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When the sun sets early and frost touches grass, many golfers call it a day. Little do they know, playing golf in winter can be most enjoyable. The clear winter mornings, quieter courses and fabulous deals can make it feel like you’ve hit the jackpot.

What’s more, if you want to improve your game, giving up completely during winter is not the way to go about it. To ensure you hit the ground running when the new season starts, here are 9 ways you can keep your game up to scratch when playing golf in winter…

1. Keep playing

Yes, it might sound obvious – but keeping up the momentum is vital at this time of year. Apart from anything else, you’re likely to improve your skill by testing yourself when playing conditions are at their most trying.

You’ll learn to perfect a wide range of shots when you’re braving the elements, whether it’s the low punch into the January wind or the runner that scampers across a frozen fairway to find an icy winter green.  

After all, these shots will stand you in good stead when the milder weather returns. It might be useful to read Bernard Gallacher’s top tips for playing golf in the rain.

2. Make sure you have the right winter clothes

Playing at your best requires feeling comfortable in what you’re wearing. Here are some of the essential garments to help you brave the winter weather and keep your game at an optimum level…

  • Wet weather gloves – keeping your hands warm and dry is essential when playing golf. These gloves are a great purchase because the more wet they get, the firmer the grip, making holding your clubs a lot easier.
  • Efficient base layer – Wearing layers upon layers is likely to limit your movement, particularly your golf swing. But at the same time, you don’t want to allow your body to stiffen up in the cold. That’s why a thin base layer is the way forward.
  •  Thermal socks – Wearing more than one pair of socks, or a thick pair of winter socks is likely to make all the difference to your body temperature.

3. Have the correct equipment

Playing golf in winter comes with unpredictability, so having equipment that can tackle a range of climates – from wind and rain to frost – is essential. Take a look at the gear you need to make your time on the course more enjoyable this winter…

  • Purchase some winter wheels – they’ll pick up less mud making them easier to move and they’ll also cause less damage to the ground. Though if you can, ditch the golf buggy and carry your bag. The course will thank you for it and you’ll be a lot warmer.
  • Use a high vis yellow ball – they are a lot easier to spot and nowadays there are some premium model balls in yellow, such as Titleist and Srixon.
  • Add loft to your driver – when the ground is boggy and soft your ball simply won’t roll as much. Adding loft to your driver will add more carry and distance.
  • Umbrella – how can we make a list of essential winter golf equipment and leave off a brolly? Rain, sleet or snow, a good-sized umbrella will ensure you stay dry and protect your bag when you’re taking your shot.

4. Keep your golf balls warm

It’s believed that for every ten degrees the temperature drops, a golf ball will carry two yards shorter. If this is the case, you’ll want to keep your golf balls toasty on the course. Keep them in your pocket as much as possible and even throw a hand warmer in there for extra measure.

Having said that, the construction of certain balls makes them ideal for cold weather. Check out this article to find out which balls hold up best in winter and why.

5. Make the most of the driving range

We’re all guilty of making excuses for not going outside in the cold winter months. It’s definitely easier if you’re heading down to a covered (and sometimes heated) driving range.

Visit the driving range as often as possible and work out a practice routine – don’t just bludgeon balls wildly without an objective in mind. Pick a flag or other spot to aim at and work your way through the clubs, hitting different types of shots.

6. Take lessons

Whether at the driving range, down at the club’s practice area or on the deserted course, a series of lessons could make all the difference to your golfing fortunes next season.

The off-season is the perfect time to make changes to your game – you don’t want to make major alterations when competitions are just around the corner.

If you’re not sure where to turn, a simple Google search like “golf lessons near me” will do the trick.

7. Use a golf simulator

Golf simulators are a great way to help your game and let’s face it – practising indoors is a lot more appealing. Although indoor simulators aren’t great for putting, they are fantastic for driving and iron shots.

If you are really into golf, you could purchase your own simulator and practise in your own home. From the value SkyTrak to the state of the art aboutGolf’s Curve, there are plenty  of options out there.

8. Buy a net

If you have space, it might be an option to buy your own golf net so you can practise in the comfort of your own home. Some of the best nets on the market include The Net Return Golf Practice Net which automatically returns the ball back to you, the Rukket Pop Up Golf Net and the IZZO Golf Tri-Daddy Golf Hitting Net.

9. Read and watch

It’s amazing how much you can learn about golf without actually swinging a club or hitting a ball. There are many instructional books that might just strike a chord or spark a thought that could change your game. If not, re-watching golf tournaments or YouTube videos may help you pick up on strategies that will help your game.