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Monday, October 20, 2014

Cold Balls - Warm Heart

Living in South Carolina, where fall comes later and spring comes earlier than many other parts of the US, I'm still playing in shorts but I know we're edging up to a change in seasons because I'm now taking a sweater with me to the golf course.  Although I'm only wearing it on the range and through the first three or four holes, and although I'm still a little bit sweaty at the end of my round, I know cold weather's coming and with it cold hands, cold knees, cold nose, and cold golf balls.

I keep my balls inside year-round rather than storing them in my bag, so I don't have to change that part of my routine going into the cooler months, but since I'm such a short hitter I do everything possible to avoid losing those 5-10 yards per shot that come from playing with cold balls.

I checked my winter gear yesterday, located my under armor and winter gloves and my box of hand warmers (I buy them in bulk at WalMart, hunting supplies section.)  I keep one of those little packets in my right-side pocket when I play in cold weather.  They do double duty -- keeping my ungloved right hand and my balls warm at the same time.

I don't need my thinsulate-lined headband, yet, but I dug around and finally found it on my computer desk, tucked under the edge of my printer.  (I won't even try to speculate on why or how it got left in that curiously inappropriate storage area last spring.)  I'm officially ready to tee off in cold weather.

The smart-wool undershirts and the flannel-lined chinos will come later, but they're ready and waiting to be called into service.  Snow rarely falls on the fairways at my home course, but there comes a time when the dreaded pond that intersects the fairway on the eighth hole will freeze.  I anticipate that wonderful moment in mid-winter when my ball goes across the icy skin on the pond like a hockey puck.

I've started being a bit more attentive to my stretches -- no reason to invite an injury to this old, less resilient body.  I don't particularly enjoy exercise for the sake of exercise.   In fact, I can be downright lazy about it, but those stretches to my arms, my legs, my shoulders maximize the likelihood that I'll start my round warm and relaxed and able to swing my sticks properly.  Robin York has some great advice that I follow for getting my body ready for a cold weather round.

Now, all I need to do is remember that I'll probably need a little more club than I did last summer, that I'll need to keep sipping water and, eventually, hot tea, that I can keep my core warm and flexible by wearing a hat, and that golf is always preferable to cleaning toilets and dusting, and not complain about brown fairways, frost delays, and zippy greens!