Winter golf can have a few of these. Let’s start with the literal ones, the ones that we West Coast golfers encounter as we play our year-round golf. These, of course, are the slopes that we navigate while playing in slightly damper weather and can become a hazard. What can we do to reduce the risk of falling or twisting a knee?
Spikes. Make sure you check and replace them if necessary, as you likely haven’t even thought about them all summer. You might be one of those players that chose comfort over form, but your summer shoes might not be suitable for your winter golf. Do yourself a favour and wear some sensible footwear.
Be aware. Even though you may have played the course many times, be aware of where you are stepping and take a different route from the green to your cart or the next tee if you need to. Take the long way if it has less slope, or use the paths provided as it likely has a better surface for safer footing.
Stay low. Whether you are walking or hitting a shot, you will have better balance if you bend your knees just a little bit. A lot of falls occur when the player gets too straight-legged. Sounds funny but it works.
There are other slippery slopes to watch out for too, like trying to swing harder because you think you are losing yardage. You are losing yardage but not because you aren’t swinging hard enough. The air is cooler, the ground is softer, there is water on the ball and, don’t forget, you are probably wearing more clothes. Your swing is likely shorter and in some cases your body less flexible because of the temperature. All of these reasons can contribute to shorter shots.
So don’t swing harder, swing smarter! Take an extra club or two, focus more on solid contact rather than swing speed and bend your knees to keep your balance. Once you start trying to gain back that yardage by swinging harder… well, you might end up at the bottom of two slippery slopes, literally and figuratively.
Winter golf on the West Coast is such a beautiful thing. It’s challenging and the course different than its summer version. Year-round golfing is a real privilege that we have compared to the rest of the country, so get out and enjoy it!
Director of Golf
Fairwinds Golf Club