The air is crisp, the greens are soft, the trees are rusty, and the skies are gloomy—fall golf is here. When one thinks of teeing it up, they usually paint a picture in their mind of hot summer days and long evening shadows, but let’s not forget the beauty of fall fairways. Although autumn conditions are different, they’re by no means worse, and if you follow a few simple steps to keep comfortable on the course, your season is far from over. Here are some tips to help you maximize your golf experience this fall.
When it’s 40 degrees in the middle of July, you don’t have the luxury of taking off layers, but when it’s cool and damp in October, you’re in luck. A good layering system can make all the difference in helping your body stay warm and limber to play your best. From head-to-toe rain suits to short-sleeve pullovers, apparel options that keep you dry and comfortable on the course are must-have items when playing into the autumn months. Not sure where to look for such buys? Check out brands such as Galvin Green, Adidas, and FootJoy for a variety of layering selections.
Dressing for the fall isn’t just about keeping warm, it’s also about keeping clean. You’ve probably heard the sartorial rule that states white shouldn’t be worn after labour day. This mandate should be especially enforced if you plan on golfing. White shirts, light khakis, and other bright colours may look nice when you’re in the cozy confines of your living room, but once you’re on the course that white cashmere vest is destined for defacement. Flying mud, blowing leaves, rain, and other elements of the great outdoors quickly take their toll on poorly chosen clothing colours. If you’re wanting to keep as tidy as possible, go for darker hues—browns, blacks, dark greys and deep blues hold up far better. In other words, don’t be the guy in the clubhouse who looks like he wore white coveralls while dredging a canal.
Walk for Warmth
It’s always a good idea to walk the course if you’re able to do so, but it’s an especially smart move when playing in cool conditions. Moving your body helps increase blood circulation, which keeps your muscles loose and warm. Sitting in a cart on a cool day can lead to stiffness and poor circulation, leading to chills and tight swings. Not to mention, you’ll soon be missing the days of strolling down fairways when there’s a foot of snow outside, so make the most of it while it lasts.
Loose impediments on a golf course are never more prevalent than in the fall. Acorns, pinecones and ruby red leaves are strewn across fairways during the autumn months, and although these natural sights make for great photos, they can also penalize your score. Large collections of leaves and other debris can make it difficult to locate your ball, leading to frustrating searches after well-struck shots. But don’t fret, there’s a relatively unknown rule that allows players a free drop if their ball has gone missing as a result of accumulated impediments, i.e. leaves, twigs, nuts, etc. Model Local Rule F-14 is a rule and must be implemented wherever you’re playing, but if available it allows you to play your lost ball as if it were ground under repair, meaning a club length’s drop that’s no closer to the hole. Even if Model Local Rule F-14 is not in play, you may be able to leverage Rule 16.1e, which states that if your ball is lost and it is “known or virtually certain that the ball came to rest in or on an abnormal course condition,” you’re entitled to a free drop as if it were ground under repair. Keep keen on the rules and save yourself from frustration and bogeys this fall.
When it’s cold outside the ball doesn’t compress as much as it would if it were mid-summer. Less compression means less distance, so if you’re playing the same yardages in October as you did July, you’re going to be disappointed when you find the front bunker. Adapt your game to weather conditions and try hitting one more club this fall.