Disc golf is a year-round activity for me. Some call me peculiar for playing disc golf in winter and enjoying it! I get this strange sense of wonder and nostalgia when I think about winter disc golf. Of course, I also forget some of the downfalls of disc golf in the winter. However, they don’t outweigh my love for being outside all year round.
As we approach winter I know there are some disc golfers who will hang up their bags until spring. For those disc golfers, I urge you to reconsider. If you are unsure if you are going to play all winter, I hope to persuade you to stay out in the cold!
10 Reasons to Play Disc Golf in Winter
I am going to assume (I know I shouldn’t) that the reason you don’t play in winter is that you hate cold weather. As a person who has lived in Wisconsin her whole life, I am familiar with people who “hate” winter. They loathe it and despise it. I kind of understand. I too have my limits when it comes to cold weather. If it is below 15 degrees that is my threshold. However, any temperature above that is fair game to me.
How do I deal with the cold weather? How do I not become bitter about the cold winter? Well, for one thing, I have a natural advantage that I am built for it. I have extra padding everywhere, lots of hair on my head, a warm rosy face. Plus, my husband says I have warm healing hands.
Perhaps you aren’t built for the cold. How will you deal with the cold? Physically? Bundle up! Wear many layers and a good hat. If you can invest in a great pair of boots do so. Mentally prepare yourself by acknowledging it may be cold, you may be uncomfortable. But once you start moving around you will warm up. As long as you are dressed for the weather, you will most likely find yourself not only be warm enough but possibly too warm.
1.) Enjoying the tough weather makes the good weather that much better
Another mind trick you can play is to acknowledge that being in the cold, and possibly snowy conditions will make the warm days of spring and summer that much better. If you don’t want to think that long term, think about that warm bowl of soup or a hot cup of coffee after your round of disc golf. As a person who enjoys the comforts of life, I recognize the importance of discomfort and challenges to appreciate the comforts. To me, life is all about balance. Create balance by enjoying the cold to make the warmer weather that much better.
2.) Big Skips
If you have ever disc golfed near or on a hard surface, you may have gotten a big skip at the end of your throw. The concrete and dry ground can create these skips. However, they pail in comparison to the giant skips that can be produced in winter from ice, hard-packed snow, or the frozen ground. Big skips are fun to watch and say to your card mates “OOOOO Big Skip!!” However, they can also be useful in adding extra distance to your throw—don’t we always all want to throw further?!
3.) Learn the Wind
Late fall, winter, and early spring disc golf tend to be windier than late spring through late summer. There are certain discs that are mainly used in my lineup during the cold weather times of the year due to the amount of wind. I have learned more about which discs work in certain winds in winter than I have any other time of the year! To be the best player you can be you need to know how to play in all different conditions, including wind.
4.) Play in a Snow Globe
Several years ago at a DOLLS travel winter travel league, we had the pleasure of playing in a snow storm! It was gentle snow and a mild 30 something degree day. The tree branches slowly began to get covered by fluffy powdery snow, do did the disc golf baskets. It was whimsical and magical!
Several years before that travel league my husband and I played out the first round of snowy disc golf. It was December of 2009 and we experienced a substantial snowfall. At the time we didn’t know that we could play in winter. We went out unprepared in jeans and jackets–but had a blast! Since then we never looked back on playing disc golf in the middle of a snowstorm.
5.) Bundle Up with Cool Winter Disc Golf Gear
Cute beanies, vests, fleece, hoodies, and neckwear are some of the gear you may find yourself wearing on the course. Every day has different weather which may require a slight change of gear. Meaning you can represent your favorite disc golf companies with different gear on a daily basis!
Here are a few things I almost always wear or have with me while playing disc golf in winter:
You will want several are some are better for super cold compared to others. Some block wind better, so it is best to have multiple winter hat options. I prefer a beanie, but if it gets really cold a trapper hat will certainly keep your head warm.
I have tried to play disc golf in a jacket and always felt restricted. Therefore, I have found a vest helps keep my core warm but my arms feel free.
My favorite boots for winter disc golf are my Keen boots I got a few seasons ago. They were definitely an investment as high-quality winter boots typically cost between $85 and $200. However, the many winter rounds of disc golf I have played in them made the initial investment worth it! Keeping your feet warm and dry is critical to enjoying winter. Put them on your holiday wish list, or start saving for a great pair of winter boots- you won’t regret it.
Warm Base Layers
Whether it is several pairs of low-cost leggings or a great thermal turtle neck–keeping your body warm starts at level one. It is similar to having a strong foundation for a house. Everything else works better if you start from the basics with solid base layers.
I know I said I am built for the cold and I have warm healing hands. However, my hands do go numb in 40 degrees or lower temps. It is only temporary, and once I am moving I regain feeling. To prevent my hands from getting cold and numb I always carry hand warmers, like Hot Hands in my pockets.
I have got used to covering my face in winter. Whether it is for a trip to the dog park or for a trip to the disc golf course, protecting my face from the cold and wind helps keep me outside longer. Face coverings such as a fleece bandana can also help to keep the wind from going down your top layers, which help your overall body temperature stay warm.
6.) Work on Your Disc Seeking Skills
Losing a disc is usually not fun. In tall prairie grass in the summer discs can go missing. In the fall when the leaves start to drop discs can get rather sneaky under the leaves. In winter when there is snow on the ground searching for your discs takes special skills.
Some players put ribbons on their discs to help them find discs in the snow. I personally don’t do this as it adds drag to my disc and one more thing for me to worry about. However, if this is helpful to you, keep on keepin’ on!
The more you play in winter the better you get at searching for discs. First, you learn to pay attention to your drive and your card mates throw as well. Second, your eyes adjust and get really good at looking for slits, and traces of discs in the snow. Third, you learn to not trample the entire fairway of snow prematurely. You learn that it is best to decide on a general area and look for the slits, and traces in the snow before start your search party.
7.) Vitamin D
I am not a doctor. I have no medical experience. However, I am aware of the positive impact of vitamin D for your immune system health. If you spend your entire winter indoors you may develop a vitamin D deficiency. However, if you get out and enjoy a round of disc golf on a sunny day, your skin will absorb vitamin D and help to maintain healthy levels. Which in turn means your immune system will be stronger.
8.) No mosquitoes or poison ivy
If you live in a climate that experiences freezing temperatures you most likely do not have to worry about mosquitoes, poison ivy etc.
9.) Excellent work out for thighs and core
Trudging through snow is a great way to work out your thigh muscles as well as your core. If it snows and you are the first person to the course, it is only proper to shovel the tee pads while you play. Shoveling snow may feel like backbreaking work–but if you do it right it is simply a good workout for your back and core.
10.) Stay in Touch with Disc Golf Friends
Think about this: You played your last round of disc golf in October, if you don’t play all winter you won’t see your disc golf friends until March or April at the earliest. That is a sad thought! Friends are there for you and help keep you balanced. Even if you can only see them once every few weeks in winter, it is better than not seeing them until Spring.
If you do go play in a snowstorm with your friends you will create a lifelong memory of the round! I recall almost every snowstorm round I played with friends–but not every fair-weather round. Create memories even in adverse conditions!
Play Disc Golf in Winter for Peace of Mind
It is undeniable that 2020 has been a challenging year in many ways. Indoor activities like concerts, movies, dining, and bar experiences are struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Outdoor activities like biking, hiking, gardening, walking, picnicking and disc golf are flourishing. Consumers have seen shortages of bikes, kayaks, canoes, and even discs. For the first time in 5 years in business, I have legitimately worried about running out of discs for my customers. I never would have thought that–ever. Luckily, I don’t think it is going to happen. I promise not to be like the infamous toilet paper hoarders of early 2020 and hoard all the discs!
The pandemic started early in the year, and some of us were closed off for the end of winter and early spring. Fortunately, many states and communities kept their courses open. I personally found the times, even if they were less than normal that I was able to play a round of disc golf helped to center me. Being out in nature always helps to relax me and keep my perspective positive, and moving forward. I hope that you can set aside your worry or dislike of cold weather this year and for all the years to come! Embrace the snow, and cold and find the beauty in it. I can almost guarantee it will help make your winter zoom right by!
For Tips on Playing Disc Golf in Winter check out this article from Erin Oakley.