Summer is arguably the best season for golf, with an abundance of sunshine and daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also hot on and off the golf course. Perhaps very hot.
Following are a handful of tips for dealing with the heat and enjoying golf to the fullest in the good old summertime.
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
It’s absolutely essential to drink plenty of water in hot weather. Remember, water is the best fluid for your body, hands down. “Playing in the summer heat will suck the moisture right out of you,” says the Louisiana Golf Association. “Bring plenty of water with you and take advantage of the water stations around the course. It will help you to stay hydrated and keep your body cool.” Another smart tip: Start drinking water before you arrive at the golf course.
Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by slathering on sunscreen. For sunny, hot and humid days, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. Reapply sunscreen at the turn or every hour or two. Protective lip balm is also a good idea. Don’t forget your sunglasses, your eyes can get a sunburn too!
Dress to stay as cool as possible.
Hot weather is the time to break out the shorts, skirts and polos. Wear light colors to help reflect the sun’s penetrating rays and comfy, moisture-wicking fabrics designed to keep you cooler and dryer. “Consider wearing sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes, face and neck from the sun’s glaring rays,” adds the Louisiana Golf Association. Sun sleeves also offer excellent UV protection for your arms while still feeling airy and breathable.
Carry a towel.
Sweat happens. Keep a towel handy to wipe the perspiration from your hands and grips so the clubs don’t slip mid swing. You can also wet the towel and use it to keep your neck and head cool in extreme heat.
Avoid the worst heat by getting an early start. Schedule an early morning tee time and finish your round by lunchtime. The drawbacks: You have to get up near the crack of dawn. A lot of other people have the same idea. “You’ll find yourself [on]a jam-packed golf course,” says one golf site, “filled with people who wish to play because it is still a bit cooler.”
On those long summer days, playing late in the day usually means at least slightly cooler temperatures, although not as cool as early morning.
Consider the golf course.
Some courses play hotter and tougher than others in the summertime. Think about the kind of golf experience you want to have.
Reconsider club selection.
The golf ball goes farther in hotter weather.
Ride instead of walk.
“Although walking is generally beneficial to your health, you may want to ride in a golf cart on extremely hot and humid days,” says the Louisiana Golf Association. “[Y]ou will reduce your overall energy exertion and avoid becoming overheated.”
Be aware of how you feel.
Heat stroke is dangerous. SoCal Golfer says, “Know the signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion: weakness, headache, muscle cramps, irritability … nausea, vomiting, light-headedness, feeling hot on head and neck, dry and sticky mouth, tiredness, lack of sweating and rapid heartbeat.” Have a cell phone handy in case of an emergency.
Play lots of summer golf with your friends. And also make new ones.
Pack an umbrella.
Need to escape the heat? An umbrella provides instant shade from harsh rays. Sudden rain showers are a staple of summer golf in many locales.
Find shelter or simply get off the golf course when lightning is in the area. Golf carts and trees are not safe spots during thunderstorms.
Play more holes.
Take advantage of those long daylight hours and special rates (where available) by playing a lot of holes during the summertime. Two rounds (36 holes) in a day is fun and doable, especially when you’re riding in a golf cart. Remember, you can always ramp up your practice sessions during the other seasons. But during the summer, play, play, play.
Park in the shade.
Shade can be a scarce commodity—especially if you arrive at a crowded golf course in the middle of the day—but make it part of your mindset. It definitely feels better to slide into a shaded vehicle after a hot day on the course.
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