5 ways to help look after your golf course this winter

Golf course maintenance is not only the responsibility of the greenkeeping staff but also that of the players teeing it up. During the winter months, golfers can occasionally become a little more relaxed about maintenance and looking after the course at a time when you could argue the course needs it the most. In this short blog post, I share 5 simple steps that you can take as a golfer to help look after your course during the winter and better prepare it for the season ahead.

1. Make use of your mat

During the winter months, many golf clubs implement a rule whereby all golfers must play their shots from a mat when on the fairway and/or the 1st cut of the rough. This essential rule is put in place to protect the fairways and light rough during a time of poor growth and recovery and really is non-negotiable. Whilst it may seem like a bit of an inconvenience carrying and playing from a mat for 18 holes, everyone will reap the rewards come springtime when the fairways are looking pristine. 

However, it’s not all bad news. Personally, I actually prefer playing from a golf mat during the winter, especially when the ground is really wet and soft as it reduces the chances of fat shots, keeps my golf clubs clean and makes you look like a baller thanks to the extra spin you get. What’s not to love about that?

In my opinion, the key to enjoying winter golf when it comes to using a mat is to invest in a high-quality mat with a rubber base. I’d strongly recommend the Callaway Golf FT Hitting Zone golf mat which I have been using for the past 5 years and genuinely believe is one of, if not the best winter golf mats on the market. And believe me – I’ve tried them all.

Amazon also has a great selection of reasonably priced winter golf mats that might be worth checking out. 

Callaway Golf FT Hitting Zone golf mat.

2. Carry your clubs if you can

Like many modern-day golfers, I routinely use a golf trolley and cart bag during the main golf season to allow me to carry extra equipment and take the pressure off of my back (I am getting old after all). However, when it comes to the winter months I leave the trolley in the garage and opt for my lightweight carry golf bag and a half set of clubs instead. Trolleys often cause a huge amount of damage to the high-traffic areas of the golf course such as around the greens and teeing areas, especially when the course is wet. Not only does the damage take a considerable amount of time and effort to repair but it also makes the course look worn and unsightly.

Obviously, there are many golfers who are unable to carry their clubs for various reasons, and I’m in no way suggesting they start doing so, but if you are able to carry your clubs during the winter then it’s worth doing so. The greenkeepers, fellow golfers and the course will thank you for it.

3. Respect re-routes

As mentioned above, certain high-traffic areas of the golf course can quickly become worn, slippery or indeed dangerous during the winter. For these very reasons, greenkeepers often cordon off specific sections of the course, mark GUR (ground under repair) areas and re-route walkways, and it’s our job to respect them. 

I learned the importance of this one the hard way, having once ignored a sign encouraging golfers to walk around the side of a large slope due to the dangers of slipping. Of course, within a few seconds of passing said sign I slipped and ended up sliding all the way to the bottom of the slope. Not only did I hurt my back in the process but my clubs also ended up in a nearby bunker. 

4. Repair those pitch marks

Perched right at the top of my golfing pet hates are those inconsiderate golfers who don’t repair their pitch marks – a sentiment shared by many of you reading this article, I’m sure. Pitch marks should be repaired straight away irrespective of the time of year, however, it’s even more important during the winter months when the greens are soft and the damage from our approach shots is substantial.

Repairing a pitch mark is not a difficult task but it has to be done correctly and should still be done even if you are playing on winter greens. Incorrectly repairing a pitch mark can lead to scarring on the green, further damage and can add weeks to the mark’s recovery. If you’re not sure of the correct way to repair your pitch marks, check out the short but helpful Golf Monthly video tutorial below.

If you’re lucky enough to be playing on full greens during the winter months then be sure to look after them or I can guarantee you won’t be playing on them for much longer.

5. Clean up after yourself

When you finish your round and are cleaning your golf shoes, trolley wheels or whatever else got covered in grass cuttings and mud during your 18, be sure to tidy up after yourself and leave the cleaning area in the same condition you’d like to find it yourself. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched golfers brush or spray the grass and mud off of their shoes and onto the path, then simply walk away leaving it to the greenkeepers (who are already busy enough) to tidy up. It only takes 2 minutes to clean up after yourself and prevents mud from being trodden across the car park or worse still, into the clubhouse/locker room.

So there you have it, 5 simple steps you can follow this winter to help make the lives of your greenkeepers just that little bit easier whilst at the same time improving the playing conditions of the golf course for yourself and fellow members. 

If there are any tips you think I’ve missed out from this article then be sure to share them in the Comments area below. If your golf course is moving or has moved to mandatory fairway mats but you don’t own one then be sure to check out my latest blog post ‘5 of the best winter golf mats on Amazon‘ before you splash the cash.


4 responses

  1. Good article Andy.

    My club has mandated the use of winter wheels on electric trolleys for the past 3 or 4 years to avoid skids etc. and this year was introduced yesterday, probably until end of March.

    The main thing is to keep the front wheel from clogging up and of course reduce weight of your bag to preserve battery power!

    Biggest drawback is the hassle of cleaning the hedgehog wheels after a round on a clay based course ☹️

    1. Thanks very much, David. That’s a really interesting one about mandatory winter wheels. Neither of the two clubs I’ve been a member of for the past 20 years has ever had any such rules, but I think that would actually be a good one.

      I did once buy a second-hand trolley which came with those winter wheels attached and they were great, however, as you say, a real nightmare to clean!

      Absolutely agree about the front wheel as mine gets clogged up really easily due to the casing around it being very close to the wheel. It certainly doesn’t take much for it to become clogged and is a nightmare to clean if left to dry!

  2. Winter mats are used at my club for the reasons you state. Many people don’t like using them, mainly for selfish reasons — winter golf is just exercise

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Alistair. I have to be honest, I wasn’t ever really too keen on playing golf during the winter months as I didn’t enjoy playing off of a mat, however, since buying my current mat I’ve found myself enjoying it again. Still not utterly keen on winter greens but the use of mats doesn’t bother me anymore. As you say, though, that’s not the case for everyone.

      If you want to see my top suggested winter golf mats then feel free to check out my latest post: 5 of the best winter golf mats on Amazon.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read the post and leave a comment!


Was this article interesting or helpful? Let me know below...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Blog Posts

  • Blog Post
Load More Blog Posts

End of Content.