Winter golf: why is it even a thing?
Over the last couple of months I’ve been trying to understand the concept of winter golf.
Back in the summer, I naively presumed that everyone pretty much stopped playing altogether over the winter. Unless of course you lived somewhere sunny or you were a professional golfer. But I’ve recently discovered that lots of very keen (or unhinged) golfers choose to carry on like nothing has changed and weirdly even claim to enjoy playing in the cold.
At the moment I’m hoping to continue to play very occasionally over the next few months. Mainly out of fear that if I don’t play at all I’ll forget everything and come March I’ll barely be able to hit a ball. Which when you work in an environment where you could be asked to do something golf related at any moment, is a pretty risky position to be in. Plus, I don’t want my many hours of lessons to be a complete waste of time.
It’s a shame because despite still feeling generally confused about golf, I can see the appeal of it during the summer.
Spending plenty of time in the sunshine, getting a nice tan, enjoying cold drinks on a sunny terrace, and making the most of the lighter evenings are all things I can appreciate and get on board with.
However, in the winter, all the things that I enjoy about golf completely disappear.
Right now, golf just seems to involve standing in a muddy field, shivering, while trying to hit a ball through the wind and rain.
For everyone else in the office the main complaints seem to be ‘having to play off the mats’, ‘not being able to play off the white tees’, and having to use things called ‘temporary greens’. I’ve gathered enough to know that these are considered negative outcomes, despite not really understanding what they mean or exactly why it’s a bad thing that you have to start slightly closer to the hole.
So from my recent attempts at golf I have come up with my own reasons for why winter golf probably doesn’t deserve to be a thing.
Firstly, I have no idea what to wear. My summer golf shoes are white and not particularly warm, my jumper and jackets aren’t thick enough, and my gloveless hand is freezing at all times. I’ve also gathered that golfing in wellies, a parka, mittens, and a huge blanket scarf like I would normally choose to wear if I found myself trudging through a freezing field in November, is not the done thing.
I’ve been told that ‘lots of layers’ are the only solution. But I don’t understand how you can wear enough layers to keep warm, yet still have to ability to easily swing your arms.
Secondly, everything about the game becomes more difficult. The wind means it is almost impossible to hit it straight, and the covering of leaves on the ground makes it even harder to find your ball.
Lastly, the greens suddenly become full of tiny holes, which Google tells me is called ‘aerating’. As well as looking weird this process seems to make putting even harder than it was before – but I guess that’s all part of the “fun”.
On the plus side, if you are brave enough to visit the range post 5pm, you’ll discover that it does look pretty cool floodlit in the dark. Playing in the dark and the cold also gives a greater sense of achievement. You come away feeling smug and pleased with yourself, even if in reality you didn’t work that hard and most of your shots were a disaster. It certainly allows you to justify a celebratory hot chocolate anyway.
It’s also helpful to have more things to blame when you are playing particularly badly. I’m hoping that I can continue to blame the wind, rain, leaves, mud etc until May at the earliest.
So for now I can conclude that winter golf is mainly for the slightly insane, but as I’m gradually heading over into that bracket anyway, I’ll keep trying to persist with it.