How To Prepare For Cold Weather Golf

Sun, 03/03/2013 - 10:00 -- Don Trahan

Depending on where you live and what time of day you like to play, cold weather is something a lot of us have to deal with when playing golf. This is especially true during what I would call the "off season." Those who live in year-round golf conditions such as Florida still have to deal with those chilly mornings.

Geoff Stone lives in England, which is not necessarily known in the golf world for sunny days and high temperatures. He says that because of the cold mornings, he has very inconsistent hits early in his round. He has tried different sorts of things in order to combat the inconsistency, but was looking for some hints about overcoming the cold.

I have been following the daily lessons for a long time and they have had a great effect on my game (I have won the club net championship two years on the trot since starting with you). However, I have a recurring problem. When I start my round (particularly on cold mornings of which we get many in England) I find that I am having very inconsistent hits and the only way that I seem to be able to overcome this is to consciously stop my swing at the top of the backswing. This works but doesn't seem correct, does the Surge have any hints for me?

-Geoff Stone

For starters, the golf swing has to have continuity of flow. If you're pausing at the top, you've effectively brought everything to a stop, which means you've got to restart everything and move to the ball. This causes you to lose your tempo and timing.

One hint I can provide is to be concious of what type of clothing you are wearing during chilly mornings. If you golf in colder weather, it is important that you stay warm but also that you're not inhibiting your free flow of motion that's required to make a solid golf shot. Your clothes should not restrict your movement, no matter how cold it is. In this video, I'm wearing three layers, but I'm able to swing adequately with plenty of maneuverability.

Every year at TPC Sawgrass, most caddies will pull a club and take a shot at the famous par 3, 17th hole during a practice round. One year, DJ's caddie at the time (who is a pretty good player is his own right) took out a 9 iron and stepped up to take his shot at the difficult island green. But, instead of even getting the ball airborne, he hit a rocket into the gallery, which landed in between two people who had no idea what had happened. After the shot, the caddie complained that his shirt was tucked in too tight and didn't allow for him to make any sort of fluid swing. The point here is that even if you are playing at a warm venue, you've got to make sure that the gear you're wearing allows for full range of motion.

One final thing that you should always be doing is stretching before your round. I stretch everyday regardless of if I plan to play golf that day or not, but especially before I tee it up at the course. I never go to the first tee without doing some sort of stretching. Stretching can help you avoid injury and it will also loosen you up for those first few holes on the front nine.

Make sure you're stretching, wearing the proper clothing, and swinging with fluidity and you should have a better defense against mother nature.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.


Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Thanks Surge. good reminders on stretching and not having any clothing that is binding or hinders the swing. I never have been much of a player with a pause at the top. I would call my tempo about mid paced, not fast or slow.
Was thinking while watching Surge demonstrate his toe touching stretch that he has an unfair advantage with his 36 inch arms, lol!! Actually I am big on stretching, On the four mornings a week that I go to the gym before my 10 hour shift at work I always leave at least 20 minutes for a serious stretching session before I hit the shower and head to work. It takes me about 5 minutes of warming up but I can get my hands flat on the floor in front of me. My 34 inch arms on my 5 '11" frame are no special advantage on the forward stretch. Anyway as it applies to golf, stretching and warming up are very important.

gkey63's picture

Submitted by gkey63 on

That's really great that you can lay your palms flat. With my 6'1" frame, I think I am doing well when I can touch my toes. I noticed Surge has great flexibility too. I'm jealous.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

I honestly feel that weather 6'1" or 5'11" or 4' or 7' that the key to gaining flexibility is the same. Just like club length is not measured by height, flexibility has zero to do with height. Look how flexible many of the great basketball players are. It has to do with one thing mostly (any physical issues aside).
CONSISTENCY. How often do you stretch and for how long each stretching session? I was not flexible at all at age 40. It was an accomplishment to touch my ankles. When I went to massage school we had a student who was really into toga stretches. He showed the class how to stretch. He gave us 5 basic stretches that cover the whole body. Now ii will grant you that certain stretches are easier (over time and practice) for some than for others. For example I can lay back on my heals with my back flat on the floor much easier than my bendy wife who needs a pillow on her low back for support. However I think that also has to due with her shapely butt verses my old guy 'no butt'. Most women are better at te forward bend. She needs very little warm up before she easily places her palms flat on the ground in front of her. It takes me at least 5 minutes of warm up stretching to reach that point with much more difficulty.

Any one over time and with consistency (that means stretching nearly every day) can become much more flexible. Like NIKE says, "Just Do IT!!" There is no short cut to health and fitness. It is a lifestyle and not something you just "try" once in a while.

As a note of practicality I always suggest to my clients who are looking for better back/body health and flexibility that they take a Yoga class. Even if you only take it for a month you will learn several of the key stretches and 'how to' do them for optimal benefit. f one can't bring themselves to take a class, another way is to buy a book or a DVD about stretching and or Yoga then learn at home.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

"Flexibility has nothing to do with height" is a true statement.

BUT how long your legs are in relation to how long your upper body and arms are has EVERYTHING to do with how easy it is to touch your toes.

I know people that barely have to bend over at all to put their hands on the ground because their legs are so short and their upper body and/or arms are so long. My wife and my son can sit with their feet against a wall and put their hands flat on the wall with their upper body barely past 90 degrees. For me to reach that far my upper body has to be pinned against my thighs.
(And my son is the same height I am but has "missing link" arms). LOL

P.S. This subject made me think of something I haven't thought about in years.
In football we used to have to do 220 yard "bear crawls" starting at one goal post and going on all fours down around the other goal post and back.
The short legged guys barely had any weight at all on their arms and were basically just bending over and running with their arms helping a little. I looked more like a greyhound with my butt way up in the air and almost all of my weight on my arms. (I absolutely hated that drill).

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

You should try touching your toes sometime with the stilts I walk around on. I always had to be twice as flexible as most of my teammates in sports to put my palms flat on the ground. Comes in handy for running but not much else.

I may be one of the few people that actually plays better with a tee shirt, a sweatshirt, a sweater, and a heavy coat with a hood on at the same time. All of those clothes get my swing right where it needs to be.
And no I don't care enough about hitting the ball well to try that in the summertime. Hahahaha!

gkey63's picture

Submitted by gkey63 on

Hello Everyone. Is it safe for me to make a comment? Okay, here goes. I imagine England is similar to my area, which is the Northwest coast of Canada, about 2.5 hours north of Seattle. I am a huge proponent of natural fibres and wool sweaters are by far and away, in my opinion, the best clothing for cold and wet weather golfing. I used to wear a rain jacket but found I always got wet under it.
A couple months back, I was playing on what started out as a sunny but cold round, just a few degrees above freezing. I was wearing a couple layers of wool which was plenty warm enough. It was cold enough that the ponds had frozen over night and I had just bought some yellow balls because there was a little snow on the course. On the first hole, my ball bounced and rolled on the frozen ground to end up on the pond by the green. Me, in my infinite wisdom figured I could retrieve if I put one foot on the frozen pond and reached out to retrieve my brand new ball!!
Well, of course my foot went through the ice and I ended up with an fj boot full of water. ha ha. I poured the water out of my boot, wrung out my WOOL sock and finished the round with a warm but damp foot. Wool is a marvellous insulator against cold and wet. I no longer wear rain gear and play in the rain, within reason and with an umbrella, in my wool sweaters. The outer layer may get wet but I stay warm and dry inside. Like I said natural wool fibres are king in book when it comes to keeping you warm, dry and flexible on the golf course. Warmest regards from Greg on the west coast of Canada, the only place in Canada you can play all year. And I have been!
Greg C
Co-organizer for

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Suggest Geoff tries migration, LOL.
I visited to Manchester some years back and in the two weeks I never saw a blue sky, played golf somewhere nearby and it was water everywhere, me and
my son were the only ones on the course, had fun putting/smashing balls on the greens under water, had competition who could make the biggest rooster tail, lol.

Hal's picture

Submitted by Hal on

Surgites, Looks like DJ has made the field next week in the Puerto Rico open.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Thanks Harold. Let's hope he gets back on track. Thanks for the update.

Golf Grip Mate's picture

Submitted by Golf Grip Mate on

Couple of tips for you guys.

Stretching is important as mentioned, try for at least 10 mins before your cold weather round. I also jog on the spot for 3-5 mins, really gets you warmed up & finally invest in a good lightweight jacket with a lining that reflects your body heat back towards the body.