It’s summer in Southern California which means one thing: It’s really. Freaking. Hot.
That being said, you’re not quite ready to put the sticks in the closet and wait for a late-September cool down to get back on the links. You’re a die-hard golfer who knows the secret is in the dirt and you’re not about to let a little sweat keep you off the course.
It may be a scorcher out there, but there are definitely ways to beat the sweltering Southern California heat when you’re on the golf course. Here are 20 tips:
Walking a golf course is a lot of fun and most purists claim its “the only” way to play the game. When it’s really hot out, however, walking can obviously — and a little needlessly — over exert you. When the mercury rises, there’s no shame in spending the extra couple of bucks on getting a golf cart. It’ll provide shade, move things along a bit faster and keep you off your feet needlessly.
When it’s hot, it’s always a good idea to freeze some water bottles and throw them in your bag. As the day goes on and they thaw out, you’ll always have cold water or a cold compress to wipe over your neck, face, arms, legs, etc. Staying cool is a large part of a successful day on the links and having this option in your bag is a huge benefit.
There’s an old joke out there that says, “if you’re hot on the golf course, develop a slice” — which is to say, spend more time in the woods. Now, obviously, that’s not ideal for your round of golf, but whenever you can find shade, do it. Whether it’s a small tree left of the fairway or in the cart, stay out of direct sunlight whenever you can.
One of the more common practices on the golf course among amateur golfers in the partaking in of adult beverages. When it’s scorching hot out, however, you want to avoid this. If you have to drink, enjoy a light beer. Stay away from heavy booze, rum drinks or things of the sort that’ll weigh you down. It’s one thing to be on the beach sipping drink and another to be walking a golf course.
Usually, the sun isn’t at full strength until about noon, so if playing in the heat isn’t your thing, make sure to make an early morning tee time. Honestly, playing early is the cure to a lot of golfing issues (slow play, etc) if you’re able to get out of bed around or before dawn. Without the full power of the sun beating down on you, your round will probably be a lot more enjoyable.
On the flip side of that coin is twilight golf — another great way to beat the heat. No one wants to sweat like a stuck pig on the golf course, so maybe it’s best to play late in the day as the sun goes down. Like playing in the morning, playing as the sun sets keeps the effects of direct sunlight to a minimum and keeps you cool.
Ever watch a baseball game and see the pitcher grab that bag of white powder behind the mound? That’s a rosin bag — and it’s used to help pitchers get a grip when their hands are sweating from the heat. Golfers should invest in one of these, too. When you perspire and your hands get sweaty, having a rosin bag handy will help you get a grip. They’re cheap and can be found at almost any sporting goods store in the baseball section.
Go ahead and make fun of the bucket hat if you must — but for everything it lack in style, it makes up for in performance. And when it’s hot and you’ve got sweat marks under your man-boobs and all down your back, does it really matter what hat you’re wearing? The bucket hat provides more shade for your face and neck than a traditional ball cap, keeping you cooler and helping fight the fatigue that comes from direct exposure to the sun.
When it comes to keeping cool, what you wear goes a long way. The most important thing to remember about choosing your wardrobe when it’s hot is to keep colors light. You may love your black polo (because it’s slimming or whatever) or you want to support your team (navy blue Chargers polo) — but it really won’t be that important when you feel like Chevy Chase trying to find that gas station in the desert during “Vacation.”
Having extra gloves in you bag is a great idea for a number of reasons. You may never need an extra one to autograph and give to a spectator you’ve hit, but when you’re playing in the damn-hot summer and your hands are soaking wet it’s nice to have another glove to swap out when the one you’re wearing inevitably gets soaked.
Another good way to beat the heat is to wear your sunglasses. A lot of amateur already have some shades but usually just leave them on their lid so they look cool. Take them off and use them the way they’re meant to be. It will help keep your eyes from fatiguing from squinting or dealing with glare and will help eliminate the potential for headaches that often comes when you combine dehydrations, exhaustion and eye fatigue.
If you don’t want to develop a slice or are playing a course that is sparse in the tree department, grab your umbrella. I know it sounds funny — and yeah, you might look kind of funny doing it — but open up your umbrella to keep yourself under some shade. It doesn’t matter how you look if you’re feeling cool and beating your buddies.
It might sound a bit contradictory, but when it’s really hot, you want to make sure to eat. Now, I don’t recommend pointing an entire pizza or something, but you should definitely bring a granola bar, a banana, maybe a peanut butter and banana sandwich — nothing crazy, but filling and energizing.
Unless you’re on the PGA Tour there is literally no benefit to you wearing pants on the golf course — especially when it’s hot. We all know you’re not a pro, so leave the slacks at home. Wearing them isn’t fooling us. Wear some shorts and let your legs breath. It’ll keep you energized throughout the round and allow you to keep going instead of overheating.
If you forgot to grab snacks from home or from the pro shop before heading to the first tee, make sure you stop at the turn and get some food. Make sure whatever you get has some calories and salt. Normally, you would think that’s contradictory, but when you’re sweating in the heat, you’re going to want the salt to help retain some water.
One of the best inventions ever for not just athletes, but anyone who spends a significant amount of time outside, are snap-cooling towels. My favorite is from Mission Blue, and is simply a towel that you wet, snap and drape around whatever part of your body that needs cooling. The one I bought for me costs just 10 bucks and has been a savior for me during numerous summer rounds.
There’s a lot of great advice out there for keeping cool when it’s hot out, but the one that still trumps all is stay hydrated. Before you leave the house or the pro shop, grab a Gatorade or two. Toss ’em in your bag and make sure you drink them. The electrolytes and sodium in the drinks will keep put back in what you’ve sweat out during the round.
Oh, the dreaded golfers tan! While that may be a bit of a joke, the seriousness of a bad sunburn can’t be underestimated. No one wants to go home looking like a cooked lobster — and while you’re receiving that burn on the course, your body is getting run down, your skin and muscles are getting tight and your game is suffering. Make sure to coat yourself before you head out and re-apply to sensitive areas as needed.
When it’s hot out it’s always a good idea to have an extra towel handy to wipe your face and neck. You don’t want to be using the same towel you use for you clubs and gear (duh) so bring one from home. Wet it periodically at a bubbler or with one of the water bottles you (hopefully) brought out with you. Wipe down your face and neck often to avoid overheating.
No tip is more important than this one: Drink. Lots. Of water. Seriously — it’s better to need to find a bush to water every three holes then to feeling the vultures circling overhead before you even make the turn. There’s plenty of water to be had at most courses and it doesn’t cost much for you to procure some. If you don’t drink water, you’ll become dehydrated — and you already know how dehydration affects your golf game!