Welcome 2019. It’s hard to believe another year is beginning and one has just ended. Whether 2018 was a good or bad year for you it’s now over. 2019 is a chance for a new beginning and remember, our lives are what we make of them.
It is said sometimes in jest and sometimes in all seriousness: The game of golf is like life, good decisions can have bad outcomes and bad decisions can have good outcomes.
We now have the chance to make our next decision to start our New Year in what we hope and believe will be the right direction. Just like in golf, our last decision, our last shot is done and over with. It can’t be changed, it is what it is. What we need to concentrate on is our current decision, our current shot. What do we want it to do? If we miss a little, where do we want to end up? Do we play it safe or go for it? What is the risk? These questions apply to golf and life. Some people like to start the year with New Years Resolutions. Have you made New Years Resolutions this year? I usually don’t, but this year, my resolution is to write and publish to this website each week. Keep the content fresh and interesting but still keeping to my overall golf theme.
Hi to all readers, new and returning. I’m glad to be back adding content to my website.
I thought I would start this New Year writing about Winter Golf. Of course winter golf is totally dependent upon where you live or where you are. I live just east of the San Francisco Bay area. This is our winter season and to be honest the weather truly varies from year to year. As in other parts of the country, winters can be long or short, cold or mild, windy or calm, wet or dry. How much golf we play depends upon the weather, how much we want to play and how we deal with the elements. One needs to remember that Golf, a game from Scotland, is meant to be played immaterial of the weather conditions.
When winter first began in late 2018, we had some reasonable weather. Even days which started a little cold, turned nice and if in the sun, nicely warm. Today, it’s raining, sometimes hard, and a high temperature of 50 degrees. It is also very windy and gusty with the wind about 21 mph. Not very good golf weather. Last week, we had cold mornings in the low to mid 30’s, warming up to the 50’s, especially when the sun came out. It was cold enough that there were frost delays of perhaps 1 to 2 hours before play could start at my club. Some people dropped off the tee sheet because of the delay. Of course, the delay also meant it was warmer when we finally got to tee off. Funny, in the summer, we look to get out of the direct sun, stand or park our cart in the shade to stay cool. This time of year, we look for the sun and specifically park or stand in the sun to keep warm. The wind adds another dimension, both to the game and our bodies.
On the other hand we can move or vacation in a warmer climate and still play in shorts. We have many club members who spend the winter in the Palm Desert area. My brother-in-law moved to Florida, where he lives more than half the year, and returns to New York in the heat of the Florida summer. The rest of us, who remain at home, have decisions to make about playing winter golf. How we fare in this weather is a function of attitude, our internal temperature (natural resistance to cold) and how we dress.
- Attitude: I have friends who feel there are enough good days in the year that they don’t want to play in inclement weather. They don’t like rain, even mist, and do not like wind. Others will not deal with cold or wind. Their answer is that they just don’t enjoy the round. Sometimes because of the weather, rain or previous days rain, carts must remain on the cart path. There is a lot more walking with some uncertainty as to club selection. This tends to bother many older golfers especially those with handicap flags, which usually allows them to go straight to their ball. Finally, there is perception. If you are out playing and it begins to mist or light rain, do you continue? If you do, then why do you hesitate to start the round in mist or light rain. I should mention that if you are a member of a club whereby you do not pay for each round, it’s easy to start playing and quit if things get bad. If you are on a public course, you need to find out about a raincheck if you have to quit. So far, one day this winter the wind had gotten so bad that my partner and I quit after 9 holes. We were beat up.
- Our Internal Temperature: I for one, feel the cold more this year than I have in the past. I attribute it to getting older but who really knows. Some of my friends still play in shorts when the weather is in the 30’s. Others wear long pants with their rain pants as an extra layer against cold or wind. It all depends upon how you deal with the cold.
- How to Dress: In my opinion, the best way to dress is in layers. This gives you the option of removing a layer if you are too warm, or adding one if you are too cold. The danger always is to bulk up too much with clothing so you really can’t swing freely. Today’s microfiber clothing goes a long way to add warmth without bulk. In the dead of winter I prefer a long sleeve microfiber tee shirt, preferably one that wicks moisture, as my bottom layer. I then add a regular microfiber golf shirt and a merino wool V-neck sweater. My top layer is a wind proof, and sometimes waterproof, lined shell. I have already had days whereby I removed the outer shell and sometimes even the sweater as the day warmed. When its not as cold, I like golf shirts and V-neck sweaters, but that’s me. You need to find what works for you. Hopefully, warmth without bulk.
One last thing before I close, the winter effect on handicaps. I find that in the winter, when it’s cold, you have to club up because the ball doesn’t go as far. This is probably partially due to the weather and partially due to clothing restricting our swing. In any event, if you add in wind, club selection can vary and may be a guess. The overall result is that in general, our handicaps go up during the winter months. In some parts of the country, where weather restricts playing golf more often than not, handicaps are suspended during the winter and picked up again in spring. Either way I hope you enjoy the winter months, golf or no golf. I know people in the northeast play as long as the temperature is 40 degrees or higher. There are diehards everywhere.
Do you have an opinion on winter golf? I would love to hear from you. Please reply at the bottom of this post. Perhaps we can get a multi-person dialog going. If you leave me your email address, I’ll let you know when I publish my next blog.
Until next time, remember we play golf for enjoyment. How you enjoy the game is up to you.