In order to play your best golf and — more importantly — stay healthy, you need to be prepared for those really hot days on the course. There’s a lot you can do to stay cool and hydrated out there, so it boils down to two general categories: What you can do during the time leading up to the day of golf, and what you can do while you’re out there playing.
Leading up to the Big (Hot) Day
If you have a tee time scheduled for an upcoming day, there are a few things you can do leading up to it to prepare yourself for the heat. Here are some of the most useful tips.
Drink Water for Days
Too many golfers wait until they are thirsty on the golf course to start hydrating themselves. If you know you’re going to be playing in high temperatures a few days in advance, start drinking more water in the days leading up to your round. If you get to the course after three or four days of hydration, you won’t find yourself chugging water on the course.
Don’t wait until the day of your round to pack the essential items that will help you beat the heat. Here are some examples of what should be in your bag well in advance of your day on the course:
- A towel to wipe away any sweat from your face, hands, or neck
- Multiple water bottles, ready to drink and refill on the course
- Sun block with a high SPF to reapply often
Game Day Preparations
After spending the previous days filling up on water and packing your golf bag with the essentials, it’ll be game day. Here’s what you’ll need to do to for any last minute preparations, along with on-the-course, heat-beating strategies.
Drink & Refill Water Often
If you made an effort to drink more water during the days leading up to your round, you’re a step ahead in staying hydrated. But that doesn’t mean you’re done. You still need to hydrate while you play. It may be getting annoying to read over and over, but it can’t be stressed enough: Drink water consistently through your round, and refill your bottles at every possible station.
One of the most important things you can do to combat the heat is to dress cool. Here are some ways to stay cool while staying appropriately dressed for golf:
- Wear a hat with a bill to keep your head and face out of the sun
- Wear shorts if the golf course you’re playing allows them in the dress code
- Wear cotton or other breathable materials
- Wear white or other light-colored clothing to reflect as much of the sun as possible
- Wear sunglasses between shots to protect your eyes
Hot Tip: Alternate Water with Sports Drinks
Although drinking as much water as you can is one of the (if not the) most important rules for playing golf in the heat, a lot of golfers find that water alone doesn’t cut it. Try sports drinks if you want the extra boost in energy. The electrolytes in them are designed to help you recover and maintain your athletic stamina as you sweat out your body’s salts.
Although you’re probably aiming for the middle of the fairway, far from any shade, do your best to stay in the shade between shots. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to limit the amount of time you spend directly in the sun.
If you’re walking the course, walk along the perimeters of holes where you’re more likely to find protective trees. If you’re riding in a cart, stay seated for as long as you can underneath the cart’s roof. You may feel like a lazy golfer, but your body will thank you for it later.
Don’t Push Yourself
The main thing to remember when playing golf on an extremely hot day is that you’re out there to have fun. If at any point you start feeling light-headed or dizzy, it’s time to cut the round short and head back to the clubhouse. But if you keep these tips in mind and follow the signs that your body gives you, you shouldn’t have any problems having a great time on the golf course, even on the most torrid of days.