The hot weather is approaching, which is both good and bad news for your golf game. The good news – longer daylight hours mean more time available to spend on the golf course. The bad news – hot weather. Scorching sunshine, humidity, heat stroke and lethargy are problems that golfers have to deal with in summer – and they can be hazardous to your game, as well as derailing your motivation to play.
But you don’t have to be a victim to sweating, sunburn, low energy and poor play once the weather starts to warm up. The key to making hot weather golf more comfortable, enjoyable and successful lies in proper preparation – here’s what you need to do.
Before you play
Book an early tee time
You can make your round much more enjoyable right off the bat by booking an early morning or late afternoon tee time. This will allow you to avoid the midday heat when the sun is at its fiercest.
These tee times are very popular in summer though, so if you can’t manage to nab an early or late round, prepare well using the following tips.
Start hydrating early
You don’t just need to drink while you’re out on the course – in hot weather it’s a good idea to start actively hydrating at least a few hours before your round begins. Better hydration levels early on will help prevent dehydration later, and will also keep your body cooler. Choose water as your drink of choice though, as soft drinks, coffee, juice or alcohol aren’t likely to help and will only dehydrate your further. Drink before you get thirsty is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Prepare your water bottle
To help you do that, prepare a water bottle the night before your round by popping it in the freezer overnight. It will gradually thaw out and melt as you make your way around the course, giving you a steady supply of ice-cold water. Take another unfrozen water bottle as well, as the ice in your frozen bottle will take a little time to thaw out and you still need to keep drinking.
Pack some hot weather gear
There’s plenty of gear you can pack to help you navigate the heat – such as:
- Extra gloves for when your first pair becomes too slippery from sweat
- An extra towel to mop up the sweat
- A cooling towel to drape around your neck on the course
- An umbrella to carry or attach to your golf buggy (see a selection of umbrella holders from Parmaker here)
Don’t strip off too much clothing, as you’re likely to get sunburnt. Instead, choose light coloured clothing to reflect the heat, in breathable, lightweight fabrics that wick away sweat. Think loose and comfortable rather than fitted, so that you can move more freely without the discomfort of constricting clothing in the heat.
It’s a no-brainer, but sunscreen is absolutely necessary to prevent damage from the brutal Australian sun. Choose an oil-free one to prevent your hands getting greasy, and reapply every hour or so. Don’t neglect lip balm to protect your lips too.
Don’t forget a shady hat and sunglasses
A hat is another necessary part of any summertime golfing outing, as well as sunglasses, to keep the sun off your face, the sweat out of your eyes and sunburn at bay.
During your round
Keep snacking to maintain your energy
Many people find that they’re not that hungry when it’s hot, but it’s vital to keep snacking as you play, as the heat can take a lot out of your body. Light, easily digestible snacks are best to maintain a steady level of fuel without weighing you down – such as fruit, veggies, nuts or crackers.
Maintain a steady pace
Don’t rush through your round when it’s hot, just aim to maintain a steady, consistent pace. Control your emotions as well, as a frustrated rant or meltdown is only going to make you hotter.
Find a shady resting spot
Move to a shaded area whenever you’re not playing or preparing for your shot. It will be at least ten degrees cooler there, so will provide welcome relief.
Look for signs of heat stroke or dehydration
Heat stroke and dehydration are real possibilities when playing golf in the heat, so keep an eye on yourself as well as your golfing partners. Look for:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unusual tiredness and exhaustion
- A rapid heartbeat
- Lack of sweating
- A dry and sticky mouth
Get treatment immediately if you notice any of these symptoms, as heat stroke can be extremely serious.
Use a golf buggy
If you want to conserve energy and reduce the physical effort needed to play a round in the heat, use a golf buggy. Either a walker or ride-on buggy will be far easier on the body than lugging your clubs around the course, and will allow you to save your energy for where it’s needed – your game.
Have a look at Parmaker’s quality range of golf buggies to help you get through the summer months here.
After you finish
It’s incredibly important after sweating a lot to rehydrate as soon as possible after you finish to replace the fluids you lost while out in the heat. Again, water is the best drink to help you do so, although energy drinks can also be useful. Continue to sip water for the next few hours.
You want to bring your body temperature down as quickly as possible, so hit the shower or even try an ice bath if it’s really hot. Stay in the water as long as it takes to get yourself back to normal.
You will have used plenty of energy getting around the course during the heat. Eat soon after you finish your round (after you’ve cooled down) to replenish your lost glycogen stores.
Get an early night
You may be feeling a little tired and drained after a hot round, so get an early night and you’ll be feeling much better tomorrow.
30 degree plus temperatures don’t need to stop you from playing a round – just prepare well and you’ll have a much better chance of enjoying your golf games all summer long.