5 Tips for Playing in the Summer Heat
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Tiger Woods drinks water on the 14th tee during the second round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 20, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.Getty Images
The calendar may say it’s still spring, but the temperatures that many areas of the country have faced recently remind us that summer is right around the corner. Playing in the summer heat is something that many of us look forward to all winter long, but there are some precautionary matters to keep in mind the next time you hit the links in the summer heat:
- Pay attention to your hydration, nutrition and electrolytes
- Apply sunscreen early and often
- Dress wisely and appropriately
- Have a cool towel or spray bottle nearby
- Know your limitations
Pay attention to your hydration, nutrition and electrolytes
Though elementary to many, heeding this advice is essential to maintaining strength and stamina on the course during the warmest of weather.
Start drinking water when you wake in the morning, and maintain your hydration levels by consuming 5-8 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes on the course - essentially every hole or two.
In addition, healthy snacks are important to keep performance levels steady and prevent huge spikes in energy, followed by severe drops. Bananas are a great snack, as is a high-quality 100 percent grass-fed jerky with less than five grams of sugar. One is giving you the carbs you need, and the other is giving you protein. Other options could be cheese sticks or an individual pack of almond butter, which you can squeeze onto a banana.
Just remember, whether through hydration or food, you must replenish your electrolytes, as severe heat and increased perspiration will cause you to lose them in greater volumes.
Apply sunscreen early and often
Many people are diligent about bringing their sunscreen to the course. But the problem is that they don’t apply a sufficient amount of sunscreen or do so frequently enough. When applied sporadically, or even carelessly, sunscreen is rendered less effective, of course.
It is imperative that you protect your ears, the back of your neck, your cheeks and nose, and really any exposed skin with an ample amount of sunscreen.
Dress wisely and appropriately
The importance of dressing appropriately for a round of golf under the harsh summer sun is sometimes underestimated. Loose fitting clothes, light colors that absorb and hold less heat and moisture wicking fabric are all must-haves. Shorts, skorts and skirts are all better choices than pants, but don’t forget to protect your legs with that sunscreen. In addition, wearing a bucket hat will provide additional protection from the sun’s most potent threats.
Have a cool towel or spray bottle nearby
You should wipe your face with a towel soaked in cool water, or use a spray bottle to do the same. Applying cold water or ice to various parts of the body, including the wrists, neck and temples, can stabilize the body temperature, allowing the body to feel cooler. However, as often as you do so, you must reapply your sunscreen.
Know your limitations
Everyone is made differently. Some thrive in heat - others avoid it at all costs. If you’re in the camp of the former, you must not neglect these crucial steps. It may be a bit less convenient than playing on those cool fall days, but just as you prepare your equipment and skills to play your best golf, doing your best for your body is equally, if not more, vital. Diet and nutrition, proper attire and sun safety are huge topics in the game of golf, and are even more glaring when the temps are high and the sun’s rays stronger than usual.