Here’s a selection of tips you can try in the comfort of your own home if it’s too cold, wet or foggy to venture out.
Plus a few sensible options to keep your game in shape and make the best of bad weather.
Let us know if you have some home-spun tips by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Skirting board practice
Putting practice on the carpet is a favourite pastime especially when it’s damp outside and your carpet develops subtle humps and hollows as it stretches.
As well as putting to the mouth of a tumbler or an upturned tee, check the backswing of your putting stroke by putting along the skirting board and avoid touching the edge in the back-stroke and follow through.
2. Swing reflections
A great tip always promoted by Colin Montgomerie and others is ‘always complete your back swing.’
Set up facing a window outside and practice your takeaway and check your reflection to see how far you take the club at the top of the backswing. Go on…no one’s watching, honest!
3. Carpet chipping
Avoid taking divots out of your lawn by borrowing the doormat and nip some short wedge shots into the dustbin or a washing basket. Better still, use a clothes horse and practice hitting through the rungs at different heights.
You can experiment with ball position and the lofts on your wedges to play high and low shots. You’ll be amazed how much feel, height and spin you will generate if you let the loft do the work.
4. Balancing act
Help strengthen your wrists and improve your hand-eye co-ordination by bouncing a ball on the face of your wedge just like Tiger.
Set yourself targets every day playing ‘keepy-uppy’. Start with your favoured hand almost on the metal of the shaft below the grip for easier control and gradually move your the grip up the handle. The muscles in your wrist will strengthen and you will find those tricky shots from heavy rough by the green much easier to control.
5. Rain in the neck!
When the weather’s foul and you’re trying to keep your concentration, despite irritating drops of water trickling down your back as you putt, wrap an old tea towel round your neck inside your collar.
It will keep you warm and reasonably waterproof and more likely to enjoy your round with fewer distractions.
6. Brush up for stability
Softspikes have been proved to be more comfortable and less damaging to the course than metal spikes but they tend to clog up when conditions are damp and muddy underfoot.
Attach a small stiff bristled brush to your bag (FootJoy supply a ready-made one on an elasticated string), to keep spikes mud and grass free and establish more stability in your stance. Use the brush to keep club grooves clean, too.
7. Water in winter
As your body temperature drops in winter play, it’s more important than every to maintain your energy levels as your approach the end of your round.
A few sips of water every few holes while you munch on an energy bar or banana will help retain your concentration. And when the winter league or medal demands a countback you’ll be better placed than those who are starving or thirsty over the closing holes!
8. Warm-up pays dividends
Warming up before you step out on the course in the winter months will pay dividends, even it’s only for a few minutes.
If there’s no opportunity or inclination to hit a few balls on the range before you play at least do a few stretches and arm swings with a couple of clubs on your shoulders to limber up. Five minutes of chipping to get some feel into your hands also pays dividends.
9. Layer upon layer
Several thin layers of clothing when it’s cold are better than one thick sweater under your waterproof top, which can restrict your swing.
They tend to retain the heat better and you can always peel off an extra polo shirt or sleeveless sweater if the temperature starts to rise.
10. Hats all right, then!
Eighty-per-cent of heat in your body escapes through the top of your head so keep a woolly hat or cap handy in the winter months.
And waterproof trousers will also help to keep your body supple when there’s a chill wind round your knees and nether regions!
Article first published November 2001, updated April 2013