We all know it’s been a shocking winter for us golfers. The great thing about golf is that it’s supposed to be a sport you can play all year round. But playing in conditions that are bad even for winter can be a frustrating pastime. But how can you turn this into an enjoyable experience? There are a few things you should remember to maintain your sanity and temper on the course.
Firstly, never forget that winter golf is an entirely different game. So treat it as such, and learn something from the experience! Conditions will rarely be perfect: there will be wind, rain, sleet, snow, frost and maybe even fog. You may lose balls from perfectly good shots in squelchy ground or drifts of leaves.
When that happens, remember that it’s not your fault, so don’t lose the plot. And don’t bother with expensive golf balls: they, like you, won’t deliver their best in dodgy conditions. It’s much less stressful to lose a few conkers than some sparkling new Pro V1s.
Don’t let your head drop when the greens are slow, bobbly or frozen solid. Accept it, play your shots accordingly, and be prepared to laugh at crazy bounces. If the ground is extremely frosty, treat it like a links course in summer. Instead of trying high, soft wedges from fairway tundra, practise some little pitch and runs. Developing different skills really does help to maintain interest and enthusiasm.
Whatever the conditions, there’s always a bright side. You’ll be getting exercise, fresh air, competition and (hopefully) good company. And, even trussed up in waterproofs, you’ll be grooving your swing. In fact it’s a great opportunity to try swinging more compactly and smoothly. By not striving for distance you’ll be amazed at how your timing can improve.
And then there’s the fun you can have playing with someone who refuses to acknowledge the change of seasons. It’s fantastic watching a thinned 9-iron careering wildly off a permafrost putting surface into icy bushes at the back of the green… accompanied by ludicrous barks of “Bite! Bite!”…
Stay real and there’s plenty to enjoy about golf in the winter!
Jamil Qureshi has worked with Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Colin Montgomerie. Find out more about the mind coach at www.jamilqureshi.com