Golf’s winter rules – what and why

There is no doubt that the weather can greatly affect a golfer’s game. Wind, rain, freezing cold temperatures… they can cause even the most proficient of golfers to have an off day.

Wind is a massive problem for any golfer as it can have a huge effect on ball flight. A ball hit into a strong headwind won’t get very far, whilst a ball hit with a tailwind behind it could travel much further than you’d anticipated. A strong crosswind can knock a golf ball off its projected path. How many times have you ended up with a ball in a bunker or water when you know you hit it perfectly?

Beginners will end up making far more mistakes than usual as they will find it difficult to gauge the effect that wind will have on their game. Choosing the right club can also be harder when you’re having to consider windy conditions.

Most golfers simply won’t play if it’s raining but sadly, there are times when you can’t avoid it. Rain can have a major effect on a golfer’s grip, as well as your concentration and vision. As the greens get wetter, tee shots and putts can become a lot slower than usual. Plus your stance may be compromised as your feet sink further into the ground.

Warley Park golf Club Winter Rules Golf Winter RulesThe cold usually has more of an impact on a golfer’s concentration than on the game itself. Playing golf in the cold requires more mental strength and focus – at least to play well!

As we head into the winter months, many newer golfers may assume that golf will be off the agenda. Yet with Warley Park’s significant investment in course maintenance, as well as ‘winter rules’, also known as ‘preferred lies’, a game of golf played in what you may consider harsh conditions, can be highly enjoyable.

However, because winter rules can be interpreted in different ways, it can get confusing. With this in mind, here is our definition.

Winter rules allow golfers to improve their lies in areas of the golf course that have been negatively affected by the weather without penalty. In a nutshell, you are able to move the ball to another area to improve its lie. Usually you can lift, clean and move your golf ball up to six inches in any direction from where it was originally.

A golf club will display a sign letting golfers know that winter rules are in place. It is not something that players are able to decide for themselves, irrespective of the weather at that moment in time. You can also choose to continue playing where it lies as normal if you would prefer.

And the ability to move your ball to improve its lie tends to only apply to the fairways. This is not an opportunity for you to change lie positions if your golf ball lands in a bunker or the water!

It is also worth noting that although this practice is called ‘winter rules’, it can be applied during other times of the year, such as periods of significant drought. This kind of arid weather can result in bald and patchy fairways.

If you are planning on playing a round of golf and would like to check whether winter rules have been applied, please call Warley Park on 01277 224891 or check out our Facebook page or Twitter

Also you can view our short video of our general winter rules:

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