Why winter is the perfect time to take up golf

The Scoop

LG guest columnist Emma Ballard gives her take on why the off season is actually the ideal time to try golf for the first time

Winter golf is for the foolhardy.

It’s for the hard core golfers who will play in their regular four ball come rain or shine (or even snow).

But for most of us, winter golf mainly involves cleaning down your clubs and maybe making the odd trip to the driving range.

So to suggest that now is the perfect time to get back into golf, or to start playing it for the first time, may seem a little crazy.

Well, myself and a few others did just that two years ago.  I firmly believe that it was starting our golfing ‘journey’ in the colder months that ultimately led us to still be playing regularly two years later. We also never put our clubs into hibernation over the winter.

Get Into Golf was my route back into regular playing and although I had recruited two friends to join me, this didn’t feel enough.

So through our super-friendly school mums Facebook group I hit upon the first reason why winter, or more specifically January, is an ideal month to get people playing golf. This reason is the power of new year’s resolutions.

Lots of us make resolutions and these very often revolve around getting fitter or challenging ourselves to try something new.

So when I posted to the group on January 2nd, I immediately struck a chord with a number of them. In less than a week we had 20 Mums signed up for a five-week course.

It was amazing to see these women either playing golf for the first time or taking it back up after years of not hitting a ball.  All in near zero degrees and at 8pm in the evening.

With not a heater in sight, we came back every week and then for a further five weeks after that!

Through tapping into a new year’s resolution and surviving a cold winter on the range, it meant that by the time the evenings started to get lighter we had built up a range of skills that we could transfer to the course with a modicum of confidence.

We progressed from outside practice areas, to the par-3 course and finally to the main course in time for the warmer summer evenings.

I can’t think of a more perfect reward for all the time we had spent trying to get the basics right.

To make golf a year-round sport for groups of people that may only be able to commit to one coaching session a week seems like a good idea to me.

We’re constantly told that our free time is precious and greatly restricted, so why should we further shorten our possible golfing time by stopping over the winter?

Also, my golf buddies and I feel that we’re not good enough golfers to hang up our clubs for winter. A few even wondered whether they would even get the motivation back when summer came around again.

Quite frankly, if you can survive one winter of practice then you are fully prepared for the next one. You also know that it does eventually come to an end and that during those occasional glorious summer evenings you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but on the golf course.

I appreciate this isn’t going to work at every club, especially if you don’t have the luxury of a floodlit driving range like we have at Bromsgrove Golf Centre. Also winter golf isn’t for everyone.

But a perfect opportunity is being missed if you do not tap into the new year, new psyche that a lot of people go through every January.

Recruiting new golfers can be difficult at any time of year as you’ll always have to contend with the winter ‘off’ months in some way. Surely you’ll retain more players if you continue to play during this time?

The first few years are the most difficult for any new golfer so why not embrace the fact that winter golf can have many brilliant qualities (if you wear enough layers that is!)

Get people swinging into action when the golf course and club is in a quieter and less intimidating state.

This foolhardy golfer thinks it was the best decision she ever made!

About the author

Since graduating from university, Emma Ballard has spent the last 11 years working within the golf industry. She is currently the marketing manager at Medi8 Limited.

On a day-to-day basis Emma works with golf brands, companies, and clubs to grow their presence and increase their exposure through online marketing and social media.

She is also part of the England Golf’s Women & Girls Advisory Group and she volunteered as an Ambassador for Women’s Golf Day. She is very passionate about getting more women in golf. Follow Emma on Twitter at @Medi8Emma

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