Planning the perfect winter golf trip

We all love the idea of a golf trip during warmer months, and without a doubt, a summer golf trip is much easier to organize and plan. But alas, summer is not a year-round event, whilst golf can be. So occasionally, you may need to organize a golf trip in winter. These are the important points to consider. To be clear also, we are not discussing a golf trip taken during winter when you travel to a warmer location. We are discussing taking a golf trip to a location that is experiencing winter. Obviously, winter golf is not an option for some locations if snow is on the ground. But if you are lucky enough to be able to golf year-round, this is for you.

Look at the positives

Winter golf can be tough, but if you pick a more mild location, there can be some attractive advantages. Decide which of these are important to you when you organize your trip.

  • Off peak rates for most golf courses – Courses previously out of reach may be far more affordable in colder months
  • Get your favorite tee time more easily – No more early starts to avoid the heat, or late starts to access twilight rates. You can start your round after a relaxing breakfast and even have a later night than normal
  • Play at your own pace – With less people on course you will be able to play how you love, be it faster or slower.
  • The course may play easier – Softer greens may be one advantage of winter play, as will potentially clean and place. In extreme winter conditions I can also vouch for a frozen lake once bouncing a ball of mine back onto a green. You need luck like this now and then!

Research course conditions

Sadly some courses don’t respond well to winter conditions, especially extra rain. So it is important to research the courses you want to play to get a feel about whether they will be enjoyable or not. Also, you will want to understand if courses ever get closed for frost or other hazards. There is nothing worse than a course being closed right before your eyes.

If you want to play things as safe as possible, look for sand-based links-style courses. They will generally drain much better if rain does occur. The likes of Bandon Dunes are certainly playable all year round.

Stay as flexible as you can

Ideally, when planning a trip in winter to a winter location, you want to try and keep as much of your trip as possibly flexible. It may cost you a tad more to do it but buying flexible/refundable flights is a great idea. Accommodation providers such as Air BnB will also often allow for last-minute bookings in more off-peak times.

If you can be flexible, you will be able to look at where you are heading a few days out from departure, and if things are horrible, change tact or postpone.

As a bonus of playing in winter too, often the likes of accommodation will be much cheaper.

Be realistic and prepare for challenges

Even the most well-planned winter golf trips can run into bad luck at times. So make sure your group is prepared for less than ideal weather and ideally be aligned on how you will attack things.

  • Ensure everyone has there wet weather gear on hand. And take extra clothes. An extra shirt and pair of socks will go a long way to keeping you comfortable.
  • Will you play regardless of conditions ? Some golfers are happy to play in sideways rain. Some will rather stay at the bar. It’s worth discussing these things before you set off on your trip.
  • Understand if the courses you are planning to play allow you to change plans late if you need too. Or will you be charged either way ? A rain check policy can be a nice safety net.
  • Playing 36 holes may be a challenge, so best to settle for a fun and relaxed 18 holes.
  • Think about the worst case. Sometimes weather may simply not allow you on course. Ensure you have some fun items like playing cards, poker chips or a Xbox/Playstation on hand to kill the time.
  • Perhaps spend more than you normally would on a cosy accomodation so you can relax in warm surrounds post round.

Expert level tips

If you find yourself embarking on a winter trip, there are a few things you may like to consider packing in your golf bag.

  • Hand warmers – For a couple of bucks only you can have the joy of warm hands anytime you need them. Crack open a pair of Hot Hands and put them in your pockets. I’ve found they last just long enough to get through a round. If you want to spend a bit more you can also buy specialist mittens or pouches that will be just as effective and last a lot longer.
  • Actual wet weather gloves – I am not talking about all weather synthetic golf gloves, but actual wet weather gloves you don’t take off from the start of your round to the end. In fact you deliberately need to get them wet so they maintain maximum grip on your gloves. I know this will sound weird … but trust me. Best item I’ve ever put in my bag. I now carry two sets so I don’t feel bad watching a player partner struggle.
  • Whilst I would suggest it could be getting a bit cold if you need these items you can even consider a golf cart heater or a cart cover, which I have used in Myrtle Beach in winter very effectively.

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