Tackling the heat

It might look like I’ve been to the UAE again but actually I haven’t since February. The next trip to Dubai is on the agenda for early next year but what we are currently faced with is a very similar thing: immense heat! Not only the desert in the Middle East offers temperatures of more than 35°C!

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Central Europe is burning currently! Just yesterday Germany broke the all-time heat record with not less than 40.8°C. And even if this is not really dramatic in UAE’s terms, it’s pretty special for Europe, at least central Europe.

I have to admit I’m one of these guys loving the sun, sunshine, heat and everything what comes with it. But for sure there are those who can’t bear anything plus 30°C. And that’s fair enough, everyone has a different feel to heat and bears it on his own way. But even those who like the heat have to admit that everything’s getting a bit trickier, more difficult and sometimes even more dangerous when temperatures reach 35-ish degrees and you are outside doing sports activity.

Last week I played what some would call desert golf, but not because of the course layout, but because the mercury reached the 40°C mark and playing golf for hours is quite special in these circumstances.

On Thursday afternoon I played the Deutsche Börse annual golf tournament and we experienced roughly 36°C throughout the round. On Saturday a tournament at my home club was on during which we had humid 40°C and played not less than 6 hours with basically no shade at all.

So what can you do when you are at the course and have to (or want to) play in such hot conditions? Well it starts with the preparation. Here are some important tips:

Things to check
  • Check the weather app on your smart phone the day before. Only when you realize it’s getting hot early you can act accordingly and be well prepared.
Things to wear
  • Bring at least one cap, better two. When they are white, even better. Dark caps store the heat more than lighter ones.
  • Even when it’s your not your style, think about wearing a bucket hat or another hat that covers not only your head but the neck and ears as well at the same time.
  • Wear sunglasses at all times.
  • Sun protection (high) is obvious and should be re-applied at least once during the round. Make sure it’s water proof – you will sweat a lot.
  • When possible try to wear light colors; white shirt, beige or white shorts, etc.
  • Walk in comfortable shoes; in most cases your feet will swallow up in that heat. When your shoes are just about right, you will definitely feel them hurt afterwards.
  • Bring clothes to change; probably another shirt for during the round but definitely a complete set (including underwear) for after you had a well deserved cold shower.
Things to bring with you
  • Drink enough (water)!! I can’t emphasize enough on this! It’s absolutely crucial to stay hydrated at all times. Don’t start drinking when you feel thirsty, start early, drink regularly and possibly mix with a juice or a soft drink. You need the hydration, you need the sugar to stay energized and you wouldn’t want to wait too long before you listen to your body reacting to a certain deficiency symptom. So carry enough water or drinks with you! On a complete round of golf in that heat I can easily drink 5 liters without going to pee. The body needs the hydration and you shouldn’t ignore that. The cooler the better I’d say. Some put water bottles in the ice box over night. During the round it will gradually melt but will stay cold enough to refresh you for a while. Stop the drinks cart as often as you can in order to stock up.
  • Bring an umbrella, not for the unlikely rain but to create your own little mobile sun roof when you attach it to your trolley. Point taken you wouldn’t want to hold an umbrella in that heat for a long time but in case you can attach it to your bag (or trolley), you should do it.
  • Bring one extra towel; one for the clubs, one for you, i.e. you will need to dry for face, your arms, your head and most important, your hands from time to time. In order to avoid any peeling effect you wouldn’t want to use that dirty part of the towel that you just used to clean your sandwedge a minute earlier.
  • Speaking of towels, on this weekend we were handed wet and ice cold towels to wrap around the neck, cool down the head or wipe the face or arms. That was the first time I had to do that but I really appreciated someone brought that up; this was very helpful and helped to stay cool for a while.

If you stick to these easy rules then playing golf in the heat is no big deal at all. If you can use a cart, if not try to stay energized for as long as possible.

Obviously this list is not exhaustive. Do you have any tips that I missed or do you have a story to share how you tend to stay in shape in extreme heat, then please share with us in the comments section below.

With all that you should be good to go for the next round of golf in the central European heat or even the desert swing in the Middle East. Inshallah.

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