We all know winter’s coming and, given that the average age of most golf clubs is well over 50, a lot of us have had plenty of previous experience of the changing seasons.
Winter, as we learnt at school, generally involves the colder months of the calendar and doesn’t typically lend itself in the UK to playing golf.
My mindset in any walk of life is generally appalling but when it comes to winter golf I rate myself the chirpiest person on the planet. I can’t get enough of it.
If I had my way the golfing calendar would run from September to March where none of us would break into a sweat, we’d all get out more, there would be no rough, courses are shorter, there would be no medals, we’d try harder with our knitwear and the problem of slow play would be solved as all the courses are half empty.
In the past week I’ve played more golf than I’ve played in the past two months, back-to-back rounds no less, and it was incredible despite my body nearly shutting down before a ball had even been struck on the first day before a day of temporary greens on the next.
But we all got round, it all resembled the game we play in the summer and it generally flattered our collective limited skills.
So, in a bid to put an end to all the nonsense talked about the flaws of winter golf played in 2˚, I’ve collated a name-and-shame guide to the winter golf whiners…
1. ‘I’m too cold’
You will be, it’s sub-zero and you’re about 200 yards from the North Sea. Dress accordingly. If your tootsies are feeling the effects then pop another layer on. Layer yourself up, start with some compression gear and go from there.
Go mad, ask for a snood for Christmas. Bobble up with your headwear, treat yourself to those little tea bag hand warmers. And when you can’t quite catch your breath and hypothermia begins to show signs of setting in try and regulate your breathing.
2. ‘I’m too hot’
In many ways it’s like summer isn’t it as we’re never really happy whatever the weather? That compression top is beginning to ride up around your oversized paunch and things are getting a little uncomfortable behind the scenes.
Have a Plan B, don’t be afraid to layer down. Slip behind a tree and go to the extraordinary lengths it requires to get your compression suit off or, alternatively, don’t skimp and purchase one that promises to do the business whatever the weather, something I’ve never really understood.
3. ‘The mat’s pointing the wrong way’
Come on son, people used to go down the pit or have fought world wars while still in their teens and you’re not happy with the way a tee fits your eye at the 12th.
Again, see it as another challenge and try and shape one down there. Alternatively adjust your feet, eyeline and mindset and just get on with it.
4. ‘How did I miss that putt?’
There is never anywhere more depressing than a green in winter when people expect putts to roll end over end before following the break and dropping in dead weight.
Forget about seeing anything like this at least until June. You wouldn’t go to Wentworth and hold a massive tournament in the third week of May… Oh.
See putting as an endurance test and one that you won’t win. On the flip side every four rounds you’ll get a putt that never looks like going in but it will hit a worm cast at just the right angle before hovering on the edge, just like Tiger in 2005, before toppling in….. In your life have you seen anything etc etc
5. ‘I bloody hate mats…’
Yes yes, we get it. You’re in the kill zone, 6o yards from jazzing one in there to kick-in distance, and you have to lower yourself to playing a shot off your mobile mat that you’ve been trying your best to lose since the 1st tee.
I do get this and I’m happy to admit that I get a bit precious about this despite being secretly delighted that I’m not playing a delicate shot off turf. I could offer a glib solution of gripping down the club and making some small adjustments to your magic move but it’s probably best to have a two-minute chat with your local pro.
Mark’s rundown of the worst winter golf complaints continues on the next page – including a tip that every single one of us would be wise to follow…