Beat the heat - playing golf in extreme hot weather

Posted by Inga Abed on

Play golf in the heat and stay hydrated The spell of hot weather is just not letting off. Much of the UK and the rest of Europe is experiencing an unusually long heat wave. The heat doesn’t put golfers off the game so how do you beat the heat?

Protecting yourself from the sun with sun cream and adequate clothing is of course important but sunburns are not the only risk that the extreme weather carries with it. Exercising vigorously in hot weather can be challenging and even dangerous. Not only can your golf game suffer but you can get heat exhaustion and heat stroke is a real risk. Heat exhaustion is a mild form of shock from too much exposure to heat. Dehydration is usually the cause: while body temperature remains close to normal, it’s signs are extreme thirst, pale clammy skin with sweating, headache and dizziness. Heat exhaustion is not serious and usually gets better when you cool down. If it turns into heat stroke it needs to be treated as an emergency.

If you take the right precautions there is no need to worry and you can safely exercise in hot weather. You just need to stay hydrated and drink, drink, drink!

This sounds easier as it actually is. To stay hydrated you have to start early.
Our bodies are about two thirds of water which makes them vulnerable to dehydration. Dehydration occurs when a person loses more fluids than he or she takes in and the total amount of water in their body has dropped below the level needed for normal function. Playing golf in extreme heat can make you lose as much as two liters of water per hour. If those fluids are not replaced, the body becomes dehydrated, affecting every organ in your body. A water loss of as little as 1% of your body mass leads to reduced alertness, limits your ability to concentrate and impairs your performance on the course. Dehydration of greater than 3% of body weight increases a golfer’s risk of developing heat related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Basic signs of dehydration include thirst, irritability and general discomfort, followed by headache, weakness, dizziness, cramps, chills, vomiting, and nausea. 

Staying hydrated will help replace the water lost from sweating and prevents fatigue and poor physical performance. Dehydration can happen quickly, before you feel thirsty. Feeling thirsty is therefore not the best indicator of your body's water needs. Also, your thirst is usually satisfied even before your body's water supply is fully replaced. Always drink before you are thirsty and even before setting off to the golf course in order to prevent dehydration. 

When to drink?  

  • Drink about 500 ml 2 -3 hours before your golfround.
  • Drink another 250 ml 10-20 min just before the round. 
  • Keep drinking during the round- sipping water on every tee is a good routine. 

Rehydration should continue after the round to completely restore any fluid losses incurred.

What to drink?
Water, flavoured water and sports drinks that are enriched with 6-8% of carbohydrates and electrolytes should be your choice. Cool water is preferable over cold water. Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks should be avoided as they cause dehydration. Fizzy drinks should also be avoided as they cause stomach fullness thereby reducing fluid intake.

Follow these simple steps to heat-proof yourself on the golf course. And of course don’t forget sun cream, protective clothing, sun glasses and hats or visors. Golfglam’s visors are a perfect choice!

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