THE VILLAGES, Florida – With temperatures up-and-down the East Coast expected to remain in the 90s in the current heatwave, golfers are being warned of the dangers of heatstroke, excessive sun exposure and extreme dehydration.
Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund, and creator of the ‘Slip! Slap! Swing!‘ campaign, has provided five important tips on what to do while playing golf in extreme heat and reducing the health risks resulting from high temperatures.
BOOK AN EARLY TEE TIME OR LATE TEE TIME
Temperatures are considerably cooler earlier in the morning, or later in the day.
“Booking a tee out of peak hours has many advantages, it’s quieter and it’s a lot cooler, but get in there early as many will have the same idea!” says Baker.
This can happen within minutes on the golf course, so before your swing, slap your SPF-30, slip on a hat (ideally wide brim) remember those sunglasses.
“We all know the risks associated with Ultra Violet (UV) rays and skin cancer and this get super-charged in a heatwave,” explains Baker. “Apply sunscreen before activity and every two hours throughout the day. Avoid a greasy grip by repurposing your anti-bac gel, applying this with a small towel to clean palms.”
Being active when temperatures are high can lead to dehydration, so it is vital to maintain optimal fluid balance.
“When active, such as walking briskly to the next hole, our body’s core temperature will naturally increase, resulting in us losing bodily fluid through sweat,” says Baker. “Drink water 30 minutes before your session, and then continuously sip water during the day after your round, avoiding the temptation of alcohol, which has a dehydrating effect.”
USE THE RANGE INSTEAD OF PLAYING 18
The longer you’re outside, the more chance you have of experiencing the negative impacts of the heat, so opt for a session at the driving range instead.
“If you really want to get some golf in, mix it up a bit, and opt for a training session instead of a round,” Baker advises. “You’ll complete the same amount of time on the ball but reduce your exposure by 50 per cent.”
USE A GOLF CART
Many golfers find it rewarding to challenge themselves by walking the course. If you can book a golf cart, go for this option.
“It may start off cool, but it will get hotter as the day progresses,” advises Baker. “If you cannot book a cart take it easy and remember that the heat will affect your game, so don’t push yourself too hard between tees. Take regular breaks in the shade so that your body can cool down and you can take on water.”