As far as lifetime sports go, golf is among the most popular. As far as year-round sports go, for some people, maybe not so much. For those new to golf or those who do not live in the South, taking a golf vacation in the winter seems like a pipe dream at best and an invitation to frostbite at worst.
Why You Should Take Golf Vacations in Winter’s Off-Season
However, those who play golf at golf courses in the Southeast know that fall and winter golf vacations have many advantages that other seasonal golf play doesn’t.
For one thing, the golf course tends to be less busy than at other times of the year. For another thing, winter in the South — specifically in Alabama in our case – tends to be milder than in other parts of the country.
What this means is you may have to make some adjustments to your game, equipment, and clothing, and what it doesn’t is that you have to stop playing golf altogether. Even more specifically, this means that avid golfers can find great deals on off-season stay and play golf packages.
Tips for Planning a Fall or Winter Golf Vacation
1. Book Your Golf Trip Far in Advance
Many resort golf course managers expect fall and winter golf packages to book up quickly because many companies hold their corporate retreats predominantly in the spring and fall.
Additionally, this year (2022) and next year (2023) will likely see destination golf courses be busier than in previous years. This is due to the likely uptick in weddings. The pandemic put the kibosh on large, in-person weddings, and couples are now making up for the lost time by planning bigger destination weddings. And they’re booking them year-round, including in the fall and winter.
So, if you’ve got your eye on a fall or winter golf trip, plan on booking your vacation package several weeks, if not several months, in advance. This will be particularly true for golf courses in the Southeast because their fairways will still be playable during the colder months.
2. Pack the Right Clothes
Cold pretty much has the power to ruin any day on the golf course. Fortunately, many sporting goods stores and golf pro shops carry supplies that make golfing in the winter more comfortable.
Here are our suggestions for some clothing items to pick up:
- A thick pair of gloves and golf glove mitts to keep your hands warm.
- Clothes you can layer – i.e., long-sleeve, T-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket
- Breathable outerwear
- Golf socks
- Waterproof golf shoes
- Rain slicker and rain hood
And keep in mind – in the Southeast, you may not need any of this! You may be playing in gorgeous weather.
3. Preview the Golf Course You Want to Play
Aside from giving you an excellent excuse to daydream a bit about your upcoming golf trip, doing a course preview allows you to decide how you’d like to structure your golf play.
What we mean by this is that, often, it’s good to play half a course – that is, nine holes, instead of 18 – on colder days. If you preview the golf course, you get a good idea of what shortened play might look like. It also gives you an opportunity to think about how you might navigate the course in chilly weather.
4. Carry Your Golf Equipment
This suggestion is slightly related to the one above, though there are some separate points to make as well.
First, to the point above. Carrying your golf bag instead of riding in the golf cart helps you stay warmer because you exert more energy. If you look at the golf course ahead of time by doing a golf course preview, you’ll know if this is feasible or not.
Second, the ground is softer, and the greens are more vulnerable in the fall and winter due to wet weather. By carrying your golf equipment on your person instead of in your cart, you help to preserve the greens.
5. Cut the Number of Clubs in Half (or So)
This is related to the hint above. Playing with fewer clubs makes it easier to carry your equipment around because your golf bag isn’t so heavy. It also allows you to develop some of your creative golf skills. If you play with fewer clubs, you have to get creative about how you use the ones you still have in your bag.
6. Play Golf by Winter Golf Rules
Playing golf in the fall and winter comes with its own set of rules. Designed to help make it easier to play in cold and wet weather, these rules allow you to do things that don’t fly during spring and summer play. These rules include tips on what to do with damp or muddy golf balls, how to handle embedded golf balls, and more. It’s kinda like being able to cheat without cheating.
7. Make the Most of a Destination Golf Vacation in Winter
One of the advantages of stay and play golf packages in winter is that you don’t necessarily have to play golf the whole time. Yeah. We know. That’s a terrible thought.
Here’s the thing. Although you’ll probably have many more chances to play golf in winter if you choose a golf course in the South for your destination golf trip, you may still encounter inclement weather. Snow may be unlikely, but it could happen.
The day you really wanted to play could be filled with buckets of rain falling from gray skies. All of these things equal not such a great day on the golf course.
Booking your golf vacation at a resort that offers other things to do, like spa days or paint -n- sip activities, gives you and your traveling companions options besides golf when the weather gets too wet to play.
Final Words on Your Winter Golf Vacation
Planning a winter golf vacation comes down to a few key things. First, you need to plan ahead for your stay and play golf trip to ensure that you can get a spot and take advantage of fall and winter golf package rates.
Second, you need to plan for the weather not only in terms of what you wear but also in terms of your whole approach to the game. This makes it easier for you to adapt to cold and wet conditions on the golf course.
Finally, it’s good to be able to go with the flow. Even if you bring supplies to help you deal with the weather, there may be some days when you just can’t play. That’s when it’s good to take advantage of the other activities offered at a destination golf course.
Contact us to learn more about planning a fall and winter golf vacation.