Not to be a buzz killer, but on Thursday, September 22, at precisely 9:07 p.m. Eastern time, summer will be over in the United States and autumn will begin. I still have tomatoes ripening in my garden, but the days here in New England are noticeably shorter now and the evenings are getting cooler. I’m looking forward to seeing the leaves turn red, yellow and orange, but I dread the rake blisters that will ensue piling them up in the backyard.
As much as I look forward to the first rounds of golf every spring, fall is my favorite time of year to play. After nearly a full season of playing, my game is as sharp as it’s going to get and walking the course on a crisp 60-degree day beats battling the heat and humidity. Still, autumn go usually means playing in softer conditions, dealing with mud and morning dew, along with cooler temperatures and occasionally, fog. So, here are a few things I make sure to do before I head to the course in October and November.
Replace your spikes
Champ Scorpion Stinger golf cleats. (Champ Sports)
Pros on the PGA Tour and LPGA change the spikes in their shoes every few weeks, but weekend players almost never do it. In the fall, when the turf is soft and damp, you need extra traction, so check which type of cleats your shoes can use and make sure the spikes are in good shape. If they aren’t, Softspike’s Scorpion Stinger is a good choice and costs $17.99 per pack. In a few minutes, you’ll have new-shoe traction.
Bring a windproof top
Peter Millar Hyperlight Merge Hybrid Jacket. (Peter Millar)
Oftentimes on a chilly morning, the air temperature is not too bad, but what makes you feel cold is the wind, so wearing a windproof or wind resistant top can keep you surprisingly comfortable. The Peter Millar Hyperlight Merge Hybrid jacket ($198) blocks the breeze and provides some insulation, but its four-way stretch material will not restrict your swing.
Wear waterproof shoes
Puma Ignite Articulate golf shoes (Puma)
Water does not evaporate as quickly off the ground in cool weather as it does on hot days, so playing golf in the fall means wearing waterproof shoes. The Puma Ignite Articulate ($180) provides plenty of cushioning while also moving with your foot, and it has a one-year waterproof warranty.
Remember a towel
Ghost golf towel (Ghost Golf)
You should really have a towel with year-round to help you keep your clubs clean, but soft turf and wet sand make it a must in autumn. The Ghost magnetic towel ($40) can clip to your golf bag, but it also has a silicone-covered magnet that allows your to pick it off the ground using an iron, wedge or putter. The 18″x18″ microfiber towel can hold up to 400 percent of its weight in water.
Use visibility golf balls
The Q-Star Tour Divide’s coloration creates a 36-degree alignment line on the greens. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
Slice a drive into the trees during an autumn round, and there is a good chance the ball is going to be hidden among the leaves, so going with a high-visibility option makes sense. There are plenty of non-white golf balls in the market, but you will be hard pressed to find one that is as easy to spot at the Srixon Q-Star Divide ($34.99). This aerodynamic three-piece ball has a thermoplastic urethane cover to provide distance off the tee and spin around the greens.
Invest in a good thermal mug
Yeti Rambler 20 oz. travel mug (Yeti)
When it comes to thermal mugs, there are two types of people: folks who have a good one and folks who need a good one. The Yeti Rambler 20-ounce travel mug ($40) will hold your big cup of coffee safely in the cart and keep it hot all morning.
Get a cashmere sweater
Johnnie-O Chatham Cashmere Crewneck (Johnnie-O)
Without a doubt, this is a luxury, but consider this: cashmere is eight times more insulating than regular sheep’s wool, resists wrinkles and is extremely light. Well-made cashmere sweaters, like the Johnnie-O Chatham Cashmere Crewneck ($278) can also last you for years and look great on and off the course.
Bring a hat
FootJoy Pom Pom Solid Knit Hat (FootJoy)
Your mother was right, when you cover your head with a hat like the Foot-Joy Pom Pom Solid Knit Hat ($30), you stay warmer.