Do Golf Courses Close In The Winter

If you’re a golfer, you know the feeling of wanting to hit the links even during the winter months. But do golf courses close during winter? The answer is yes and no. In this blog post, we’ll discuss which golf courses stay open all year round and which ones close for the season. 

Do Golf Courses Close In The Winter

Why Do Golf Courses Close in the Winter?

Golf courses close for a variety of reasons, including rain, frost, snow and general maintenance. Depending on the quality of the drainage, rain can be a big problem in different parts of the world. A golf course built on a clay-based soil is not going to drain well and even quite moderate rain could make the course quite muddy and unpleasant to play. While public courses most likely wouldn’t close a members club might decide to protect the playing surfaces by closing the course during periods of heavy rain. If you don’t mind the agua then here are some ideas to help you enjoy a moist round of golf.

In fact, rain can cause problems even in the summer months with heavy downpours flooding the greens or bunkers. On one summer trip to the Dundee area some years ago we experienced some very heavy rain which flooded the bunkers at Blairgowrie Golf Club making it unplayable.

Frost is another issue that can cause a problem with golf during the winter. Depending upon the severity you might find the course decides to close completely or at least close the main greens and use temporary ones instead. This is because walking around on frosty grass will damage the turf and affect the quality of the playing surface.

In certain parts of the world, you might find golf in winter impossible due to the amount of snow lying on the ground. Most of Canada and several of the northern US states probably lose several months a year to snow. If you want to play golf in the winter then you are restricted to indoor ranges or practicing on a golf simulator.

Even if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a sunny year-round climate you may still face the occasional course closed sign while it undergoes maintenance. This might involve aeration of the fairways and greens, overseeding or work on drainage and irrigation.

Probably should be closed!

The Impact of Temperature on Golf Courses in the Winter

In areas with extremely cold temperatures, courses may have to close for long periods of time due to frost or snow. In these days of heightened health and safety clubs have to think about both their green staff and golfers when trying to keep their courses open. Severe frosts might make even the car park a dangerous place to be and I’ve known golf clubs close for that reason alone.

Does Weather Impact Golf Course Maintenance?

Weather is one of the most significant factors affecting golf course maintenance. Heavy machinery used to prepare the playing surfaces will quickly churn up mud if the ground is too wet. Of course, lying snow will also prevent greenkeepers from doing their jobs. The temperature also affects things. Grass won’t tend to germinate or grow below around 8°C (46°F) so there’s no point trying to returf a worn-out area in the middle of December in most of the northern hemisphere!

Is It Worth Playing Golf In The Winter?

It really comes down to what you want to get out of the experience and where you live. There are some parts of the world where you just aren’t going to be able to play for several months of the year no matter how much you want to. Other than driving ranges or simulators your only option would be to fly somewhere with better weather.

If you live somewhere like the UK where golf is possible almost all the time then it really comes down to the condition of the course you are going to play and your expectations of what is achievable. Few courses in the UK will be in good condition during the winter so you may have to put up with placing on fairways or even temporary greens and tees. Putting services will almost certainly be slower as the green staff will want to protect the turf. Winter golf is really about your mindset. I always looked at it as a way to keep my swing in shape for the coming golf season.

Trying to control your golf ball on frosty greens or tramping through mud is never going to be indicative of what you would expect in the summer so you just have to suck it up and enjoy the experience for what it is rather than moaning about the weather conditions. 

Omagh Golf Course Closed
Kenneth Allen / Omagh Golf course / CC BY-SA 2.0

Courses Are Open – Should I Play?

Even if golf courses are open in winter it doesn’t necessarily mean you should play. Some courses will open even when the conditions would suggest a closure. Clubs often feel obliged to remain open even though conditions suggest otherwise in order to keep members happy. There are several courses near where I live that really should close in October or November and not reopen till March or April because they do not drain very well and just turn into mud baths!

Is Golf Cheaper In The Winter?

Many golf courses will offer cheaper green fees during the winter to allow for the fact that this may not be in pristine condition. You can get some big discounts at top venues this way although of course, you run the risk of the weather playing havoc with your round of golf. It depends on the weather situation – in very warm areas the winter might be more expensive!

VenueSummer Green Fee (USD)Winter Green Fee (USD)
Carnoustie – Championship342240
Bandon Dunes400140 (January)
The Players (Stadium Course)600 (September-May)450 (June-August)
WInter vs Summer Green Fees

What Can Golfers Do During Winter?

Although golf courses may close in the winter, it doesn’t mean that golfers have to take a break from the game. In fact, there are plenty of ways that golfers can stay active and enjoy the game during the coldest months of the year. For example, many golf courses offer indoor simulators, which allow players to practice their golf swing and play virtual rounds without ever stepping foot on a course. 

Some courses have heated driving ranges so golfers can still work on their skills and technique even when the weather outside is less than ideal.

Tips for Playing Golf in Cold Weather

Playing golf in cold weather can be a challenge, but with the right preparation, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. Tips for playing golf in cold weather include dressing appropriately, layering clothes, and wearing gloves and a hat to keep warm. Cold temperatures can affect the distance the ball will travel. Players should also make sure to carry enough water with them to stay hydrated and warm up their muscles before teeing off. With the right preparation, golfers can still enjoy their game even in the cold winter months.

Do Golf Courses Close In The Winter: Summary

So, depending on the location and the weather courses may close for days, weeks or even months at a time. I even moved to the coast so I could enjoy better year-round golf at a links!

If you have the option you might want to think about it if the courses near you get muddy in the winter!

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