3 keys to playing in the cold, according to a PGA Tour fitness expert

Lydia Ko and Yealimi Noh were dressed for the cold during the U.S. Women's Open.

Lydia Ko and Yealimi Noh were bundled up for one the coldest rounds ever played during a U.S. Women's Open.

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Winter is here, and with it comes frigid temperatures, wind, rain and snow. If you’re a serious golfer (or have a screw loose), you know a little cold weather won’t stop you from getting in 18 holes, despite the freezing conditions. 

When it comes to playing in the cold, however, there are a few things you need to know if you want to play your best and stay healthy while you do it. Don’t just take our word for it. In a recent conversation with Kolby Wayne Tullier, who trains PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players, he shared his athletes’ secrets to competing at the highest level in cold weather. Check out his tips below. 

1. A good round starts with a good warmup

It might be easy to roll up to the course five minutes before your tee time and get a quick stretch in before you tee off during the summer, but doing so in the winter leaves you susceptible to injury. Jumping right into your round without a solid 20-30 minute warmup is like trying to stretch a rubber band you just took out of the freezer. If you pull on that rubber band, it’s going to snap a lot easier than it would if you had warmed it up first. That’s exactly what happens to you muscles too, Tullier says.

So, once you’ve warmed up, how do you stay warm?

2. Wear lots of layers

This probably seems obvious, but layers is a tried and true way to keep your body temperature up in cold weather. That’s because warm air gets trapped between each layer, acting as an insulator. When layering, make sure you wear a moisture-wicking base layer, a mid layer that provides insulation to trap your body heat, and an outer layer to protect you from wind and rain. Sticking to this layering system will ensure you keep warm, but don’t wind up wearing bulky items that prevent you from freely swinging a club. 

3. Eat more snacks on the course

Snacking every few holes and staying hydrated is good advice any time of the year, but in the winter you should have something to eat and drink every two or three holes instead of every four to five holes. You don’t have to eat a large amount, but every time you eat and drink something your body will begin its digestive process, which actually raises your core temperature. Because your body is working twice as hard to keep you warm and get you around 18 holes, you actually need to take in more calories than you think when it’s cold out. 

Follow these tips and you’ll be able to bring your A-game to a frigid course near you.