By Joel Beall
The end of November is supposed to be a time to give thanks...unless you're a golfer residing above the Mason-Dixon line. For this spot on the calendar often signals the end of the golf year, and any season that welcomes such hell is no cause for celebration.
However, though it seems so far in the future, golf will come again. Which is why you need to keep these 12 tips in mind before putting your clubs away for the winter.
The boot is not your friend
Constant exposure to cold temperatures can sear and dry your grips, causing them to crack. Moreover, according to Titleist, storing balls in any extreme condition will have an adverse effect on performance. Understand that storage space can be an issue, but the back of your car is a graveyard for your equipment.
Say "sayonara" to scorecards
The purpose is threefold: 1) Clear room in your bag compartments 2) A scorecard from a memorable round or course makes for a great keepsake 3) Destroy all known evidence of that 93 at the Member-Guest.
One man’s rubbish, another’s treasure
Yes, sometimes a club just needs to die, and the offseason makes a perfect parting time for that driver you keep slicing or putter that can’t find the cup. But while the thought of throwing that troubled tool in a fire warms your heart, give it a second life in the hands of someone else.
Check your grooves
Are your shots around the green not producing enough spin? It's not your fault! Well, it's probably your fault, but your wedges might not be helping. A wedge with 40 rounds of use losses an average of 2,300 rpm compared to a brand-new club. That number gets worse if you spend time at the practice green. If your grooves look worn out, it's time to pull the trigger on some new wedges.
Get a Grip
Stands to reason the grip – you know, the area where you hold and control the club – should be in good condition, yes? Yet, many amateurs don’t pay heed to the state of these wraps. Golf is hard enough as is; a shoddy grip will only add to these woes. If you play twice a week, you should get your grips changed every offseason.
Why you need to upend your bag
A shocking amount of dirt and grass finds its way to the bottom of your bag. In and of itself, not a huge problem, but buildup could funk up your bag and do a number on your grips. View this exercise as taking out the trash: slightly annoying, but a necessary evil that doesn't take THAT much time to do.
Pull the flat stick
Keep your short game sharp this winter by practicing putting on your carpet or floor. It's a great way to improve your stroke while simultaneously driving your family crazy. (Amazingly, wives don't see the utility of using a table leg as a flagstick.)
Wash your towel
Guessing you didn’t give it a scrub once this entire season, you filthy animal. Golf courses are treated with hundreds of chemicals, substances that are likely baked into those fibers thanks to all those mud chunks you had to wipe off the clubface. Don't let that slime cake throughout the offseason.
It's easy to want to throw an old glove in the garbage, especially if it's hardened and crusty. But most are more durable than their predecessors, able to withstand a tremendous amount of wear-n-tear. Though we recommend playing with new gloves, old ones are still serviceable to wear at the range. Moreover, always good to have an extra glove just in case you lose one in the course of your round. In short, if they’re not falling apart, don’t heave those experienced gloves in the can.
Unscrew your heads
Most drivers and an increasing amount of fairway woods are adjustable. Though storage closets or basements seem like save havens, they’re anything but: my old roommate accidentally broke a few sticks when attempting to unpack Christmas decorations went awry.
Speaking of which…
No matter the observance, chances are its an opportunity to replenish your golf arsenal. (Which, I believe, is the true meaning of the holidays). Balls, tees and gloves are easy asks for stocking stuffers, so let your loved ones know what you need.
Clean your clubs
If you think cleaning the dirt from the grooves is the pain in the ass now, try it after it's congealed for three months.