10 Essential Winter Golf Items
We take a look through the 10 essential winter golf items every golfer needs for when the conditions are against them
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If you were to ask golfers when their favourite time of the year is to play, they would likely say summer. However, that doesn't stop players from getting out in the winter months, with it being crucial that you are fully prepared for the changing, colder conditions.
You could have the best set of clubs money can buy, but if your winter kit isn’t up to scratch, you may as well leave them gathering dust in the garage for the next few months.
Golf in the winter can be tough, but the right gear can allow you to enjoy the game we all love all year round. That's why it's important to have these 10 essential winter golf items that we've listed below.
Perhaps you play in a winter league, or maybe you just want to keep your swing sharp for when spring comes along next year. Either way, giving yourself the competitive edge with a combination of the products listed will make your life so much easier in the tough weather climate.
A waterproof jacket may seem like an excessively expensive financial outlay but, in truth, it is a long-term investment in your game that provides reassurance that, whatever the British weather throws at you, you will still be in a position to perform to your best.
If you’ve not purchased a set of waterproofs for a while, you may well be surprised to see how the designs have improved in recent times, with manufacturers understanding the frustrations of playing golf in a jacket. Fabrics are thinner, lighter and have more stretch to allow you to swing borderline unrestricted. What's more, there are a number of customizable fit options that ensure the jacket stays in position and doesn’t create unnecessary distractions.
They come in a range of price points and, while generally you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to durability, there are some bargains to be had. When it comes to the best waterproof golf jackets you should always check the waterproof warranty and make a few swings to ensure it doesn’t feel bulky or tight.
A matching pair of waterproof slacks (or pants if you're stateside) is a must for winter golf. Not only will they keep you dry when it rains, but they will also stop mud from accumulating on your nice trousers underneath that you want to wear in the clubhouse afterwards. They will also provide an extra layer of warmth, something which you'll be happy about in the winter conditions.
Importantly, you need to make sure they’re long enough to cover your ankles and the top of your shoes, but not too long that they get caught up in your spikes. Some of the best waterproof golf trousers even have fleece-lined pockets to keep your hands warm and zipped ankles to make them easier to slide on and off.
The mid layer is often the go-to garment on all but the coldest and hottest of days so it’s important to find one that suits your needs and your budget. This can be tricky, because the choice of the best golf jumpers and best golf tops seems endless.
Some will prioritize warmth, while others focus on protection from the rain or wind. Therefore, it might be the case that you stock up on different types from your favorite brands to cater for the different conditions you may face. However, some claim to be suitable for all but the most extreme weather.
Next up is the fit, which is arguably the most important aspect to consider. You need to feel comfortable in the way it looks, feels and moves with you as you swing and, ideally, it should feel snug to eliminate excess material that can get in the way without feeling overly tight.
For milder days, there is also the option of the best golf vests, which will take the edge off the winter chill, but provide an airy feel that won't limit movement within your golf swing.
Along with a mid layer, there is the option of a base layer, which is is an important primary layer on particularly bitter days. Worn underneath a polo shirt, it hugs the skin and retains the warmth from the body to stop the cold taking hold.
Some provide a super-tight, compression fit, which is said to increase blood flow to the muscles, while others have a more relaxed feel. Some also adopt a roll-neck style for extra warmth, so think about what might work best for you.
With an array of the best golf base layers available on the market, make sure it’s definitely cold enough before you decide to wear one. This is because they can be difficult to take off during a round!
Whether it’s wet weather gloves, all-weather gloves, some winter golf mittens or a combination of the ones listed, you can’t peg it up in winter without at least one pair of gloves.
Mittens provide that toasty feeling for your hands between shots and you can even put hand warmer packs inside them for extra warmth on really cold days. Away from mittens, there are also all-weather gloves, which can be worn on both hands and provide an alternative solution, as well as offering an element of warmth while staying on for hitting shots.
A specific glove that is always worth having in your bag is a rain glove. These usually provide more grip the wetter they get so, if the heavens open, you should still be able to maintain control of the club while others in your fourball struggle.
Hats are a bit like marmite when it comes to wearing them on the golf course. Some enjoy wearing them, some despise wearing them. What can't be argued though is that they play an important part in maintaining body heat.
What's more, the best golf hats feature in a host of different styles. These range from beanie hats, bobble hats, caps or even waterproof bucket hats. The material of a golf-specific woolly hat is usually much softer than those you might find on the high street, while bucket hats are useful in the rain if you don’t like to use an umbrella.
Perhaps one of the most underrated pieces of winter kit is the snood or neck warmer. The neck is generally quite exposed in a traditional outfit and, during winter, you want to try and keep as much of your skin covered up to stay as warm as possible.
They’re generally made of a very soft, fleece-like material to maximise comfort and, while you might think they look a little strange and unnecessary, we’re confident once you try one it will be one of the pieces of kit you can’t leave the house without in winter.
Predictably, during the winter, it rains a lot and so an umbrella is the best first line of defence when it comes to staying as dry as possible. They’re useful for keeping other pieces of kit dry too, like your glove and towel, which you can hang over one of the spokes where you know it won’t be exposed to water.
Most golf shoes are waterproof these days, but it remains an important point to enforce that you need a sturdy, reliable pair of shoes for the winter. Such is the demand for a pair of the best waterproof golf shoes, companies have even introduced spiked and spikeless pairs of their recognized models.
Personally though, we’d suggest opting for spiked shoes, as they provide the extra grip you’ll need on muddy lies and frozen mats. Another point is making sure the uppers are of a style that is easy to clean, as they’re likely to gather a lot of dirt during the course of a round.
Another bit of advice is that black shoes tend to hide dirt much better. It may be worth investing in a separate, less-expensive pair for winter, so that your favourite premium pair is pristine for the return of competitions in the spring. You could even opt for a winter golf boot for next-level stability and protection.
It's the same story in the golf bag department, with the majority of the best golf bags fully waterproof. Golfing in wet weather is challenging enough without having to deal with sodden grips and soggy gloves. Therefore, a waterproof golf bag will really help you cope better with tough conditions.
Sometimes, it can be the little things that make a big difference when playing through the winter months. One useful piece of advice is to consider a pair of winter wheels for your trolley for when it gets really muddy, or switching to a yellow ball to make it easier to track in lower light conditions (or if it’s snowing!).
It might also be worth thinking about a change in ball, perhaps opting for a more durable distance model that should also mean less of a drop in yardage off the tee in the colder conditions.
Also, you could invest in a set of castle tees of the perfect height for your driver as they will be especially useful when hitting off mats. By collating the right set of essentials for your game, it could make all the difference, transforming your round from a slog to an enjoyable experience.
Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: Ping i230 4-UW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x
- Matt CradockStaff Writer
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