Golfing in hot and humid weather can be dangerous. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be serious. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that almost 320 American die every year from heat-related illnesses. However, if you take the right precautions, there’s no reason you can’t be hitting the course all summer long!
1. Stay hydrated
The best thing you can do for yourself on hot days is to stay hydrated. This helps replace the water lost from sweating and prevents fatigue. And if you’re fatigued, your golf game is guaranteed to suffer!
Stay away from coffee, sodas, and alcohol. C affine and alcohol act as a diuretic and will dehydrate you even more. You probably don’t need a sports drink unless you are super active. They are no more hydrating than water and are full of empty calories and added sugar. If you need more flavor, add a low-cal flavor packet or just some lemon juice!
The Mayo Clinic has a good article on the Symptoms Of Dehydration. Learn what they are so you know if you need to stop and head inside!
Thirst is not a good indicated of whether you need water. When you feel thirsty, it means that you’re already dehydrated. You can even satisfy your thirst and still need more water. Keep drinking water throughout all 18 holes even if you’re not thirsty.
Drink one to two glasses of water before you start your round. While golfing try to drink 2 to 4 glasses (16-32 ounces), every hour. When you do hit the 19th hole, stay away from the booze and stick to water.
3. Golf in the morning or evening.
This should be obvious. Avoid being out during the hottest part of the day. However, the hottest time during the summer is not noon. While the sun’s radiation is strongest at noon, the temperature is not. The temperature will continue to climb so long as the earth is receiving more incoming heat than the earth is radiating back to space. It will actually peak between 3 pm and 4:30 pm each afternoon. After that, as the sun gets lower in the sky, the temperature will begin to fall gradually back from its high, and the drop in temperature accelerates after sundown. Scratch would recommend golfing from either 7am-12pm or 5-sun down.
4. Use Cooling Gear
Sure you soak the dirty towel you’ve been using on your clubs in some water and throw it around your neck, but let’s be honest, that’s just gross. Instead try some cooling gear like the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Sports Towel. Just wet it, and it’ll stay cool for up to 2 hours!
5. Wear the right clothes.
What you wear can DEFINITELY effect how you feel during the summer heat. Luckily for you, I’ve already written up a good how to on the subject. Read my article Beat The Heat: What To Wear This Summer On The Course!
6. Avoid the sun
You might burn more calories walking the course, but if the sun is brutal, grab a cart! Wear a hat and don’t forget your sunscreen. The longer you’re in direct sunlight, the greater your chance of heat stroke.
7. Snack right.
Don’t eat anything heavy or fatty before your round. Carry easy protein and fiber—dried fruit, bananas, apples, nuts, beef jerky, any sports bar with 10 grams of protein and 3 of fiber. Fruit is also a great snack because it’s a natural way to rehydrate. You’ll want to keep your energy up as the heat will drain you. Just try to keep each snack around 250 calories or you easily overeat!
8. Snack strategically
Nosh on holes, 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15. Having something small and regular will stabilize your energy levels, keep you from becoming over-stimulated, and help you maintain your focus and fine motor control. It’ll also curb the desire to gorge at the bar.
Even at your best, it’s hard to hit for maximum distance. It’s even harder in the sapping conditions. Adjust your expectations for your game and use a little more club—the 7-iron over the 6—than you’d usually hit with to compensate, says Eric Alpenfels, director of the Pinehurst Golf Academy.
10. Build a stronger base on the treadmill.
Hit the gym. Try the exercise bike, treadmill, or elliptical. While good for overall health, cardiovascular exercise will help prepare you for challenging conditions, building overall endurance, leg strength and power, says Anthony Slater, performance specialist and general manager at Core Performance Center. Building up your physical stamina will pay off in the long run!
What do you Rock Heads do when the temperature spikes? Let me know in the comments!