Playing Winter Rules In The Spring

Do you play winter rules in the spring? Osprey Links is a great golf course, but it takes time every year for the course to get up to summer playing conditions. So, I play winter rules until I feel that the course ready. Some years, winter rules last until June and other years I will play certain holes using winter rules until fall. It really depends on when the course conditions improve. Having said that, winter rules for tournaments are determined by tournament committee just in case you think I am might take advance of the field. Sit tight, there is more to the winter rules story.

For those of you who play in warm climes, winter rules offer a player to more the ball to the closest playable piece of ground. Sometimes it is within inches, other times we have to more feet. I realize that most of you are rolling your eyes and thinking “What The Heck!” Winter rules is not to gain an advantage, but to protect the course from undue damage.

This is a perfect example of Rick using winter rules in August. This is not my home course.

Early in the spring, our course is very delicate. The last thing that it needs is a bunch of players chewing up the dirt and fresh grass when it is trying to take hold. Also, there are many wet areas (that do not fall under the casual water rules) that also need to be protected. Gouging trenches with my wedge is really a bad idea for many reasons.

As the course starts to improve, my use of winter rules starts to diminish. In short order I only use winter rules in the fairway. Then not at all. There are a couple of instances where I do not use winter rules. First, if I am in a divot, I play it where it lies. Second, if my ball is in a good place to play, I play it down. Lastly, the closer I am to the green, the less likely that I will use winter rules because I could gain a tremendous advantage and that is just not right.

Winter rules are a thing. I try to minimize using them a much a possible, but at the beginning of the year, it is important to protect the golf course. Hence, I feel comfortable using them when I think they are needed. It is just part of golf in the northern climes.

Do you use winter rules?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

10 thoughts on “Playing Winter Rules In The Spring

  1. Hi Jim, we do not have winter rules here, you can get a drop away from GUR, placing is never allowed. So it is the same rules summer and winter. Enjoy your summer golf, we are just heading into winter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great topic especially for us in the Great White North. We usually play winter rules for the exact reasons that you mentioned. Protection of the course is very important. Furthermore, playing the ball down when conditions are rough would make difficult conditions even more difficult. After all, golf is only a game after all.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I consider myself a fair weather golfer, just kidding. My friends and I started the seaso on March 12. We played in temperatures as low as 2 C and in winds that could be classified as high. No problem playing in those conditions if you dress properly in layers and of course winter rules. I prefer to play rather than moping about not playing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim, I always play it down. The only exception is if tournament rules specify otherwise.

    I used to play winter rules until I played with the greens keeper at the club I used to work at. He always played it down and when I inquired why, said that it was in the rules. Pretty straightforward. Ever since, I’ve played it down.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian

      I understand the greenkeepers approach. Our winters are so long that the first few weeks of play requires a little TLC for the course. This year, however will be different as the course will be in awesome shape when we start playing since no one has played on it since mid April. Hopefully our restrictions will be lifted soon.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure why we don’t have a better suited name for it down here because winter is never the problem, but we use “winter” rules often enough down here thanks to the frequent tropical storms we get over the summer months. Dealing with downed branches or even tree’s is pretty much a yearly thing.

    My fifth day in a row on the course felt a bit of a scramble after a decent first few holes. I ended up 6 over which isn’t terrible for the course we played, but I left a little disappointed. I mean I hit some really good shots out there today that ended up problems. I went for the green on a hole that plays about 250. There isn’t any real trouble for me on this one. I usually hit a bit high and come up just on or just short when I get it on line. This time though my hit was about what I consider the perfect trajectory for my ball for distance and the ball landed past the pin (so maybe 265 today) and bounced off big and ended up 30 yards past in the deep stuff and brought me a bogie after hacking it out but not on. And the very next tee I hit my 3 hybrid. My 3 iron usually gets to the 100 yard marker on this hole. This was the first time I’d used the hybrid here as we hadn’t played there in months though. So far, every shot with it was pretty much striped down the middle with a little draw and this hole called for a draw so I’m confident standing of that ball for that swing. I aimed at the 100 yard marker and I nailed it. Straight as an arrow without even hint of a draw or fade. It went right through the bend and kept on going. It wouldn’t have been all that bad, but the pin was short sided on the right and there was a tall pine tree directly in front of me and between me and the pin. To get over that, I’d need to open the face on the sand wedge which I worried would fly the green or use the lob wedge which, I’d have to hit with pretty much everything and that’s seldom pretty. So I was left with chipping under the tree and there just really wasn’t any chance at stopping the ball close. I ended up 3 putting for bogie when the 4 foot par putt lipped out on the high side. Every shot on that hole was what I’d call good. Just none of them got the job done.

    So I left both proud of myself both for making it through 5 days of golf with no real adverse effects, happy with how I hit the ball, yet disappointed with the score just the same. A not untypical scenario for many I suspect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      You sound like a typical golfer. It is great to be playing, but there is always room for improvement. 😁 I think that is what drives us to try and play better. Thanks for sharing your golf exploits, it is all we have until the restrictions are lifted!

      Cheers Jim


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