About the weather
Weather-wise at the first tee, which is generally around 7:15 in December, it is cold. But it generally warms up quite nicely by lunch. If you have an allergy to the cold, I recommend starting at around 10 or 11 and playing through. Many courses offer late morning to early afternoon playthroughs in winter. If you do start early, however, you need to bundle up for the first few holes at least. And on that note...
Wear proper gear
Wearing more clothing can affect your swing somewhat, but nowhere near as much as rain gear (at least that is what I find). The recommended gear is a knitted hat (more on winter fashion in another article). A long sleeve undershirt, preferably made from materials that breathe, (it’s never good to play with a sweaty shirt in winter). Waterproof shoes are recommended even on sunny days as the dew melts and will give you cold feet if you aren't careful.
Adjust your game to the course
There is no doubt that many of courses play differently in winter. Without getting too technical, the ball travels less in winter in the air, but depending on the fairways and greens, will roll significantly further. On courses where the greens are frozen in the morning, remember to club way down, or play it like a links course. Aim to chip instead of pitch. On hard greens, high shots can and will bouce like they have hit cement, but putts will roll slower! So keep those thoughts in mind. To counter this, some courses, but not all, will have machines that heat the greens.
Playthrough with fewer players
One of the great advantages of winter golf is that not many people do it, so rounds are much faster. Moreover, because there is less daylight, courses let groups playthrough more frenquently. Of course, less light never stopped me from playing winter night golf!
1. Winter and golf don't always mix, but in the Kanto area, they do
2. It's cold, but it is still very enjoyable if you survive the first few holes.
3. It is a different game: more clothing, less flexibility, different terrain affects strategy, later start times and earlier finishes mean fast play is important, cold air does affect distance.
4. Where you play in the Tokyo area definitely matters. Course maintenance is also a big element.
5. Hats rock! And more on winter apparel and must-have accessories.
6. In conclusion, fewer people equals more fun! And night winter golf is for the mad.