Winter golf
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Take a swing at the other cold-weather adventure sport

By Mike Payne

For some golfers, a few sprinkles and wind gusts can ruin a golf game. For others, snow, sleet and freezing temperatures make for a pleasant round of eighteen holes. Winter golf is a growing trend in cities around the cooler parts of the globe, where special tools and layers of clothing keep courses active in the winter months. Forget about limitations, just like your Chevrolet Tahoe does—with its strength and capability, it can pull off anything, from your daily commute to a weekend trip to one of these ranges. So, if a bit of adventure can help soothe the ills of cabin fever, here are a handful of ways you can try your aim at a round of winter golf.

The 51st Annual Cog Hill “Eskimo Open”
For over 50 years, adventurous Chicago-area golfers have played through winter weather at the annual Eskimo Open event held each January. The Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, has hosted the event for half a century, inviting golfers to bundle up tightly and play the course. Originally, golfers would stay warm by carrying baked potatoes in their pockets as unconventional hand-warmers. When the holes were buried under snow, hula-hoops would be hung from nearby trees as replacement targets. Throughout the years, the event has remained flexible to ensure a fun outing regardless of the snowfall or weather conditions.

Heated Driving Ranges for Maintaining Year-Round Form
Some driving ranges around the U.S. offer heated stations for year-round play. The Libertyville Sports Complex, also near Chicago, offers 40 weather-protected stations with heaters and automated tees for all-weather driving. If you’re not a fan of golfing in inflatable dome structures, these outdoor, weather-protected stations provide the usual driving range experience with some protection from the bitter cold. If you’re planning a golf vacation in the winter, a facility like this offers the perfect “warm-up.”

Winter Golf Preparedness: The Tools of the Trade
If you’re going to give winter golfing a shot, you’ll want to be prepared for the cold and the course nuances of winter play. Beyond your clubs and many layers of clothing, there are four very specific items you may want to bring along. First, you’ll want to bring some colorful balls, especially a neon orange if you can find them. The white balls—obviously—disappear quickly in fresh winter snow. Second, you’ll also want some pyramid tees, like BirTees, since you’ll have a tough time getting a conventional tee to stick into the frozen ground.

There are two other important considerations you won’t want to leave behind—namely sunglasses and hand warmers. On top of the normal brightness of a winter day, a field of white snow can be very hard on your eyes when scanning for the result of your shot. Sunglasses will be essential in this case. You’ll also want to bring some hand warmers, either to keep in your gloves or in your pockets when you’re not swinging at the ball. Basically, your winter sports standards that you’d use for skiing and snowboarding should also be observed for winter golf.

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Mike Payne is founder and publisher of TheCoolist.com, the web’s finely curated encyclopedia of cool. Mike’s interest in design, technology and the study of trends is part of his nature, having grown up in a family of automotive designers and visual artists in Detroit. When he’s not managing TheCoolist, Mike moonlights as a commercial photographer, photographing architecture and food for hotels, restaurants, architects and corporate clients.