Beat the Heat When Golfing
That putt on the ninth hole may not be your only concern this summer. As the temperature rises, you may be wondering how to beat the heat.
If you aren’t careful, hot weather can negatively impact your body, and as a result, your golf game. This is not something that only impacts the golf enthusiast. The heat can cause problems for even the most seasoned golfers, including professionals like Peter Jacobsen, Cameron Champ and Michelle Wie.
In 2013, Jacobsen battled dehydration during the Senior Open. He got through nine holes before paramedics advised him to stop playing. In 2021, Champ played dehydrated at the 3M Open, but fared better, bouncing back to ultimately win the tournament. Wie, however, has been affected by the heat several times throughout her professional career. In 2006, Wie, who recently announced that she was retiring from golf, had to be taken off the course on a stretcher because of heat exhaustion during the PGA John Deere Classic.
“Playing golf, or doing another physical activity, in warmer weather requires you to take certain steps to maintain your energy and ensure optimal performance,” says Dr. John Williams, a primary care physician with Middlesex Health Family Medicine. “This also helps your overall health and wellness.”
So, what should you do to beat the heat? Stay hydrated, and protect yourself from the sun.
Learn a lesson from those PGA pros, and stay hydrated — both on and off the course.
“I was walking around like a zombie,” Jacobsen told Golfweek. “I didn’t know what I was doing. They asked me what my address was, and I didn’t know. You can’t imagine yourself being affected in this way, but it can be very dangerous.”
Staying well hydrated can decrease your risk of heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Studies show that staying hydrated can also improve your performance!
When selecting a drink to bring with you on the course, Dr. Williams says the best choice is always water. However, you might also want to consider an alternative, such as a small amount of a healthy electrolyte replacement drink.
Electrolytes are important for maintaining proper nerve and muscle function and certain sports drinks can help replenish the electrolytes that you lose as you play your round of golf. The more you sweat, the more fluids you need to replace!
If you choose to consume a sports drink, be informed. Read the label to ensure that it is not high in sugar, Dr. Williams says.
In addition, you may want to limit alcohol and caffeinated beverages, particularly when the weather is warmer. These drinks can increase your chances of dehydration.
The sun’s rays can be harmful, affecting your skin, lips, ears and eyes. Golfers in particular are at risk for skin cancer because of extended sun exposure. That’s why it is so important to protect your body from the sun while playing golf and when participating in other outdoor activities, such as when swimming or gardening.
Dr. Williams says you should:
- Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and water resistant, and reapply at least every two hours.
- Seek shade whenever possible.
- Wear a hat, preferably one with a broad brim.
- Wear sun-protective clothing, specifically clothing that is labeled with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of 30 or higher.
- Book an early tee time. When possible, it’s best to plan outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. to avoid the strongest sun exposure.
- Remember to apply lip balm with SPF 25 or higher.
- Wear polarized sunglasses that block UVA and UVB light. Remember that direct sunlight, along with light that reflects off of other things like grass,soil, dry sand and water, can damage your eyes. It’s best to protect them!
Skin cancer can develop when skin is exposed to the sun, and it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or skin tone. The best way to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer is by limiting or avoiding exposure to the sun.
Checking your skin for changes in appearance throughout the year is important to catching any potential problems early, Dr. Wiliams says, adding having a preventive care visit with your primary care provider annually is an opportunity for you to discuss any skin concerns.
About Middlesex Health Primary Care
Middlesex Health has 12 primary care offices and three family medicine offices throughout Middlesex County and along the Connecticut shoreline. Its primary care providers can see you for your wellness visits, as well as when you are sick. They also administer COVID-19 vaccines and can offer health and wellness advice, such as the advice provided in this story.
Both Middlesex Health Primary Care and Middlesex Health Family Medicine are consistently recognized as Patient-Centered Medical Homes. This recognizes practices that use evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on providing highly coordinated care and fostering long-term, participative relationships. This is considered the gold standard measurement for primary care.
For more information about Middlesex Health Primary Care or Middlesex Health Family Medicine, click here.
John Williams, MD, MSMEd
Specialties / Areas of Care
- Primary Care
- Sports Medicine
- Middletown, CT
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