Hot weather golf: 11 tips for staying cool

Playing golf in the summer heat can be hazardous to your health. Instead of whining, though, why not learn to stop worrying and love hot weather golf? Be safe, be happy with these summer golf tips.

Image depicting hot weather golfYou don’t have to live in the sweat-soaked states of Texas, Arizona and Florida to know that playing golf in the summer heat can be hazardous to your health. Even Northeast golfers are known to complain about the relatively high humidity they experience sometime around July 14 and 15.

Instead of whining about the weather, though, why not learn to stop worrying and love hot weather golf? Just follow these few simple “Summer Golf for Dummies” tips for a safe and happy hot weather golf season.

1. Avoid mad dogs and Englishwomen

After all, only they would venture onto the fairways and greens at high noon, when the heat and humidity are at their fiercest. Early tee times make the most sense for so many reasons, but — especially if you must golf a little later — keep reading for ways to combat the sizzling temperatures.

2. Put down the Heineken

“Water, water, gimme more water” should be every golfer’s mantra, no matter the time of year. It may seem obvious that you have to hydrate yourself to battle summer scorchers, but many golfers seem unaware of the dehydrating effects of soda, beer and other alcohol, and even coffee. Rebecca Goldman, who caddies at Champions Retreat in steamy Augusta, Ga., suggests starting early. “Hydrate as much as you can the day before you play,” she said. “I speak from experience when I say that if you don’t you’re going to pay for it.”

3. Let the grass grow

Health experts suggest that you cut down on nonessential outdoor undertakings like mowing the lawn. Since golf obviously does not fit into the”nonessential” category, forget about mowing, weeding and power-washing to save your energy for the truly indispensable chores, such as smacking a little white ball with an oversized club head. (Editor’s note: And consider getting rid of that lawn, unless you’re treating it to recycled water.)

4. Step away from the table

You may want to carbo-load for the Boston Marathon, but scarfing down a spaghetti dinner before taking to the links is a hot weather golf no-no that will weigh you down and may cause more than your golf cart to boil over. Instead, maintain your energy throughout your round by nibbling on lighter fare like fruits, veggies, and nuts.

5. Cover up those six-packs (and we don’t mean hide the beer)

We know you worked hard all winter to get in shape but you’ll want to swap that close-fitting spandex designed to showcase your washboard abs for more breathable attire made of cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics.

6. Light-colored clothing reflects heat and light better than dark colors do

Really, who hasn’t dreamed of teeing it up in the altogether when it’s so hot? OK, that may be more like everyone’s nightmare, but this is one time when you might want to thumb your nose at the dress code and go for white shorty-short-shorts. Maybe Inbee Park will loan you some matching white arm coolers.

7. Lather up

Don’t skimp on the sunscreen and lip balm. Experts suggest you apply water-resistant 30 SPF sunscreen at least an hour before exposing your skin to the sun and reapply every hour or so thereafter. Golf experts mandate that you at least “don’t burn, reapply at the turn.”

8. Accessorize

Hats and sunglasses are must-wears in the summer sun. Wide-brimmed hats provide the most protection, a baseball cap with a visor will offer some shade, or you could go all in with a Sunday Afternoons Sundancer hat that has a big bill to block your face and a pleated drape for your neck, all in moisture-wicking SPF-50-plus fabric. The chapeau will also keep some of the sweat (or glistening, if you’re a fair maiden) from dripping into your eyes. Glare-reducing polarized eyewear is probably the most effective at shielding your baby blues from damaging rays.

9. 3-wood, 5-iron, or tall cold one?

What do you do when you’re out on the eighth fairway, facing that long approach shot over water, no beverage cart in sight, and your brain’s on fire? Reach into your golf bag’s cooler for an icy cold blast of soul-quenching liquid refreshment, of course. Many bags come with built-in cooler liners, or you may go all undercover with one that will fit into your sack’s standard zippered pocket. A note of caution, however: You might want to rent a cart or hire a (strong) caddie because you’ll be lugging a little extra weight, what with the ice pack and water bottles nestled inside.

10. Refreshing fashion statement

Nothing makes a summer golfer sigh, “Ah!” more than a cold, wet towel to the back of the neck. Re-soak the schmata at each watering hole or tuck it into your golf bag’s ice chest for renewal. Better yet, make a refreshing fashion statement by using an Icy-Cools neoprene and terry cloth neck bandana. Bonus: Your collar stays dry and you can easily swing your club with the trendy neck accessory firmly affixed.

11. Turn up the A/C!

You finally wilted and strapped your bag to a buggy. You’ll catch a breeze by screwing into the cup holder the PGF-V Personal Go Fan, a battery-powered 20-mph wind.

Or, if the ride is your own, trick it out for relief. Mount the BREEZ-GO 24-volt blower to the top for 310 cubic feet of air flow. Or get luxurious with an S&S Manufacturing (swampy.net) air-conditioning unit, a 12-volt cooling system that pumps water (or ice for a real cool-down) through an evaporator at more than 300 gallons per hour. That’s $399 and you provide the ice chest and installation.

OK, so maybe that last one is a little bit over the top, but for those to whom golf is definitely not nonessential, it might have a place on the wish list. Have any better ideas to share?

This is an updated verson of an article that first appeared in the July 2011 edition of GottaGoGolf Magazine

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