Golf, Weather, Location, and Handicaps

tomahawk18

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I was out playing golf Saturday in the 52 degree drizzle and started thinking about golf in the NW vs nicer areas, and how it effects handicaps or scores.

I have played 3 rounds this month and the conditions have all been the similar. Saturday, the course was wet, and playing crazy long. There was no roll or bounce on drives, and the ball buried on nearly every shot, or had a ton of mud on it. I lost 2 balls that looked to be in the fairway or just off, but plugged in the mud somewhere. I was playing 2 clubs longer on approaches, as the ball wasn't flying at all in the cold drizzle. You have to hit the ball absolutely pure every time as the grass and ground is so wet that if you hit it barely fat you lose tons of distance. Hands are cold and wet which effect feel. The greens are mushy and footprints and spike marks galore. I know this sounds like a whine session, but I am just trying to give you a feel for the conditions.

Golf for us in the NW will be this way for at least another 6 weeks, (probably longer), as we usually don't get great conditions until June and sometimes that is iffy, then it should be nice through September. Our hadicaps are active from March 1 to Nov 15, and out of that time frame we here in the NW may have 3 months of good conditions to play in. The avid player golfs throughout the handicap period and posts scores the entire time, generally playing in less than optimal to bad conditions in spring and fall. Handicaps are based on rating and slope of courses. I'm here to tell you that the courses we play up here are playing far tougher than their ratings a lot of the time during handicap posting season due to sloppy conditions. Saturday, we had to lift clean and place almost every drive and iron shot that missed the green as most of them looked like fried eggs in the grass. If you want to play golf here, you have to deal with these conditions more often than you would like to admit.

Most of you who live in the South seem to have great conditions for golf nearly year round. I saw that it was 90 on Sunday in Orlando. 90 in March?...SWEET!! We just had our first 60 degree day in over 5 months. LAME!! I know wind is a factor everywhere, (we have it too), so take that out of the equation. I wonder how much the guys in Florida, Arizona, So. Cal, etc have to play in this type of weather? My guess is pretty rarely?

Am I making too much of this? I always post better scores in the summer, is weather that big of a reason? Small reason? I always forget how much better I feel playing in warm weather. The fairway lies are much better. The greens roll true. I don't stiffen up as much when it's warm. The ball flies 15% further. To me all big factors. I started thinking to myself that my handicap would improve if I simply lived in a warmer weather area. Is that true? Is it fair? Anyone else ever think about this?
 
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mhuelsman131

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Living in New England I see this as well but our handicap season doesnt start until April 1st. I think weather probably has something to do with it but has to be combined with course conditions, amount of winter practice ect. I think most of my lousy scores in the early spring are due to lack of good practice during the winter months combined with poor course conditions (bumpy greens mostly) and then colder weather.
 

DawgDaddy

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I always look forward to the late spring to late fall season as I score better, but in the winter my scores in my weekly blitz will go up about 6 strokes. I don't really care because everyone else's does too, so it equals out.
 

Aaronthehack

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Well golf in Ohio almost sounds the same but 15* cooler. Course conditions sound the same except the greens. I played last weekend and the greens were hard as rocks but the ball rolled pretty slow for the hard greens. The bunkers were like hitting off of concrete, very hard pan bunkers. I hit one shot that I thought was a good sand shot and it flew the green by 10 yards and left me short sided but I still had a good time.
 

#Cookie

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I hate cold weather and already knew that I would never live in a cold weather state. Thanks for reaffirming my thoughts.

I do agree with your thought process though as weather will play a huge impact on scores. Courses play longer when wet and when it is cold it is just not as much fun. Cold definitely tends to restrict your swing because you are not as loose as may have bulky clothing on, etc IMO.
 

Sean

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This has been the longest winter I can remember. I haven't played golf in decent weather since last October. I've played a few times this year, but the wind chills were in the low 30s. It's going on five months now. I've been to the range over the winter, but it's not the same thing, especially when it comes to the short game.
 

MagnusRide

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i played this weekend and almost every ball went into the ground to some extent. No bounce on drives and one ball landed clearly in the fairway threw up a 3ft splash and disappeared. Im ready for some sun!
 

coolbreeze

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As a NW golfer myself I have to agree with everything you just said. I would say we get 5 months of weather that is good enough where you can post scores in resonable weather, the rest of the year you are playing in TOUGH conditions. I think our handicaps go active April 1st and until May sometime, you are playing really tough courses with the weather added in. I do think my HC would be lower if I lived somewhere you could play similar conditions year round, but its not really an option since the US doesn't like Canadians coming down and taking jobs away from Americans (totally agree with this by the way) so for the forseeable future this is the best I can get. At least I can golf year round which is more than a lot of this continent can say.
 

Spank818

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As far as weather is concerned, here in CFL, we obviously have the heat to deal with during the dog days. That actually has an effect on the game when you're sweltering in the triple H. We also have the wet weather since we do have a rainy season. One thing as well that some of the southern states that have golf 365 might have an effect on your handicap or scoring is overall course conditions. Since we have more folks that play on a consistent basis on courses that virtually have no offseason or recovery period as well as your rec golfer that might not know how to treat a course. Obviously depending on the course you'll see more pitch marks, unfixed divots, general wear on the greens, etc.

Of course the tradeoff is that we can keep our games consistent since there's no weather related long layoff period. We do have cold snaps here and there (and once you live here, sub 50 degrees could sometimes feel unbearable) but for the most part ranges and courses remain open. If anything that's the one factor that could improve your game is just having the ability to play more on a consistent basis.
 

dave1269

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Here's another soggy Vancouver Island golfer who is looking forward to dry and firm conditions. While I do like to boast that we golf 12 months of the year, many of those winter outings are barely tolerable. Active handicap season started on March 14, my cap just dropped by almost 1.5 strokes. At least everything is starting to dry out, I actually saw some roll in the fairway on weekend.
 

tyno

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living in NW PA, i haven't played a round since late September, so i'm definitely itching to get out on the links. the problem is, this winter is overstaying it's welcome.
so as anxious as we are to get back out there in april, usually the conditions are less than favorable. balls plug almost everywhere, sand is "hard pan" or water logged depending and the course overall is just not in excellent condition for a scoring round. you can't ignore the weather, and obviously for many different reasons...be it, confidence, flexibility in clothes, condition of the course, sunshine or whatever...i would say 90% of the time, most of us hackers will probably score better during the summer months in nicer weather/conditions. nevertheless though, i try not to let the weather be an excuse for me shooting poorly. obviously it is much more difficult to play in the rain or cold, but i've always said, that's why golf is played outside and not inside. the elements are part of the game. but i agree that if i could play golf year-round, i would definitely be a few strokes better. i'm not saying i would be a scratch hdcp, but if you were able to do anything twice as much as normal, you would think that you would have to improve by just a little bit.
i guess the only positive way to look at being a seasonal golfer is if i were able to play golf year round, i wouldn't be as excited for the season to start.
 

tomahawk18

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living in NW PA, i haven't played a round since late September, so i'm definitely itching to get out on the links. the problem is, this winter is overstaying it's welcome.
so as anxious as we are to get back out there in april, usually the conditions are less than favorable. balls plug almost everywhere, sand is "hard pan" or water logged depending and the course overall is just not in excellent condition for a scoring round. you can't ignore the weather, and obviously for many different reasons...be it, confidence, flexibility in clothes, condition of the course, sunshine or whatever...i would say 90% of the time, most of us hackers will probably score better during the summer months in nicer weather/conditions. nevertheless though, i try not to let the weather be an excuse for me shooting poorly. obviously it is much more difficult to play in the rain or cold, but i've always said, that's why golf is played outside and not inside. the elements are part of the game. but i agree that if i could play golf year-round, i would definitely be a few strokes better. i'm not saying i would be a scratch hdcp, but if you were able to do anything twice as much as normal, you would think that you would have to improve by just a little bit.
i guess the only positive way to look at being a seasonal golfer is if i were able to play golf year round, i wouldn't be as excited for the season to start.
I'm not meaning to use the weather as an excuse. Just wondering how big the advantage the Southerners have on us Northerners. I mean, if I play an 8.7 handicapper from Arizona straight up at a neutral course, and we both have our "A" games, I think I would win. If I am shooting 80 up here in slop, and he is shooting 80 in great conditions on a similar course down south, my 80 seems more impressive on paper, right?
 

JB

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I'm not meaning to use the weather as an excuse. Just wondering how big the advantage the Southerners have on us Northerners. I mean, if I play an 8.7 handicapper from Arizona straight up at a neutral course, and we both have our "A" games, I think I would win. If I am shooting 80 up here in slop, and he is shooting 80 in great conditions on a similar course down south, my 80 seems more impressive on paper, right?
You are assuming that all things are equal. What about the heat that us southerners deal with in the summer? What about different types of courses? There are many other variables that play a part in it, outside of just weather. I have lived in the north and in the south. My handicap did not change one bit. In fact it was better up north (but only by .5).
 

tomahawk18

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Thanks JB, that is why I was asking. I have no perspective except from Northwest colored glasses. I just don't play enough destination golf to know.
 

JB

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Thanks JB, that is why I was asking. I have no perspective except from Northwest colored glasses. I just don't play enough destination golf to know.
I thought going up north, my game would go to heck, and it would change everything. What I found is after a month of adjustment, it was just different, but all things became equal. Is there an advantage to living in the south? I think there are a lot of advantages, that is why we chose to move back, but that is for another topic.
 

thepete

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I do think most people would improve if they could play a season 2-3 times as long as their current one. I know I'm dying for a season that's longer than April-October.
 

tomahawk18

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I thought going up north, my game would go to heck, and it would change everything. What I found is after a month of adjustment, it was just different, but all things became equal. Is there an advantage to living in the south? I think there are a lot of advantages, that is why we chose to move back, but that is for another topic.
Yeah, I understand. It just gets frustrating playing in slop and cold. When you need a shovel to find your ball in the fairway, it just kinda sucks. I also have bad knees, and a questionable back, and I guess I feel the heat would help me personally a ton. I know it gets crazy hot down there in the summer and that would suck, but at least you can play early, if its raining here, we can't avoid it. :)
 

tyno

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I'm not meaning to use the weather as an excuse. Just wondering how big the advantage the Southerners have on us Northerners. I mean, if I play an 8.7 handicapper from Arizona straight up at a neutral course, and we both have our "A" games, I think I would win. If I am shooting 80 up here in slop, and he is shooting 80 in great conditions on a similar course down south, my 80 seems more impressive on paper, right?
understand...i think i went a little sidebar/off-topic there.
but i do see what you're saying.

JB makes a good point, as golf has many variables outside of the weather.

But...would a hacker that frequently golfs in the rain, score better than a hacker than frequently golfs in the sun if they played a match in the rain?
haha...maybe, but who knows.
 

Golf 'N Gator

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I guess I feel like I play ninety five percent of my golf in near perfect weather. Our season runs about the same of the OP, late March/early April to the end of October or maybe mid November most years. I have played 4 rounds to date this year (most years we get none in March) and while it was a little wet, it was warm (high 50's to mid 60's). I don't play at all of the temps are anything below 50/55 but I'll play when its really hot. If we get 2 or 3 inches of rain during the season, I'll take a day or two off. If the wind is blowing 30+ mph, I'll take the day off.
I guess I'm a fair weather player and I still managed to get in around 200 trips to the course (mix of 9 & 18 holes) last year, in a 7 month season. I would also be the first to admit that I am not great in the wet & wind, just because I choose to not play in those conditions. My only tounament golf the past few years has been the club championship, which I have no chance of winning, so I don't worry about never playing in the wind or rain.
 

jnug

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The handicap season sort of levels the playing field at least from the weather perspective. JB is right though. There is much more to it than weather and August in Florida does not sound like much of a fun golf weather deal to me.

I went out to the course for the first time today here in New Hampshire. It was supposed to hit 45* and it never got near it. It was high 30ish and windy as all get out......basically as bad as a cold late November, early December day. The course was not in great shape as there was still snow out there in some spots and there was wet and mud all over the place. The sand traps were in terrible shape. the tees and greens were not bad though.

Tomorrow it is supposed to hit 48* around here and the course has got about 110 people booked to tee off between 10AM and some time in the afternoon. It was truly empty today. So clearly people are hoping for a super weather day tomorrow and aiming at it.

I was just trying to get the feeling of a course under my feet again and shake off a little of the winter "heated bay range-itus" that can really be a problem those first few visits to the course. Really that was all I wanted to accomplish today. It did feel good to actually hit a ball off a tee into a fairway and to aim at a green from a fairway.
 

the_paulo

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I do think most people would improve if they could play a season 2-3 times as long as their current one. I know I'm dying for a season that's longer than April-October.
Even the advantage of being able to hit off grass during the winter months would be nice! I was having a kinda similar discussion with a few guys the other day. We were talking about Martin Laird playing well, and why there are not a lot of Scottish golfers doing well at the moment. Part of the reason that came up (and I think Stephen Gallacher or Laird has said as much), was that while they were honing their game, they could only practice putting for about 4-5 months per year over here.
 

JB

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Yeah, I understand. It just gets frustrating playing in slop and cold. When you need a shovel to find your ball in the fairway, it just kinda sucks. I also have bad knees, and a questionable back, and I guess I feel the heat would help me personally a ton. I know it gets crazy hot down there in the summer and that would suck, but at least you can play early, if its raining here, we can't avoid it. :)
There is a simple solution to that. Move. Not everybody wants to hear that part of it and its never as easy as it sounds, but it is always easier than people make it out to be. (if that makes sense).
 

ricky

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Living in New England isn't easy for golfers. It's going to be 50* today so I thought I would get out and beat it around a little this afternoon. I haven't played since early November so it will be an adventure, but fun. The weather forcast has rain/snow tomorrow so here we go again.
 

MarcW

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I believe weather is a HUGE factor in scores. I play much better in warm/hot weather than anything 70 or below. If I lived where I could play all year, I bet I would be a single digit handicap.
 

Hawk

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I will say that playing in Florida is a whole different ball game and I invariably play worse there than I normally do. Heat, wind, and tons of sand and water all make it tough for me.
 

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