What are the rules of winter golf?

Thinking of getting out for some winter golf in the next few weeks? 


Many fair weather golfers might be getting itchy feet around about this time of year, staring out of the window and wishing for those clear blue skies and bright sunshine, days which are surely just around the corner? But for the hardier golfer (we applaud you!), the game is a staple all year round…come rain or shine!

But for those who are toying with the idea of braving the wind and the rain this winter (having recently topped up your bag with some new Green Swing golf tees), you might be wondering…what are the rules of winter golf? And why are the rules in place?

Sometimes referred to as ‘preferred lies’, the rules of winter golf state that (on close-mown areas only) you may lift, clean and place your ball within six inches of where it has stopped moving. Often referred to as ‘pick and place’ you can choose a better place to sit your ball on the fairway for your next shot. Given the ground is a lot softer on the fairway during the winter be sure to move it clear of the soggy mud or that suspicious looking puddle. Do remember, as soon as you let go of that ball, it is in play, so take care to choose your position carefully! Just be sure that you aren’t positioning your ball closer to the hole, no one likes that person!

If the position you choose results in your ball failing to come to rest once you release it, you get another chance at that spot, but if it moves after you’ve released it, but before you take your shot, you must play on, or face a one-shot penalty.

Sometimes it can be so muddy on the course that your ball becomes embedded or ‘plugged’. A ball is considered to be embedded when it is in it’s own pitchmark, and if part of the ball is below the level of the ground. What are the rules of winter golf for embedded balls? You are permitted to take free relief by dropping the original ball, or a replacement ball, into the general area and play on from there.  

It's important to remember that there are variations to these rules, depending on the club you play at. There will usually be signage to show you that winter golf rules are in play, and the specifics of what the rules are at that particular club. So, be sure to keep an eye out; the rules can often extend to the end of March, and are weather dependant. The rules of winter golf are put in place to protect the course from becoming heavily damaged during the colder, wetter periods of the year.

Some of our top tips for maximising your golf game during the winter:

  • Learn the rules of winter golf (now you’ve read our blog, there’s no excuse!)
  • Consider investing in some winter wheels for your golf trolley
  • Wrap up warm – layers are key!
  • Have a range of balls at your fingertips
  • Top up your supply of golf tees – it can sometimes be tough to find your golf tee in the leaves and the mud. Have you checked out our full colour range – now easier than ever to find!

We would also recommend having a chat with your playing partners before the round begins to reaffirm the rules and winter adjustments you are playing with just to be sure.

So hopefully this gives you more of an insight into what are the rules of winter golf. Have we tempted you back out onto the course? If you are toying with the idea of some winter golf, don’t forget to keep your bag topped up with our range of sustainable bamboo golf tees – we have something for everyone, including our popular full colour range for golfers who like to add a splash of colour to their game! And keep your eyes open for some new products currently in development; sign up to our email list to be one of the first in the know when new products land!

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