Ingredients of a winter round
Can't see a thing, frozen toes and fingers, slippery teepads and lost discs. True of false?
- As long as you are prepared right, a winter round can beat a crowded summer round.
It's hard to stay relaxed on an icy teepad. With a bit of luck you might find better friction next to it, but over time even that spot will become slippery.
The best way to tackle the lack of grip is to use spiked or studded shoes. You can use certain accessories to add spikes to ordinary shoes, but the end result depends on how well the parts fit together. A fully committed drive can put quite a strain on the spikes.
You can find decent shoes on sale for as low as 50 euros.
During a morning or evening round on a forest course, especially if there's no snow, the visibility can get really low. However, if you know the course well, you can drive and approach just fine without seeing the basket.
In my opinion, you don't even need to see the fairway past 20 or so meters. But you definitely shouldn't try a new course in the darkness.
If you can't see where you are stepping, grab a headlamp with red light. Using bright white light will block the ability to see outside the beam for your whole group. This will make the great outdoors feel like walking in a tunnel.
The most important thing is that your discs have leds (or glow) on them. Unilluminated discs are very hard to find in the dark. Led discs, on the other hand, stand out in the dark even better than colorful discs in broad daylight.
The disc has to be transparent or translucent to use a led on it. Luckily most, if not all, premium plastics fit the bill. The leds are attached in the center of the bottom flight plate with transparent tape, with the light shining up towards the disc. Remember to clean up / de-grease the surface before attaching the led.
The best tape for the job is 50mm all-weather tape by Sokeva, which is available in for example Puuilo. It's thick and durable, it sticks and re-sticks well, and also comes off cleanly. You should be able to go through the whole winter season without replacing the tape, as long as you develop a habit of rubbing the tape against the disc every now and then; perhaps before every throw.
Generally speaking, all you need to do is to dress according to the weather and the activity you are going to perform.
- But what about the throwing hand?
If you want to grip the disc with bare hand, you'll need a warm glove or preferably a mitten that is easy to put on and take off. The risk here is to accidentally drop it and lose it.
The other option is to find a glove you can keep on through the round. A glove that provides sufficient protection while allowing you to throw, putt and use the phone. An example of such a glove is Mechanix Hi-Viz Original, which I use myself.
I use the pockets of my light down jacket as an additional level of protection for the hands. To take advantage of the body heat it's crucial that the insulation is on the outside of the pockets, which is not always the case.
The only real blocker for winter rounds is thick snow. As long as the snow cover is under 15cm or so, you'll be fine. The leds shine surprisingly well through the snow. Once the snow starts to exceed 30cm you'll need to add strings to the discs.
The string has to be lightweight, durable and attached firmly to the disc. In addition to that, its color has to stand out in the snow. However, since the strings don't typically emit light, it can still be hard to spot.
The other effect of snow is that walking in it quickly becomes heavy. This can change the nature of the round from a fun outdoor activity into fun, sweaty and serious exercise. Someone has, without a doubt, played a round with snowshoes, but I don't have personal experience on that.
Magical winter round
Winter season turns popular courses quiet. No schedule, no lines, no waiting times - you can play at your own pace, and even replay holes if you so decide.
Winter forest has a sense of peace and quiet you won't find on artificially lit streets and skiing tracks. Chucking discs in the moonlight has a sense of adventure. Why don't you try it yourself?