How golfers can beat the summer heat
The first weekend of July, we celebrated the 246th Independence Day for our great country. It also brought an intense heat for which some of the valley residences were not ready. We have already seen more than a dozen days in triple-digit heat, and there is no end in sight. Although this first week of August does have several cooler days, if you can call 99 degress cooler.
As one might imagine, this slows the amount of play we see at the golf course. For some golfers, like seniors, children, and others, this is the time to wake up before the sun to get 18 holes or stay home in the A/C. For the most avid golfer, it is paradise on the links. There are few golfers on the course to slow you down, fewer pitch marks on the green, and the tee times are easier to come by.
What tricks do these sun warriors use to make sure that golf is not only fun but, more importantly, safe? Is it some genetic anomaly that keeps them cool under the triple-digit sun? Are they mentally unstable or addicted to the sport?
Certain people never get bothered by the heat, and a small percentage of people love the sport more than any discomfort, whether that is heat, cold, fog, or rain. Some tricks and techniques can help you limit discomfort and still get your 18 holes done. They are not perfect, and you won’t mistake a 100-degree day for 80 degrees in the tropics; however, they work while golfing, gardening, or any time outside in the Central Valley heat.
We have all seen the advertisements on the web and the marketing that sporting goods brands sell us. Fancy words and fancy materials specifically designed to give you that much wanted cooling sensation. I will be the first to say that most of these claims belong in the snake oil category. Having spent time in sporting goods retail sales, I can say that the most popular sports brand in the world isn’t honest about the performance of its product.
We partnered with Columbia Sportswear because of the quality of its outerwear and its fantastic technology. Several products from Columbia rate at an SPF of 50 or better, have a cooling mineral in the fabric and use active moisture-wicking.
If you pay attention to the hottest cultures on the planet, they will most likely wear light fabrics and have full coverage. Exposed skin can burn and cause dehydration due to evaporation. Columbia’s PFG, or Professional Fishing Gear, is designed precisely the same way. Someone sitting all day on a boat in the middle of a lake isn’t going to find much shade. A wide brim sun hat and long sleeve shirt keep you from having to reapply multiple layers of sunscreen and keeps the hydration you drink from leaving through sweat and evaporation. If it works in the middle of the lake, it will work on the golf course.
What good can food possibly do when it’s 110 degrees out? Again we need to look to the rest of the world and learn from them. Can you think of a hot weather culture that doesn’t have spicy food? If we think about it, it does make complete sense. What is the first thing that happens when you bite into something spicy and you weren’t expecting? Sweat, of course, uncontrollable sweat on your lips.
Sweat is your body’s most effective way to thermoregulate. You sweat, and a breeze helps the moisture evaporate off your skin. That simple process helps us not have heatstroke and overheat. If spicy food can create that response without you having to increase your core temperature, it’s for the better.
Attire helps capture our body’s moisture, and food helps use that moisture to cool us down. However, those things don’t work if there is no moisture to start. Listen to the advertisements again, and Americans walk around every day partially dehydrated. You can’t perform without some syrupy drink with more sugar than your average cola, twice the salt of most jerky, and a relatively high price. Someone has to pay those athletes to use their faces.
There are much better options, including plain and boring H20. If you drink your day’s need for water before you come out to the course, you will be ahead of the game. I make sure to drink a liter of water with LMNT, an electrolyte additive, after dinner daily. I picked this specific additive because of the low sugar content, but Liquid IV is very inexpensive, and you can buy it at Costco.
The liter at home, a couple of bottles during the round, and I never have to worry about feeling dehydrated. In the military, they taught us, “If you are thirsty, it’s already too late.” All this meant to me is to keep hydrating, even if you aren’t thirsty. Remember, this is quality hydration, designed to help your body perform in adverse conditions. I know that beer has water in it, but that doesn’t mean you are hydrating when you drink.
Lastly, you can google toys to help stay cool. Misters, fans, portable A/Cs are all found with a simple search. Go to youtube and watch how-to videos about building your homemade equipment. For me, the mister is an easy, affordable, and portable way to use the body’s systems to your advantage. If you think about it, a mister is a fake sweat. You add moisture to your skin, it evaporates, and you cool down; however, you didn’t need to use the moisture already in your body.
After this is all said, you can buy cooling towels, sun hats, or eat Carolina reapers, and the heat will still be with us until fall comes around. It may feel better inside, but a healthy body needs time under the sun. It’s almost like we need to recharge our batteries and create the vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy. Hopefully, I’ll see you sipping on iced tea on our patio or drinking bottled water on the course this summer.