Winter golf - is there any point?
Steve Carroll: It may be mild right now but don’t be fooled. As they say on Game of Thrones…winter is coming. That means sub zero temperatures, snow, mats and temporary greens.
I must confess I’m not a fan of the colder months. I like the sun on my back rather than 12 layers and a pair of winter mitts.
That said, I will venture out in the depths of January to hit some balls off a bone-hard fairway and generally be at one with nature.
I know, however, that’s not a universally held opinion.
There are plenty of people at clubs across the land who have said their goodbyes and stuck the clubs in the garage – not to be uncovered until the mercury rises and the competition season gets cracking once more.
So which is it to be? Do we carry on regardless or take a break until the spring? Is there a point to winter golf?
Mark Townsend: Pros of winter golf are I get to show off my winter knitwear collection (which is the same black/grey/white jumper I’ve had for nine years), you can chip off a mat, you might play snooker afterwards, it is acceptable to have a pint at 11.30am and I can wear a bobble hat.
Cons of winter golf – it’s a bit cold.
DM: Yes. Because we all need to spend some time outside and playing golf is the best way to do that. I have a theory that it’s more important to be playing a good golf course in winter than it is in summer. Anywhere is nice in July.
But a soggy parkland with mud coming up to your ankles in December is not good. Whereas that links or heathland will still be dry and the greens will be firm enough to make putting worthwhile.
Jordan Elliott: I am most definitely a ‘fair weather golfer’, once it gets to September (football season), my clubs go into the garage to start collecting dust and cobwebs.
I will traipse through my garage to get my clubs back out for the NCG Christmas Challenge, but apart from that they won’t be coming out until at least March.
James Savage: Winter golf can be better than summer golf in many ways. Expectations are lowered, you expect it to be horrible but then it’s actually good fun.
In the summer you expect it to be brilliant and then are often left disappointed. It feels like you’ve achieved more when you’ve battled the elements a bit.
You haven’t got to rotate the same two polo shirts like in the summer and you can wear some proper shoes.
Obviously a muddy course isn’t much fun but there are plenty of decent winter tracks that will stay firm with decent greens.
Just get out there and do it.
Tom Irwin: What would you know about Winter golf? You spend November to February swanning off to sunny climes, Portugal this week, Vegas next week, Florida after that.
You treat this place like a hotel. It’s just not fair James. We are just not a team anymore. When you get back I really think we need to sit down and talk about where this relationship is going.
Winter golf used to be awful – bad clothes, badly drained courses, and bad weather. These days we don’t really have a winter, and the world class heathland I play at drains just fine, thanks.
Winter golf clothes are amazing, they hide your moobs, and there is no better thing than getting properly dressed for winter golf, 4 layers of the finest synthetic fabrics, proper socks, mittens with those tea bag things in, enormous shoes, and a good beanie.
An opportunity to wear tights is something that no man should ever pass up.
Craig Middleton: I love winter golf. I prefer getting nice and wrapped up with a few layers, I’m weird like that.
I always tend to play better in the winter too. No idea why – maybe because there’s hardly anyone on the course that can see me duff an iron. Less pressure!
So please please please don’t get rid of it.
Georgina Simpson: I love and I hate winter golf…
If it’s one of those crisp clear days, blue sky, sunshine and firm to normal underfoot I’m in. If there is mud anywhere, you won’t see me near.
I used to use a lot of indoor facilities in the depths of winter, my coach John Eyre has a great indoor facility at Woodsome Hall, with a chipping/putting green and a simulator above the shop.
As long as you have a few mirrors around, it’s great for winter training and you can still feel your fingers!