The summer golf season is in full swing, and so is the searing heat and soaring temperatures in Myrtle Beach. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an enjoyable round of golf during the dog days of summer, especially if you follow these five tips for staying cool on the links:
1. One of the keys to staying cool on the course actually begins 24 to 48 hours before your tee time. If you think you can chug enough water and sports drink during your round to avoid symptoms of dehydration, you are wrong. By then it is too late, so be sure to show up to the course properly hydrated. That means increasing your water intake a day or two before your round, and drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day to replenish what you lose on the links. As tempting as a cold beer might seem on a sunny day, alcohol is a sure-fire ticket to dehydration and a key cause for heat-related illnesses. Stick with water or sports drinks and save the brews for the 19th hole.
2. The phrase “Dress for Success” also applies to the golf course, especially on a hot summer day. Be sure to wear white or light-colored clothing made of a breathable fabric, such as cotton or any of the moisture-wicking brands such as Dry Fit. Remember, black clothing radiates heat just like a black car, so avoid dark shirts, slacks and hats. A wide-brimmed camp not only protects the top of your head but also provides shade for your face. Pack an extra club in your bag, the umbrella iron, for extra protection from the sun, and be sure to slather up with sunscreen. The nine-hole turn is a good time to reapply and take a quick bathroom break in the air-conditioned clubhouse.
3. If at all possible, avoid playing during the heat of the day between noon and 2 p.m. That means booking an early tee time around 7 a.m., or a late tee time after 2 or 3 p.m. The sun doesn't set until nearly 9 p.m. in Myrtle Beach during the summer months, so it's possible to get in 18 holes even with a 4 p.m. tee time. If the heat is slowing your group down and there's an eager foursome behind you, find a nice spot in the shade and let them play through. Even a 5-minute break from direct sunlight will allow your body to cool off sufficiently to carry on.
4. There are a few items you can bring along to help with the keep-cool cause. Specially designed cooling towels, such as a Frog Tog or the Real X Gear towel can be frozen the night before and soaked in water throughout the day for serious relief. Wrap it around your neck or forehead for a few minutes and you can drop your skin's surface temperature by as much as 20 degrees, as well as reducing your internal temperature. Another handy item designed for beachgoers is the Spray-Mist bottles with a trigger that controls the amount of water you spray on yourself and a battery-powered fan. The combination of wind and water can have a major cooling effect on your temperature and your temper.
5. The right food can help fend off dehydration as much as water while also providing the fuel you need to power through 18 holes. Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast or lunch before you play, and pack some snacks to help maintain your energy level. Fresh fruits, particularly bananas and berries, help replenish deleted levels of potassium and blood sugar levels. A granola bar or similar hand-held snacks are easy to eat between holes and will add some extra power for a body running low on fuel.