As long as there isn’t any snow on the ground, most of the Island’s golf courses will remain open throughout the winter. Make sure to call ahead though, just to be sure, as hours of operation may vary from course to course.
Playing golf in the winter requires a little more preparation than the rest of the year – it’s not just throwing the clubs in the car and heading to the course. Dressing properly to account for the cold weather is a necessity. Think layers. Start with a skin-tight layer of spandex or other easy-movement material – Under Armour is one of the big names in this area – then a warm shirt that you might wear on the golf course in the fall, followed by a waterproof jacket. Even a warm winter day with temperatures hovering in the 40s can result in hypothermia over the long haul if golfers aren’t careful.
While warmth is key, most golfers will find winter play no fun if they can’t actually perform their full swing, so ensure a good range of motion with each layer you put on.
Gloves are also essential; all-weather gloves aren’t most golfers’ first choice for hand wear, but they will keep hands warm enough to properly grip a club and secure a firm hold.
And just because it’s cold doesn’t mean hydration isn’t as much a concern as it is in the summer. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids while out on the course to combat fatigue and dehydration.
Paul Mangone of Ridge said he plays wintry rounds a few times a year, taking advantage of the abnormal conditions wherever possible.
“Some of the courses with a lot of water will freeze in the winter, so I can kind of cheat and bounce the ball off the ice,” Mangone said. “Depending on how frozen it is, sometimes the ball will just sit there though, so it doesn’t always work.”
It’s not just the water that freezes either. The frozen ground can make for atypical play, giving the ball more bounce and requiring more force to get a tee in the ground. Mangone said he always takes a hammer with him in the winter to pound a tee into the grass if necessary.
Golf balls also tend to freeze up and become more dense, making it harder to drive them as far in the winter. For that reason, many experts recommend clubbing up in the cold weather to restore some of that extra distance they may lose when the weather turns bad.
And speaking of golf balls, winter’s a good time to use some of those yellow ones you got as a gift from your family member or friend who thought they simply looked prettier than the white ones. Many golf courses tend to have frost or leaves on them in the winter, and the yellow balls will stand out a lot better than the traditional white ones.
Using the right tips and tricks can make for a truly enjoyable winter golfing experience that will ensure you don’t miss a beat once the actual season rolls around.