Are Golf Courses Open in The Winter?

I remember how much I always dreaded winter when I started playing golf.

I mistakenly assumed that most golf courses closed down once the temperature reached the 30s. You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that golf courses don’t close just for cold weather.

While most public courses close for severe weather, they won’t usually do so unless several inches of snow have fallen. Learn more about golfing in winter weather right here! We’ll also give you tips on playing golf in cooler temperatures.

 

Can You Play on Golf Courses in The Winter?

Yes, you are allowed to play golf in the winter. Most municipal courses are open year-round, especially in the southern and western states of the United States.

As a general rule, the main reason golf courses close for bad weather is to prevent significant damage to the fairways and the putting surfaces.

Winter is the perfect time for brand-new players to hone their golf swing. Golfers will never have to wait for tee times in the winter as they would during peak season on a Sunday.

Lots of folks have found that playing winter golf has helped them take their games to the next level.

 

At What Temperature Will The Grass Be Too Frozen to Play?

When blades of grass get to 32 degrees or below, frost will form on them. Keep in mind that grass is often cooler than the standard air temperature, especially in cold climates with lots of moisture. Because of this, golfers may have to endure a frost delay even if the temperature is well above freezing.

Frost can even occur in states that have a warmer climate, like Arizona, Hawaii, or Florida. I once sat through a two-hour frost delay in Florida in early December. Golfers have to deal with frost in Canada for a larger portion of the year, even in springtime months like April.

Golf courses aren’t trying to limit your fun when frost is on the ground. They’re simply trying to prevent course damage, especially to the greens. Just grab a cup of coffee from the pro shop, flip through a golf magazine, and wait for things to warm up.

 

Challenges of Playing Golf in Winter

While golf is one of the best winter activities out there, there are some challenges to teeing it up in cold weather. Let’s go over a few of winter golf’s main challenges and possible solutions.

Frostbite

If you’ve never experienced frostbite on the golf course, consider yourself lucky. In temperatures that are below freezing, the fingers and toes can go numb after only a few holes. Not being able to feel your hands on the golf club can make hitting even a decent shot incredibly difficult.

Cart Paths Are Slick

Operating a golf cart can become quite tricky in the wintertime. Cart paths get slick, especially during rain, sleet, or snow. Golfers should drive carefully and try to avoid patches of black ice on the cart paths.

Swinging in Layers Can Be Uncomfortable

Most golfers wear several layers of clothing to keep their bodies warm and prevent the chills. While that is definitely a good idea, having too many layers on can inhibit the golf swing. Finding just the right amount of clothing to stay warm but not negatively affect the swing can only be done by trial and error.

Your Equipment Won’t Be As Effective

This is something to be aware of if you’ve never played golf in the winter. You won’t get the same distance out of your clubs. This is because the club can’t transfer as much energy to the golf ball in cooler temperatures.

I’ll never forget smoking a hybrid shot on a long par 5 that came up about 40 yards short of the green. That was my first realization that winter golf is a different beast. Cold air is thick, and the golf ball just can’t cut through it as it can in the warmer months.

 

Tips for Playing a Better Round in Winter

Just because golf is more challenging in the winter doesn’t mean that you have to simply put up with shooting higher scores. In this section, we’ll list some tips on how to play better golf in cooler temperatures. All of these tips can help you improve as a golfer as winter approaches.

1. Invest in Winter Golf Gear

Technology has come a long way in this area, which means that playing golf in cold weather no longer has to be a miserable experience. Several athletic apparel companies now offer compression undershirts and pants that are designed to keep golfers warm. This specialty clothing isn’t cheap, but it’ll make a massive difference in your comfort level and performance on the golf course.

Make it a point to find yourself a golf jacket or pullover that keeps you warm but doesn’t restrict your swing. Also, if the temperature is topping out in the 20s or 30s, wear gloves on both hands and buy yourself some hand warmers to keep in the golf cart. This will help you grip the golf club and keep both hands warm.

2. Utilize Indoor Golf Simulators

If your favorite course is closed due to extreme temperatures or too much snow cover, find the best places in your area with indoor golf simulators. Sure, it’s not as effective as playing on a real course or driving range, but some practice is better than none at all. Remember, the goal is to be ready to roll once golf season comes back around.

3. Walk Instead of Riding

Some golfers may not want to hear this, but one way to stay warmer on a cold or mild day on the course is to walk instead of riding. Flying around in a golf cart makes the wind chill factor even worse.

Walking or using a pull cart during your round will help keep the blood pumping and your body warm. It’s also much better exercise and will keep you in good condition throughout the winter.

 

Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with sports for over 30 years. He's been an avid golfer for more than 10 years and is obsessed with watching the Golf Channel and taking notes on a daily basis. He also holds a degree in Sports Psychology.