With leaves having fallen, it is easier to see the fairway amid bare trees. The dormant grass gives the course a whole different look and somewhat different feel. There is an extra sense of accomplishment and “Booyah!” when finishing a good round in 60 degree weather versus 90, or 50 versus 80. However, despite its advantages, there are a few precautions you’ll want to take.
Dress warmly, but comfortably, especially if the day’s weather prediction is for cloudy and/or windy conditions. Make sure to keep your hands and head covered, as you lose most of your body heat through these areas.
The cold weather also encourages blood vessels to constrict to combat heat loss, and this negatively affects parts of your body. Muscles that receive less blood become more prone to strains and tears, and they restrict the range of motion for joints, which impairs coordination, strength and power. This means that injury prevention is essential during play. Take time to stretch and warm-up in advance of the first hole, as well as any extended periods when you wait to play, to prevent being injured.
In addition, stay hydrated just as you would when playing golf during other times of the year. You will need less water than in other seasons, but it still is an important element to have in your routine for optimal success on the course.
Be prepared for some different sensations to feel on the fairway. For example, ground that is frozen over can affect the way a golf ball bounces, sometimes to your advantage.
Some of these changes can shift your approach. As water hazards may be frozen over and produce glare, you may want to wear sunglasses.
Overall, however, the biggest alteration you probably feel will involve your emotions. A round of golf is a great way to shake off the blues you feel during the winter, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Playing golf in the winter puts you outdoors in the fresh air for several hours at a time allowing you to get as natural light as possible, which can help ease symptoms of SAD.