What is it like to play golf in the Lowcountry in the summer months? Typically the temperatures are in the 90s and the heat indexes can be as high as 100.
I have taught golf in the South for more than 45 years and I know that you need to take precautions when playing in the summer. I suggest playing before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. You can still enjoy the game of golf but need to be aware of the following before you go out to play or practice.
First know how to dress:
• Wear loose fitting clothes and light colors. “Moisture wicking” cotton is a great fabric.
• Skorts for women rather than shorts are popular in hot weather.
• Wear shoes that are made of mesh uppers and stay away from leather.
• Wear lightweight gloves that are mesh instead of leather. Have at least two gloves available since you might sweat through one during your round.
• Visor or hat? A visor is better because it allows the top of the head to release heat. I also enjoy hats with wide brims.
• An absorbent sweat band on the inside of your hat or cap can prevent sweat dripping in your eyes.
• Sunglasses protect your eyes and help you see in bright sunlight.
• Sunscreen. Apply before you walk onto the course, and re-apply after nine holes.
• Cell phone, in case of emergency
• A towel for your neck area. The Endura Cool Instant Cooling Towel is available at most sporting goods stores. When wet, it cools instantly to 30 degrees below average body temperature. To activate, get it wet, wring it out and snap three times. It typically cools for up to two hours.
The next important thing to know is how much water is needed:
• You need half of your body weight in ounces per day, whether playing golf or not. A 150-pound person needs 75 ounces of water per day and 25% of that needs to be consumed in the morning before you play. That is almost 20 ounces of water in the morning.
If golfing that day, you need to consume 40% to 50% more water while you play. Again, a 150-pound person would need 38 ounces more during the round. You need to drink some water at least every other hole.
It is important that the water needs to be pure water and not drinks such as lemonade, tea, juices and sport drinks. Many sport drinks can actually dehydrate the body because of all the sugars in the drink.
And by all means stay away from caffeine and alcohol when out in this heat. Save the fun drinks for after your round.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com