League of their own

The winter league is a tradition unlike any other in golf… and if you’re not playing in it you’re missing out

Winter golf is a special thing, something every golfer should appreciate and take on with the same passion as an August medal.

There’s the excitement of opening the curtains as the sun rises to find a crisp, dry November morning awaits; the sadness of finding the course is closed due to rain having risen so early and donned four layers of clothing; the camaraderie that is built around the collective appreciation for balls bouncing off frozen winter greens… all of these are key components of winter golf.

The camaraderie on and off the golf course is greater in these months than in any other. Competitions tend to be played out over many weeks, if not months, often in new pairings each week and always while wrapped in more layers than golf should require. This is why the few hardy souls in my own club’s winter league continue to turn out every Sunday morning. You’ll find us all in the clubhouse at 7.30am and then piled back in there four hours or so later – which keeps the club’s coffers topped up as many fair-weather members won’t be seen until The Masters is back on TV.

While we all get frustrated by the conditions at this time of year and few delight in frozen winter greens, would any of us be happier watching politicians shout at each other on the BBC or even worse, attempting to visit a supermarket on a Sunday?

It’s truly sad to see our own winter league diminish in recent years, many favouring to pack up the clubs and stay indoors or unwilling to commit to playing each week regardless of conditions, fearing the worst and failing to appreciate the best of this time of year.

Winters in Britain are long, there are only so many times you can hit balls on the driving range before you long to walk the fairways again, and there’s no greater fellowship in golf than those who have trekked through mud, ice, hail, snow and rain together to battle a frozen golf course.

With the summer so long away still, it’s time more of us get out on the course, support our clubs through competition fees and warming up in the clubhouse after our rounds, and take full advantage of the membership fees we pay for 12 months of golf.

Embrace the conditions, relax a little and enjoy a very different challenge on the golf course… you may even enjoy it!