It’s not long now until the clocks move back and we have colder, early evenings and very different conditions for golf. Below are 5 key points to help you adapt your game:
1) The ball will not go as far so know your yardages!
One great advantage of softer, wetter green conditions is that the ball stops quickly but you have to land the ball on the green to see that. My previous tip about playing to the back of the green yardage is a good one here. Also, don’t let your ego take over and take an extra club or two in order to make sure your ball makes the full journey. No one really cares if you hit a 5 iron instead of an 8 iron if the ball finds the target!
2) Practice from different lies
When the ground gets softer, the ball tends to bury to the bottom of the rough a bit more. The rough itself is also a lot thicker and heavier as it is wetter making these shots thoroughly difficult. Try practicing from all of the lies that you come across on the course, particularly around the green.
As important as your technique may be, the winter conditions highlight your adaptability more than any other time of year.
3) Green reading gets easier
As the greens are slower you have to hit your putts harder (relatively). This means that the ball will not break as much as usual on the green. Let’s say you have a putt that you would usually play a break of 12 inches to, try a 6 inch break instead and assuming the ball reaches the hole it shouldn’t be far away.
4) Warm up for longer
This may sound relatively obvious but it takes so much longer to warm up your swing in the winter. Make sure you dedicate some time before you play on a driving range or even just stretching.
5) Keep your grips and clubface dry
If it’s raining, whatever you do keep your grips dry. If the grips get wet you literally can’t hold the club properly. Hide them under your umbrella or waterproof jacket up until the last moment before you hit.
Also when you do a practice swing/ chip you may get water all over the clubface – wipe it off before you hit. If your clubface is soaking wet the grip you get from the grooves is significantly lower meaning you have less control.
Hopefully you are all wanting to play through the winter as it is such a useful time to improve your game for next year. Maybe some of these tips will help you!
Final point – accept that your scores might not be as good in the winter particularly if you are a shorter carrier of the golf ball off the tee.