shirt will leave you feeling hot and bothered – and no one wants that.
And while I’m a big fan of golf in spring and autumn, I just find myself in a constant battle with my apparel. Am I warm enough? Shall I take an extra layer? I know, I’ll wear a thick sweater for the first few holes and then once I’m warm I’ll whip it all off and force it into that big pocket on the side of my bag that never quite fits everything I want it to because I’ve had to bring everything in my wardrobe due to the stupid unpredictable British climate.
Oh, and the rain! I forgot about the rain.
No. Just no. Give me a lovely crisp winter morning please. I know I need three layers, I know I need my mittens, I know I need my thick socks. And, more often than not, I’ll be on the 18th green with exactly the same get up in which I set off from the 1st tee in.
No, says Mark Townsend
There are few bigger fans of winter golf than me (probably a bit of an exaggeration) but you’d be hard pressed to say that it’s the best time of year to play.
The answer to that, of course, is spring. Summer runs the slight risk of over-heating, large bundles of rough and packed courses. Autumn brings leaves and they, to the golfer, can be a genuine misery while winter, for all its links and heathland merits, can be, to put it bluntly, bloody freezing.
With spring we have the optimism that everything might be different this year, our winter programme has gone well and we’ve all managed to rebuild our swings in seven sporadic visits to the range. There might be a new club or two in the bag that we haven’t really seen properly in the depths of winter; putts are rolling out and there’s a bit of bounce in the turf now.
And we know how to dress for spring. Generally speaking there’s no need for waterproofs or compression garments, on a good day a polo and whatever your choice of accompaniment should suffice. Your spikeless shoes can resurface and won’t get a battering and your bag, minus the mittens and snoods and bobble hats, is now a lighter load.
Better still you’re still in all the competitions, mainly because you haven’t yet played a game, and the diary is filling up nicely with a few away days.
Winter has gone, there are maybe six months of golf ahead and, come the end of it all, everything will be so different to how it is now.