Summer is truly golf's high season. Less rain and longer days make it the perfect time to hit the course, which is why the annual PGA schedule picks up the pace with events early every week from June through August. The biggest drawback to summer golf is the chance of hot weather. Although extreme heat does pose health risks, you can continue golfing in hot weather if you take the right precautions. Read on to learn how to stay cool playing golf, so you can enjoy the season.
Tips for Staying Cool on the CourseDiscover how to keep cool while playing golf by checking out these top tips.
Bring a towel
Your golf towel isn't just for wiping club faces clean. On hot days, you can also use one to wipe away perspiration. With a little planning, golf towels can become ways to get cool on a hot day, too. Buy an extra, bring it along and dampen it in the clubhouse before you hit the course. If you begin to feel uncomfortably hot, drape it over the back of your neck for a quick cool down.
Stay HydratedSweltering temperatures cause you to sweat more, and that can quickly lead to dehydration on a summer day. Fight back against the process by staying hydrated on the course. Drink water before you start your round, and then plan to hydrate throughout the round. You can bring along a water bottle or take advantage of hydration stations found on some courses. Be on the lookout for signs of dehydration, such as extreme thirst, fatigue, dizziness and confusion. If you experience any, consider heading back to the clubhouse or finding some shade while you drink.
Rent a Golf CartAlthough walking the course allows you to burn more calories, renting a cart may be a better option on the hottest days. Being in a cart will allow you to move along the course more quickly, so you're exposed to heat for a shorter period of time. In addition, you can conserve energy and enjoy some shade while you travel from hole to hole.
Slather on the SunscreenWearing sunscreen is important in any season, but on hot summer days, it's crucial. The best golf sunscreen is one that is waterproof and offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning it reflects or absorbs both UVA and UVB rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using an SPF of at least 50. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before your tee time and reapply at least once every two hours. If you're sweating profusely, reapply more frequently. If you're using a lotion, gel or cream sunscreen, try to apply at least 1 ounce, which is about as much as will fit into a shot glass.
Wear Proper ClothingA lot of people ask "does sunblock keep you cooler?" So far, science seems to say no, but that doesn't mean you can't take steps to feel cooler on the course. By choosing golf apparel wisely, you can feel more comfortable on hot days. The best golf clothes for hot weather are lightweight and breathable, meaning that they allow air to travel through. Apparel with sweat-wicking technology may help your sunscreen stay in place for longer, and items with a loose fit or stretch can keep the fabric from sticking to you and restricting your movements. Light colors also tend to absorb less heat and are a good pick for hot days.
Choose the Right Time To PlayThe sun is most intense between the hours of 10AM and 4PM. Try to time your rounds so that you're outside those hottest hours as little as possible. Not only will this help you stay cool during a round, but it can also save you money since many courses offer lower rates for morning and late afternoon play.
Look for Weather-Ready CoursesAs you're deciding where to play, look for courses that have more natural shade. Areas in direct sunlight often feel 10 to 15° hotter than shady areas due to the intensity of UV. Courses that receive breezes from oceans or large lakes can also help you stay cool on hot days. These breezes can reduce the perceived air temperature by 4 to 5°, especially if you've been sweating.
Hit the Showers AfterTaking a cool shower in the clubhouse after a round won't just help you feel fresher. The water can also help lower your body temperature more quickly, so you can recover. Hang out in the clubhouse for a while to let your temperature return to normal before you face the heat a second time to head to your car.
Listen to Your Body and Look Out for Your Friends
Even if you take all the above precautions, you still could experience symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke on a very hot day. If you or another in your group develop a headache, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, weakness or irritability, finish up the round early, and keep an eye on one another to look for signs of confusion. Once you get inside, drink water and rest. If symptoms don't resolve or worsen, seek medical attention.