Sun and Heat Safety on the Golf Course

Warm weather is upon us, we are golfing again, and getting out in the sun. Let me say in the strongest way, protect yourself.

You have heard why. Overexposure leads to skin cancers later in life.

I’m a redhead, very sun-sensitive. In my 20s, even then, I let my head be exposed and got some mild sunburns. Nothing that really gave me a problem, but after a few I started wearing a hat whenever the sun’s burning rays were out.

Too late.

In the past few years I have had three malignancies removed, one by a procedure called Mohs surgery. Look it up online. Not fun.

This is what I recommend, based on my experience with hiking in the Southwest. Cover up. Sunscreen might not be as effective as we would like it to be, and it has to be applied at the right time and replenished.

Wear a broad-brimmed hat. Wear something loose-fitting to cover your arms and legs. This also preserves moisture, and helps you stay cool.

Wear gloves on both hands around the green, and keep your hands out of the sun when you walk down the fairway. I keep one hand in my pocket and the other hand pulling the cart in the shade of my body.

Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before you get to the course. Then have a few ounces (frequent sipping doesn’t do the job) every few holes, and on every tee if it’s really hot.

Play early or late in the day to avoid the highest temperatures.

If you feel yourself getting overheated, take off your hat and shirt and get them soaking wet. Wearing wet clothes like this will keep your head (especially your head!) and chest cool, keeping your body temperature down.

Learn to recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion:
Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
Heavy sweating
Weak, rapid pulse
Low blood pressure upon standing
Muscle cramps

What to do:
Stop all activity and rest
Move to a cooler place
Drink cool water or sports drinks

Heat stroke (this is an emergency condition):
Altered mental state or behavior.
Sweating stops, skin is dry.
Nausea and vomiting.
Flushed skin.
Rapid breathing. Racing heart rate.

What to do:
Call 911
Get the person into shade or indoors.
Remove excess clothing.
Cool the person with whatever means available

Then there’s lightning, but that’s a different post.

One thought on “Sun and Heat Safety on the Golf Course”

  1. Really good advice, Bob. It occurs to me that we can also get some additional coolness/wetness on our bodies by jumping in the lake, pond, river, or creek into which we hit our golf ball (with due caution, of course)!

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