As the extreme heat starts to fade here in Central Texas and we find sweet relief in the more mild weather, it’s become an ideal time to grab your clubs and hit the golf course.
Luckily for us, golf provides a multitude of benefits we can take advantage of year-round here in Texas. Even during the time of COVID-19, the game continues to be an ideal outdoor activity that promotes a healthy lifestyle and helps to forge both personal and business relationships with fellow golfers.
Here, I’ve compiled a few tips for enjoying the perfect round of golf during the season change and how to use those changes to your advantage.
Be Kind to Your Joints
Cool weather tends to promote tightness of muscles and joints, so it’s important now, more than ever, to add stretching to your pre-golf routine. I recommend adding a dedicated stretching time before your round that focuses on your shoulders, lower back, hips and hamstrings.
For convenience, golfers can carry a couple of bands in their golf bag they can pull out and attach to the cart for a quick and efficient stretch session. When on the range, I suggest players start by hitting short pitch shots and work their way up to the longer and fuller shots. This will promote a better tempo and help to avoid straining any muscles or ligaments.
Use the Change in Season to Your Advantage
Since many area courses have spent the summer managing heat and agronomy maintenance, most courses are at their peak condition as the season starts to change.
Golfers can also enhance their game by taking advantage of seasonal changes that can lead to easier playing conditions. For example, courses will begin to firm up as the weather cools, leading to more roll than you would get in the summer months.
Plus, in the beginning of fall, trees will begin the process of shedding their leaves. Fortunately for golfers, all leaves on the ground are considered loose impediments by Rule 15 of USGA’s The Rules of Golf for 2019 book — so, golfers can use these loose impediment leaves to their advantage during their round. For example, if you do not have a clear shot on the putting green due to fallen leaves, you are able to remove them from your line and continue on your way to making that putt. Another great rule for handling those pesky leaves is Rule 16.1e, Relief for Ball Not Found but in or on Abnormal Course Condition. If it is basically certain your ball came to rest in a pile of leaves, and you can’t find it, it can be played as ground under repair, and free relief can be rewarded.
Remember the Basics
As the weather starts to cool down, it’s easy to forget some of the essential tools for your day on the course. For example, even though the weather may not be blistering hot, it’s still important to remember that golf is a physical sport, and it is imperative to stay hydrated.
In addition to bringing a water bottle to the course, I recommend golfers keep sunscreen in their bag, so it’s easily available to them every time they tee up. Sunblock is essential to protect yourself while spending hours outside perfecting your game, even during cloudy days.
Forget the cart and try walking. If the course layout sets up well for walking, take advantage of the cool temps and enjoy a more active round of golf.
Plan in Advance and Look for Specials
Since the fall season is one of the peak playing periods for most courses, I recommend golfers plan ahead when booking tee times. Additionally, right now is a great time to look for great deals for the winter. For example, here at Wolfdancer Golf Club, we are planning to offer a special Winter Golf Pass which will include unlimited green fees and cart fees throughout the season.
Jason Boydston is the head golf professional at Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa. With more than 12 years working in the industry, Boydston has worked at golf courses throughout Texas. When he’s not on the course, Jason enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his wife, two boys and two dogs.