5 Top Tips For Playing Golf In Cold Weather

In this video, PGA pro Barney Puttick runs through five winter technique essentials to help you play your best

PGA pro Barney Puttick runs through 5 tips for playing golf in cold weather
(Image credit: Neil Tappin)

For those who like to get their golfing fix year-round, it's vital to consider the impact of the winter conditions. That's why in this video and article, PGA pro Barney Puttick shares some of his favourite tips for playing in cold weather...

Depending where you live, you may be subjected to the elements on a fairly regular basis in winter, so if you want to keep your game sharp, you'll need to make some changes. That's why I've put together these five tips for playing golf during the off-season this year.

1. Adjust your set-up

Wet fairways and muddy lies are more prevalent this time of year, so adjustments must be made to ensure quality of strike. Luckily, most of them can be made at set-up. First, you want to bring your feet a little closer together and move the ball position a fraction back in your stance. 

From there, simply feel like you're trying to hit the front of the ball at impact. In winter, pick and place tends to be in operation, so if this is the case, place the ball on the ground so the line is perpendicular to your target as below. 

A golf club and golf ball

Use the line on your ball to help you strike it better from wet and muddy lies

(Image credit: Neil Tappin)

This will mean you can see the front half of the ball, which will make it easier to make proper contact and also acts as a great method if you want to learn how to stop striking your irons heavy.

2. Always use the same ball

So many golfers underestimate the importance of the golf ball. If you looked in the bags of the majority of amateurs, you would see a random mishmash of brands and compressions. But not all golf balls are created equal, and it’s important to find one that suits your game if you want to get a handle on your cold weather yardages. Otherwise, it's a bit of a guessing game.

Getting a golf ball fitting is much easier than it used to be and will be a worthy investment for those who who want to play their best. However, if that isn’t for you, as a general rule in winter, something a little firmer will help you when it comes to distance off the tee, and on approach to the green as it won’t spin as much.

3. Improve your stability 

When ground conditions are soggy, stability is vitally important. With that in mind, head to the range and work on narrowing your stance. Doing this also has the benefit of steepening your spine angle a little, which will bring your ball flight down, ideal for when the wind picks up.

PGA pro Barney Puttick preparing to hit a shot at a driving range

Try this simple drill to get used to the feeling of narrowing your stance

(Image credit: Neil Tappin)

Try this simple drill next time you're going to practise. Take your normal stance and place a ball behind either foot as a reference point. Then, using this as a guide, stand slightly inside them and hit some shots to get used to the feeling. It might be uncomfortable to begin with, but stick with it and you’ll have a much more stable base when you need it most.

4. Stay warm

It’s vital to stay warm and dry, and that’s made much easier thanks to improvements in winter golf gear. The best golf base layers work brilliantly to trap heat and allow you to add layers on top without sacrificing swing freedom, no matter the conditions. 

Whether you need one of the best golf windbreakers to stave off a stiff breeze or one of the best golf rain jackets if the heavens have opened, you no longer have to worry about losing performance.

5. Carry your clubs

This might not sound like a great idea, but carrying your bag in winter comes with a number of benefits. During the off-season, greenkeepers tend to carry out maintenance programmes in a bid to protect certain areas that are susceptible to weather damage. That means parts of your course might be roped off from electric golf trolleys or push carts

PGA pro Barney Puttick carrying his clubs down one of the holes at Essendon Golf Club

There are multiple benefits to carrying your clubs this winter

(Image credit: Neil Tappin)

However, if you are carrying your clubs, you’ll not be hindered by this inconvenience, while you’ll also be doing your bit to ensure your home track is in tip-top shape when the golf season restarts. 

If the extra weight puts you off, why not remove some clubs and play with a three-quarter or even a half set. A good exercise is to head out with just seven clubs - two long, two mid and two short clubs, plus a putter. It’s a great way to improve your feel while upping the physicality.

Barney Puttick
Top 50 Coach

Location: Mid Herts Golf Club

Barney turned professional in 1979 and gained the Assistant Professional position at Dyrham Park Golf Club. He played full time before becoming Head Professional at Ramsey Golf Club in 1987. He can now be found teaching at Mid Herts Golf Club. Barney's favourite golfing memory is tying Greg Norman for third place in a 36-hole tournament in Cannes.

Teaching philosophy:

My goal with every student is to work with the player and what they possess rather than impose a prescriptive style for everyone. The key, for me, is improving players' fundamentals and their impact factors, and setting of that all important chain of events of one good move leading to another. 

Typical lesson:

Technology makes it possible for everyone to see their swing and get their numbers. My job is to unravel them and give the player a positive set of ideas to take away after the session. Using swing drills and drawing sporting comparisons to the swing - for example, throwing a ball - the player can improve quite quickly once they put these into practice. 

Significant influences:

I was fortunate to spend my formative years working for Ian Connelly, Nick Faldo's early mentor. He instilled in me the love of the art form that is coaching, and I still use some of his ideas to this day. Latterly, I enjoyed Bobby Clampett's ideas on the swing, as he was a phenomenal player with a quirky action. His ideas on impact have aligned to my teaching. I have also been blessed to spend time with Mike Bender, Zach Johnson's long time coach.