How does winter golf compare to summer golf?

How does winter golf compare to summer golf?

10 May 2024

With the better weather here in the UK, almost, hopefully, it seems fitting to see how big a difference winter weather makes on our game – you might be surprised!

Does the course play a lot longer? Are the greens really that bad? Find out the answer to these questions below.

Starting from the tee, it does not come as much of a surprise that Performance-Average driving distance drops for all handicap brackets:

Driver P-Avg Distance Yards


This is likely as a result of softer ground conditions, reducing run out, and colder temperatures reducing ball performance compared to the summer.

So yes the course will be playing longer. However, an interesting stat for tee shots can be found in the FIR%. In winter, you are more likely to hit the fairway…

On average across the handicap brackets, players hit 2-3% more fairways – not a huge amount by any means but just an interesting statistic. As we mentioned before with the softer ground conditions, it is likely the case that balls are not ‘running out of fairway’ when they hit it. 

What does the ‘longer’ course mean when it comes to playing into the green? Well, surprisingly, not a huge amount of difference, it would appear.

Green Hit%


Note: The similarity could stem from winter course setups e.g. forward tees

So there may be some other factors at play but from a purely numbers perspective, players appear to hit more greens. Perhaps, softer conditions make it easier for players to stay on the green instead of rolling off.

However, we do know that the most common miss is short so this would reduce the chances of rolling up onto the green for any shots that came up short. Again, the winter setup will be impacting, but these are the numbers.

What about when players miss the green and need to get up and down?

Surprisingly, the likelihood of getting up and down increases, marginally!

Up and Down %


Why? There could be a whole list of explanations but some could be softer greens – thinned shots less likely to run through the green.

Or, depending on the course, playing off of mats which, for some, makes hitting chip shots a lot easier as you are guaranteed a good lie. 

The difference is marginal but favours the winter, possibly because of the reasons above.

Lastly, we look at the greens, is it really that much worse to putt in winter?

Make Percentage Inside 3ft


Well, it would appear that from inside 3ft, most players are as likely to make their putt, if not slightly more likely to make it in the winter.

How can that be I hear you ask. Again, this requires a degree of interpretation but perhaps players know they have to be more aggressive with both their line and pace on winter greens and so hit more ‘committed’ putts.

When playing on firm, fast, greens how often do you see players miss short putts by either not allowing enough break, allowing too much, or even sometimes, missing them short? 

Perhaps an element of the mental side of the game comes into play here, in the winter we know we have to be more aggressive as the greens are slower. 

There could also be an element of the ball taking less of the break so we can aim more at the hole and don’t have to be as proficient at green reading.

Note: These stats are not course-specific, the insight is an overview of statistics from our database. We thought this would be an interesting topic as we gear up for the golfing season ahead.


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