Cold-Weather Golf

Cold-weather survival guide: Need-to-know tips from three golfers who brave the coldest conditions

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As the days get shorter and golf courses start to close up shop for the winter, weekend rounds become scarce. But those of us who will do anything to get out on the links know that it’s possible to enjoy off-season rounds—as long as you’re properly equipped for extreme weather conditions.
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We all have standard half-zips and long pants buried somewhere in our closets, but when temperatures drop to the 40’s and gusts of winter-y rain roll in, your average cold weather gear just isn’t going to cut it. Appropriate layering will not only keep you comfortable, but it will also improve your performance. Avoiding numb fingertips and frozen limbs is key to experiencing any type of enjoyment (and safety) on these kinds of days.

Who better to ask how best to keep warm on the course than the folks who experience extreme conditions on the daily? We spoke to Justin Kordus, the caddie manager at Erin Hills, Abby Parsons, an assistant golf professional who worked at Whistling Straits, Tony Shuster, a Bandon Dunes caddie, and Hannah Rawlings, Merchandise Manager at Bandon's Sheep Ranch to disclose their best tried-and-tested winter gear. Here’s what we learned.

Staying warm while looking sharp
Justin Kordus, born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, started as a PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour caddie before he began working at Erin Hills when it opened in 2006. As the caddie manager, Kordus braces the Milwaukee April chill every season for caddie training — temperatures can get down to 35 degrees. Wisconsin golfers are truly a different breed.

“Personally, I like to still look like a golfer when trying to stay warm, and I’ll strategically layer.” Kordus noted. Throughout his years at Erin Hills, Kordus has learned that layering is key, but there is a right and wrong way to do it. Here are two of Kordus’ favorite products that will provide an excellent base layer and keep you from looking like an alpine skier.
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Windchill secrets
While she was an assistant professional at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisc.—host of the 2021 Ryder Cup—Abby Parsons often found herself teaching in harsh wind conditions for hours on end. “I deal with a lot of chilly wind at Whistling Straits, so I feel like an expert in this category,” Parsons said. “I need a lot of layers some days when it’s 30 degrees, but I still need mobility to move around and teach.”

Parsons has since moved to warmer teaching conditions in her current role as a golf professional at The Country Club at DC Ranch in balmy Scottsdale.

On windy days, sporting raingear over your typical cold-weather golf outfits is typically the best way to stay protected. The waterproof technology not only keeps you dry, but provides a solid barrier to lock in your body heat. Parsons’ go-to wind-proof and waterproof items allow her to stay warm and do her job effectively.
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Hand warmth is key
Tony Shuster is a veteran caddie who now works full-time at Bandon Dunes. He has watched hundreds of golfers brave the elements—and he emphasizes that keeping your fingers warm and dry is perhaps the most essential area of focus when preparing for a frigid round.

“Warm hands are so important, especially when it’s raining,” Shuster said. “Rain gloves are great, but they provide no defense against cold hands.”

He’s a fan of handwarmers, but also has a pro tip to keeping hands warm using supplies you may have at home: “Wear surgical gloves under your rain gloves. Your hands stay warm and dry. Make sure you put them on before your hands get wet!”
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