If you’re brave (read: crazy) enough to play winter golf, then you know how essential it is to have the proper clothing and gear. Good raingear, a warm hat, and waterproof shoes are all a given, but what about some less obvious but equally essential items?
Truthfully, I haven’t seen much of a golf course this winter. I’m fairly certain most courses around here can be re-classified as wetlands after this winter’s El Nino, already tied for the most powerful on record. However, I’ve slogged around my fair share of courses when it’s wet, cold, and windy. As someone who always complains of being cold and who would do anything to wear a blanket while putting and have someone hold an umbrella over me at all times, I’ve figured out a few secrets to staying warm when everyone else just wants to head back inside.
Today I want to share with you 3 essential winter golf items that I can’t live without…and you shouldn’t either!
Winter Golf Essential #1 – Neck warmer
Have you ever tried to wear a scarf and play golf? I suppose if you’re a guy the answer is no, because you couldn’t do that without one of your buddies ribbing you about it for the entire round. If you’re a woman, perhaps you’ve tried…unsuccessfully. Scarves are bulky, they slide around and fall down while you’re trying to hit the ball.
We winter warriors need something that can keep us warm without interfering with our game. That’s why I can’t live without my black turtle fur neckwarmer. And honestly, menfolk, unlike a scarf you can get by with one of these because it looks like you are wearing a big, bulky, manly turtleneck under that jacket.
Who cares if you look like a bank robber!? These turtle fur neck warmers are super soft, and will keep you so warm and toasty that you’ll be able to play ’til dark (at 4:30pm)!
Winter Golf Essential #2 – Toe warmers
In addition to golf, I also love snowboarding. I almost gave it up all together because inevitably after about 1-2 hours, my toes would be throbbing then go completely numb. I tried adjusting my board straps…tightening and loosening my laces…new socks…two socks…and even an expensive, new pair of boots. Nothing worked! It was so uncomfortable and painful.
Then I discovered these babies! Toe warmers are incredible. Your toes stay warm and cozy for hours and they are hardly noticeable, whether you’re wearing big snowboarding boots or golf shoes. You can buy a truck full at Costco or if you prefer a starter 3-pack, check out Amazon.
Winter Golf Essential #3 – A fleece vest
I am continually surprised by how seldom I see golfers wearing a vest in the colder months. It’s the perfect winter golf must-have. A warm, lightweight fleece vest will keep you warm without restricting your swing in any way. It can be worn under a jacket or alone on warmer days. That’s me in my vest that I live in at home and on the golf course. It’s an old Patagonia vest that I “borrowed” from my sister circa 2001.
January is a great time to buy a fleece vest. Most are on sale, yet you’ll still get a lot of use out of it this year. If you’re going vest shopping, I suggest starting with the outdoorsy brands first – like REI, The North Face, and Patagonia. They have mastered the lightweight fleece game better than the golf industry has. I have 3 other golf vests and they always play second string to my beloved Patagonia vest. Here are my favorites:
Winter Golf Essential *Bonus* – Golf balls you don’t give one iota about
Sorry, Nike. You’re my “don’t-care-if-I-lose-it” winter golf ball this year. I won a box of these at a scramble tournament and they migrate to my bag as soon as my ProV1’s start plugging in the middle of the fairway around Thanksgiving. By the way, have you ever lost a ball in the middle of the fairway? Seriously!? How is that even possible?
I am total snob when it comes to golf balls. If I come across a perfectly good lost ball, I chortle and turn my nose up at the ghastly thing…unless it’s a pristine ProV1 which, of course, it never is. But ProV1s are expensive and it’s hard to stomach losing a $5 ball when it happens so much more frequently in the winter.