Meet the Charles Barkley
of Indoor Golf

Although I live in the heart of Ski Country USA, I have never been shy about saying that I’m not a cold-weather enthusiast.

During my younger days, I did enjoy snowmobiling in Minnesota, which necessarily means frigid temperature and howling winds. But now that there’s a bit of snow on my roof (see portrait photo) I have been working out ways to translate my favorite outdoor summer sports—golf and fly fishing—into winter pastimes.

Every fly fisherman has taken an unexpected dip after stepping in the wrong place. In summer, that’s a bracing experience. In winter, freezing water temperatures will put a quick end to the whole trip. In addition, handling flies can be a challenge. The required fly sizes, #20 to #24, are so small that you’d be tempted to buy a pair of “readers” even if you don’t wear glasses! But then you’d have problems: You’d have to put on readers before tying on the flies. You’d have to juggle the readers, handle those thin, monofelt tippets, and tie those tiny little flies all while wearing special cold-weather fishing gloves—or have very cold hands!

Oh well, there’s my other love: golf. Because booking a trip to a warmer climate winds up costing about $1,000 to $1,200 a trip, I usually find myself watching people play golf in shirtsleeves under palm trees while local temperatures hover around 10 degrees outside.

Solution? Get creative! I bought a 10-foot golf net that’s normally staked up in the backyard. When I told my wife I planned to set it up in our upstairs family room, she looked at me in disbelief.

But it ought to work, right? There are just a few requirements:

  1. Ceilings over 10 feet. Check!
  2. Plenty of room for a full driver swing. Check!
  3. Plastic whiffle golf balls. Got ‘em! (But see requirement 4.)
  4. Fresh spackle and a can of exact-match touch-up paint. (The occasional, errant golf shot does take a chunk out of the wall) Check!
  5. A very tolerant wife with a sense of humor. Check!!!!!

I got all this together and tested the indoor golf. And here’s my advice. If you other anti-cold weather types can’t meet all these requirements—especially Requirement 5 about the beautiful wife with a sense of humor—forget the whole idea!

Me? I’m 5 for 5, and I can add just a bit more advice: Don’t forget the most-used term in golf: Fore! (Meaning duck!) In winter, “fore” might be translated as “forehead.” (It’s good to know how to duck when the ball decides it’s playing pool, rather than golf.)

And buying flowers doesn’t hurt at all. There aren’t any in the backyard, but our local stores can use your business.