Erin Oakley is one of the most recognizable forces of the growth of women’s disc golf, she plays disc golf in any weather and loves winter disc golf. She is a member of Team Innova, Luna Disc, Disc 2 Basket and a Ladies First Disc Golf Sparkle Sister. Erin has hosted prominent women’s disc golf tournaments such as Disc Girls Gone Wild and the 2018 United States Women’s Disc Golf Championships. Weather doesn’t stop Erin from enjoying her favorite hobby disc golf. Read Erin’s tips if you are playing disc golf for the first time in snow, cold and winter conditions.
There is No Off Season for Disc Golf
Many disc golfers may refer to the winter months as the “off season”. While I may not be competing much in the winter, I don’t refer to any months as “off season”. I will normally play disc golf in any weather and I especially love winter disc golf golf as it actually helps me tune in my game. Winter disc golf in Michigan is often cold, wet and snowy. These conditions require me to bundle up in extra layers and thick boots which help me remember to slow my movements down and focus on what really counts, the flow and follow through. Using these tools in the winter really helps my game in the nicer weather because I keep the flow simple.
Going into my 19th season of disc golf and also having the maternal instincts, I am always prepared for any weather conditions. Here are some of the things I have learned over the years in being able to enjoy throwing in all kinds of weather.
When playing winter disc golf be sure to layer up in loose layers. I usually have one layer close to the skin, such as Nike or Under Armor tights. These tights were made to keep the body heat in. I will then layer up with at least one loose fitting long sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt over that. Keep the loose layers on actually helps keep that body heat in. If it is extreme cold, I will add a thin wind breaker or rain jacket over top which will block the wind from going through the other layers and makes you extra toasty. It is always better to wear more than you think you need so if you do get warm you can take a layer off. It is much harder to add layers later than take one off.
I have multiple pairs of wool socks and I love them! I wear those with my waterproof socks over top of the wool socks with my waterproof boots. Waterproof foot gear is the best way to go when playing winter disc golf. There is nothing worse than have wet and cold feet. Even if there is no snow or water on the ground, the waterproof socks act like the wind breaker, they help hold the heat in. Avoid standing around on cement as this will make your feet colder when you are waiting to play winter disc golf. As a TD, if I have to run a tournament in cold weather, I will bring a small piece of carpet or rug to stand on in the shelter where tournament central is.
Mittens, not gloves! I will only use mittens in winter with hand warmers inside. Gloves will always leave my fingers cold, even if I have hand warmers in them. Using mittens will keep all the heat in the same space. They are also easier to put on and take off your throwing hand. And speaking of hand warmers, I read a tip online a couple winters ago on how to keep them going for longer to save on buying so many. When you are done with your round, place your hand warmers in a zip lock baggie and press out all the air so it is airtight. This will make them go dormant. I’ve left mine in the baggie for a week at a time and used them again the following week. They are just as hot as when you put them in there! Amazing!
Place your extra towels in a large zip lock baggie. This will keep the extras dry if it is snowing or raining. I only have 1-2 out at a time to make them last as long as possible through the round.
Rain gear is not only for the rain! As I mentioned above, a rain jacket can help keep the heat in! Rain gear is not as thick as a winter coat or snow pants. I have a rain jacket and pants that I wear in the winter to stay dry from the snow and or rain.
My last tip is to use a canteen/metal style water bottle and put warm water in there. If you have a nice bottle, your drink won’t freeze up on you while you are out in the cold. Stay hydrated in the cold months too as this is just as important as staying hydrated in the summer!
Hope you all enjoy your winter discing!