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How to warm up when playing golf in winter

14 November 2022 How to warm up when playing golf in winter

Playing winter golf can be an excellent way to get outside and stay active. Warming up when playing winter golf can be split into two elements.

The first is ensuring your body is prepared for the rigours of the course, and the second is about staying warm and dry during the winter months.

Playing golf in the winter can offer quieter courses, cheaper rounds, and an excellent opportunity to practise in different conditions.

Ensuring you are well prepared will increase your enjoyment, minimise the risk of injury and help you play your best. This article will explore the best ways to approach both.

Winter golf warm ups

Warming up for winter golf should include a variety of stretches. Not only will this minimise the risk of injury, but it can also increase your flexibility, range of motion, and blood flow, improve performance and posture, and help to calm you down and relieve stress.


There are four main types of stretching, these include:

  • Active stretching - Active stretching utilises a specific muscle group by holding a pose.

  • Passive (static) stretching - This uses gravity to help increase your range of motion.

  • Dynamic stretching - Dynamic stretching is great for warmups as it relies on momentum and helps to get your blood pumping.

  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching - PNF stretching is carried out by a therapist on a table to improve flexibility.

Stretching before you leave your home and at the golf course can help to ensure you are prepared and your blood is flowing.

Speaking with your physiotherapist or doctor for professional advice will help to determine the most suitable exercises for you.

The following stretches can help with preparing you for golf in the winter.


Stretch at home

Certain stretches are more suitable for home as they may require mats for lying on the floor, which isn't an option during the winter when the ground can be wet or frozen.

Some of the best golf warmup stretches to carry out at home include:

Prayer stretch

The prayer stretch can help reduce back pain. Get on your hands and knees, then sit back and rest your buttocks on your heels. Reach forward and hold the pose for between 10 and 30 seconds while stretching the middle of your back.

Cat-Cow Stretch

Many yoga poses make great stretches to loosen you off for golf. This stretch loosens your spine and stretches the abdomen and hips.

Get on all fours and position your knees beneath your hips, and shoulders above your hands. Look ahead and inhale, tuck your chin and pull your navel towards your spine before pushing your abdomen out.

Knee to chest

Lie on your back and pull a knee towards your chest. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg. You can then pull both knees into your chest.

Hip flexor stretch

Put one knee on the ground with your other foot planted in front of you in a lunge position. Keeping your back straight, align your front knee with your foot on the ground and put your hands on your thigh. Move this foot forward while keeping your ankle below your knee. Hold the pose for 30 seconds before repeating it on the other side.

Pigeon stretch

Lay on a mat and raise your right knee towards your wrist. Move your left leg back before pointing your toes back with the heel toward the ceiling. Hold this pose for around 30 seconds before switching to your other leg.

Stretch at the course

While stretching at home can help you get your blood flowing, different stretches at the course and during your round helps with mobility and loosen the muscles in preparation for your swing.

Shoulder stretch with club

Before hitting a ball, hold a club behind your head with both hands and hold a golf stance while rotating your shoulders. Repeat this up to 10 times to help loosen your back and shoulders.

Hamstring stretch

Between shots, put your feet together and then put one foot to the other foot's toes. Raise the toes of the forward foot while planting the heel and bend down to hold the toes.

Holding this pose for up to 30 seconds before switching feet will help to loosen your hamstrings.

Back extension

A standing back extension is a great way to loosen your legs and back, in warm or cold weather. Place your feet hip-width apart, put your hands on your hips (don't worry, it's not the Time Warp!), and slowly pull your chest up while arching your back.

Holding this pose for up to 15 seconds is easy and a great way to loosen off if you use a golf cart and prepare yourself for your golf swing.

Keeping warm with winter golf

Now you know how to prepare your body when you play golf, knowing how to stay warm will help you enjoy winter golf in all weather. The following tips will help you keep warm in cold weather, which can help your mental game as you will have greater concentration.

Wear the correct clothing

Keeping warm during winter golf is much the same as keeping warm while doing other things during the winter.

Outerwear

High-quality winter clothing, including trousers and jackets, will make a big difference to winter golf. Fleece linings and waterproof outers will help to keep you warm and dry during your round.

Snood

A snood can help to keep your neck warm, can be pulled over the lower half of your face, and won't come loose or need adjustment like a scarf.

Hat

Keeping your head warm while playing golf during the winter is essential. A good hat is a must and will also help to protect your ears from the biting cold and wind.

Base layer

Layers are key to combating the cold. Using base layers to start your outfit will allow you to build an outfit that gives you the freedom to perform well while staying warm.

Gloves

Trying to play golf with ice old hands is a struggle: your grip will weaken and your performance will suffer. A good pair of waterproof gloves will help to keep your hands warm and dry.

Socks

Thermal socks will provide comfort and warmth for your feet while on the course. Cold feet can cause discomfort and cause issues with your concentration, balance, and stance.

Footwear

As crucial as thermal socks are, they will be useless in tackling cold and wet weather without high-quality waterproof golf shoes. Waterproof golf boots or shoes will make a significant difference to your comfort and can be worn all year.


Take an umbrella

Taking an umbrella to keep the rain off you as much as possible will make a big difference in how much you enjoy your experience. Combined with waterproof clothing, this will help you to stay as dry as possible.

Walk

Rather than using a cart, walking the course will help keep your blood flowing and keep you warm. Sitting in between holes on a cold day can cause your muscles to stiffen, so it can also help your game.

Carry your golf bag

Rather than using a trolley, the exertion of carrying your golf bag can help you to stay warm and also improve your fitness and strength. Over time, this will benefit your game and general health.

Use handwarmers

Hand warmers are small packets that create a chemical reaction and release heat. These can be extremely handy to hold in your pockets during the winter for additional warmth.

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FAQS

Should I try to keep my golf balls warm?

Some schools of thought say a warm golf ball travels further, but the temperature would drop too quickly to make a significant difference.

Why are layers recommended for winter golf?

Wearing multiple layers can help to keep your upper body and extremities warm in cold temperatures. This can make all the difference to your short game, as you will have looser muscles that allow more precision and finesse.

What are winter rules in golf?

Winter rules apply to competitions and allow players to lift golf balls, clean them, and place them within 6 inches of where they came to rest.

Final thoughts

Playing golf in warmer weather is always enjoyable, but there is something special about getting out in the cold air for a round.

You will enjoy quieter courses and the opportunity to test yourself in different conditions.

Preparing yourself by wearing the right clothes for bad weather will make a huge difference in your enjoyment of winter golf. Preparing your body by stretching will also help to keep you warm, minimise the risk of injury, and improve your game.

  
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