Golf Column

Warming up for winter golf

By Paul Viau | Nov 23, 2013
Photo by: File Paul Viau

Before getting into the subject for today, I’d like to give you an update on the last column. If you recall, I suggested buying a 12 to 16-foot length of indoor/outdoor carpet and set up an indoor putting area. Well, I found out that is easier said than done.
I went to a number of big box stores and couldn’t find a carpet runner long enough, or carpet without a ‘bumpy’ texture.
Then it dawned on my, why not go to a carpet store. Just five minutes after I walked into the door of Carpet Barn I had found a nice remnant, had them cut a 30-inch piece, and was out the door for under $30.
I brought it home, set up my putting area and surprisingly, my wife complimented me on the nice pattern of the carpet. She’ll likely change her tune when it is strewn with golf balls and my golf practice will be ‘kicked outside.’
That’s the subject of today’s column — It’s a cold, cruel world out there. As I write this, the forecast daytime high temperatures for the week you will be reading this are in the 20’s.
I have a personal, minimum temperature rule — for both golf and motorcycling — of 50-degrees. Even at that temperature, you need the right gear to stay warm, so here are a few tips.
1. Warm up. Get your arms and legs moving and do some stretching before you step out on the golf course.
2. Warm up your equipment, too. Keep your clubs inside, where it is toasty-warm, for a few hours before you hit the links. I have a friend who keeps his golf balls in front of the heater for a few hours before his round, even in the fall.
3. Use a low-compression ball in the winter. High-compression balls are rock hard during the winter months. You’ll get more distance from Titleist DT SoLo than from a Pro V1. Other good cold-weather options include Precept Laddy, Noodle and Nike PD Soft .
4. Invest in winter golf gloves — one for each hand. You won’t find these in your local box store, but your pro shop or golf specialty store should be able to fit you with a pair of special cold-weather golf gloves. The ‘hardier’ gloves are thicker, padded, insulated and most of all — will keep your hands toasty warm
5. Hot-Hands®. These convenient little hand-warmer packets make all the difference in the world. Get your hands on some of them and more importantly, keep your hands on them between shots.
6. Wear lots of layers. The ‘feels like’ temperature will vary significantly during a 4-hour-plus round of golf, especially when the sun is going in and out of the clouds.
Start with a good base layer, and build from there. Adjust layers as needed, but don’t wear so many clothes that you can’t swing a golf club.
7. Whether you realize it or not, more clothes have a tendency to shorten your golf swing. During the winter months, make a concerted effort to ‘lengthen’ your swing. You can practice this on the range.
8. Speaking of the range, it is the serious golfer’s best friend during cold weather.
The more time you spend there, the better (and warmer) you’ll feel on the golf course. If there isn’t snow on the ground, you should be hitting 2-3 times every week.
9. This number could be my best winter tip for you. It’s $#@&! cold out there. Why not just play nine holes.
10. Hat’s off to you. Congratulations to the true die-hards who are keeping your game up during the winter months. Now you can put your hat back on. Without it, a lot of your body heat is escaping.
Happy Thanks-golfing.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Larry Rice | Nov 24, 2013 08:32

Great advice.  What are our options for public driving ranges in the Waynesville area? I'm new to the area.

Posted by: Paul Viau | Nov 27, 2013 14:41

There is a coin-operated driving range off Hwy. 209 north of the Bypass in Lake Junakuskai

Waynesville Golf Club also has a modest range. Maggie Valley Club is my first choice — the have a short-game chipping and putting area as well as a full-fledged range a short cart ride up the mountain.

Unfortunately, all are currently snowed-in. Happy Thanksgiving.

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