Winter Golf Guide: Tips for Playing on Open Courses

winter golf - golf ball on the ground in snow

Cold, snowy weather and golf don’t usually mix well. As temperatures drop and the snow moves in, golf courses tend to close. However, fellow golfers, there are still options for you to get some golf in. Let’s talk about winter golf.

In this article, we will provide some tips for playing in colder weather and answer questions like, Are golf courses open during the Winter?

The answer, quite simply, is yes—though with a slight catch. When you live in warmer climates, courses can stay open longer during Winter. In places like Florida and Arizona, most golf courses can even stay open all Winter long. But for those who don’t live in warmer climates, traveling for a golf outing may be the way to go, as golf courses in colder climates, like New York state, primarily close during the Winter.

Navigating Cold-Weather Golf: Destinations, Conditions, and Closures

For passionate golfers, the arrival of Winter doesn’t diminish their desire to play their favorite sport. Instead, it propels them into a quest, encouraging them to explore exceptional winter golf destinations and adapt to unique challenges.


Location significantly influences the operational status of a golf course during the winter months, and certain destinations are renowned for their popularity among winter golf enthusiasts. In regions with warmer climates like Florida and Arizona, courses tend to remain open throughout the year, catering to avid golfers seeking respite from the winter chill. The temperate conditions in these southern states provide an ideal backdrop for year-round play, making them top choices for winter golf.

Conversely, golf courses in colder climates, such as those in the northern United States and Canada, often confront the challenges posed by heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures. As a result, many of these courses opt to close their doors for the winter season. The relentless winter elements in these regions make it impractical to maintain playable course conditions, forcing temporary closures until the arrival of milder weather.

Top Winter Golf Destinations:

While many golf courses across the globe grapple with harsh winter conditions, some locales have earned a well-deserved reputation as top winter golf destinations. These regions boast milder climates and often beckon golfers seeking respite from the cold. Here are a few such destinations:

  1. Sunny Florida: Florida is a perennial favorite for winter golfers. With its tropical and subtropical climate, the Sunshine State offers golfers the opportunity to enjoy their favorite pastime year-round. Even during the winter months, Florida’s courses generally remain open and provide a warm and inviting atmosphere for golfers of all skill levels. The lush green fairways and abundant sunshine create an idyllic golfing experience.
  2.  Arizona’s Desert Oasis: Arizona is another hotspot for winter golf, particularly in the arid regions around cities like Phoenix and Scottsdale. The state’s desert climate ensures that golfers can comfortably play their rounds during the Winter without worrying about frigid temperatures or heavy snowfall. Courses in Arizona are well-known for their stunning desert landscapes and challenging layouts.


Colder Climates and Seasonal Closures:

Conversely, golf courses situated in colder climates face significant challenges when it comes to staying open during the winter months. Here’s a closer look at how these regions are impacted:

  1. Northern United States: In states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, Winter brings about an entirely different golfing experience. The arrival of heavy snowfall, below-freezing temperatures, and frozen grounds make it virtually impossible to keep the fairways and greens in playing condition. As a result, many courses in these regions opt for seasonal closures to protect their facilities and equipment from the harsh winter elements.
  2. Canada’s Winter Challenge: Canada’s northern climate can be even more demanding, with prolonged and severe winters. Golf courses in this country often face a winter season that is significantly longer than their counterparts in the United States. The deep snow cover and deep freezes make it infeasible to operate, prompting most Canadian golf courses to close during the colder months.

Temporary Closures for Maintenance:

It’s worth noting that even in warmer climates, some golf courses may still undergo temporary closures during the Winter. This allows for essential maintenance and course preparations in anticipation of the busy spring and summer seasons. Maintenance tasks can include aerating greens, applying fertilizers, and addressing any winter damage to the course.

Tips for Playing Golf in Colder Weather

If you are lucky enough to live in an area where courses stay open during the Winter, or if you are planning a trip to a warmer climate for some winter golf in a top location, here are some tips to help you prepare for playing in colder weather.

Dress Appropriately

The key to playing golf in colder weather is to dress appropriately, which is especially crucial in winter golf destinations. Layering is essential, as it allows you to adjust your clothing as needed throughout your round. Start with a base layer made of moisture-wicking material to keep you dry. Next, add a warm mid-layer, such as a fleece or sweater, and top it off with a windproof and waterproof outer layer. Don’t forget to wear a hat and gloves to keep your head and hands warm.

Use the Right Equipment

In addition to dressing appropriately, it is also indispensable to use the right equipment when playing golf in colder weather, especially in top cold-weather golf destinations. Use a golf bag with a rain cover to protect your clubs from the elements. You may also want to consider using winter golf gloves, which are designed to keep your hands warm while still allowing you to grip the club properly.

Adjust Your Game

Playing golf in colder weather can affect your game. The ball may not travel as far in colder temperatures, so you may need to use a different club or adjust your swing accordingly. Additionally, the ground may be harder, making it more challenging to stick your approach shots on the green. Be prepared to make some adjustments to your game to compensate for the colder weather.


Winter Golf Training and Practice

Indoor Facilities

When the weather outside is frightful, indoor golf facilities become incredibly delightful. Many cities offer indoor ranges and simulators, providing a controlled environment to keep your swing in top shape. These facilities often feature advanced technology to analyze your swing, offering instant feedback and areas for improvement.


Golf simulators have become game-changers for cold-weather golf training. They not only allow you to play virtual rounds on famous courses but also provide detailed data on every aspect of your game. From clubhead speed to ball spin, simulators offer a wealth of information to help hone your skills.

Drills and Exercises

Don’t let the cold weather put a freeze on your progress. Incorporate golf-specific drills and exercises into your winter routine. Focus on maintaining flexibility, balance, and strength to ensure you come back in the Spring ready to hit the ground running. Simple exercises like rotational stretches and stability drills can make a significant difference.

Final Thoughts On Winter Golf

In a nutshell, winter golf is an exciting puzzle, with each piece contributing its unique charm to the game. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where golf courses stay open during the colder months or are planning a trip to a warmer climate for some winter golf, always be sure to dress appropriately, use the right equipment, and make adjustments to your game. 

Remember to explore local winter golf events and tournaments – they promise a season filled with golfing enjoyment! 

Further Reading and Resources On Playing Winter Golf

  1. Golf Magazine – How to Play Golf in the Cold: 8 Tips for Conquering Winter Golf: This article provides practical tips for playing golf in colder weather, helping you to maintain your performance even when the temperatures drop. Read more
  2. The Left Rough – 13 Tips to Survive and Thrive during Cold-Weather Golf: Offering a comprehensive guide, this article emphasizes the importance of proper attire and shares strategies to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable cold-weather golf experience. Read more
  3. Golf Digest – A Cold-Weather Golf Guide: How to Play Your Best When Temperatures Are Down: This guide provides insights on how to prepare for rounds in cooler temperatures, ensuring that you are well-equipped to face the challenges of winter golf. Read more
  4. Dub’s Dread Golf Club – Winter Tips and Tricks: Explore a variety of tips and tricks tailored for winter golf, helping you to overcome the cold elements and lower your scores. Read more
  5. Golf Monthly – 17 Top Winter Golf Hacks: Discover a range of hacks to stay warm and play well during the winter months, ensuring that you make the most out of your winter golfing experience. Read more

Danny Kapp - Writer

Writer/Editor: Danny Kapp is a passionate golf enthusiast and an 8-year veteran golf blog writer for Rock Bottom Golf, offering his unique perspective on the game. With a keen eye for detail, he covers various aspects of golf, ranging from technical insights to the latest trends in golf equipment and golf technology.

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