For golfers, the summer months are a bit different out here in the Valley of the Sun compared to the rest of the country. Just as our friends in Minnesota are dusting off their drivers and dialing in their iron game in preparation for June and July, Phoenix-area locals are installing misters and finding shade at all costs. But just because it’s 105 degrees outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite We-Ko-Pa courses all summer long. After all, it’s a dry heat. Right? Here are five things you can do to ensure your summer rounds at We-Ko-pa are enjoyable and safe.
The first and arguably the most important safety tip for hitting the links when the mercury hits triple digits is protecting your skin from those nasty UV rays. We’ve heard every excuse in the book. “I don’t need it.” “Does it even work?” “The lotion makes it harder to grip my clubs.” Short answers – yes you do, YES IT DOES and bring a towel. Wearing sunscreen helps you keep cool during your round and protects you from painful showers later. You’ll even have enough energy to get home to your honey-do list after a round with your regular four ball.
Protect your eyes
UV rays hit your eyes just as hard as the rest of your body, so it’s imperative you protect your peepers. You don’t want to be the only one who can’t see the flag on your 18th-hole approach shot. Any eye protection is better than no eye protection, but if you want real coverage and safety, get yourself a pair of polarized lenses which not only eliminate nearly all UV light, but also dramatically reduce glare from the sun. Wearing a hat will also keep your eyes from straining to see the green. We have some right here in the golf shop. Bring it on, Sunday pin placement. I can see you.
Drink plenty of water
Drink water when it’s hot. It’s a natural instinct, right? You don’t have to tell me that. We get it. But it’s still important to understand how much you’ll need to drink to get through 18 when the cart path turns into a mirage. Keep an eye on your body and listen to what it tells you. Drink water liberally, not just when you think you’re thirsty and never ever ration water. If you experience headaches, dizziness, dry skin or you begin to feel more tired than usual at 10 AM, seek shade and replenish your body’s water reserves. Don’t feel bad if you have to take a hole or two off. Better to get home safe than push yourself past your limits.
Lay off the booze
Beer is 90% water, but that doesn’t mean it’s equal to water. Alcohol – while one of the more fun aspects of playing golf with your buddies – is a diuretic and will quickly rob your body of its water reserves and energy. It’s hard to stay focused on your summer round when you’ve had a few pops. If your playing partner plays the peer pressure card, simply tell them no. You don’t want to have to literally or figuratively carry them on the back nine, but if you lay off the hooch, you’ll be ready just in case.
It’s hard to wake up early enough to eat a solid breakfast before your 6 AM tee time, but give it the good ol’ college try. Make sure to incorporate plenty of protein and carbs for sustained energy throughout the day. Caffeine can help ease the morning stomach grumbles, but try to avoid that extra cup of coffee or second energy drink in lieu of a plate of eggs and toast. Caffeine is also a diuretic and will require more water intake throughout the day to get back to normal.