Get In the Swing for Summer Golf
By Jamie Howell, BCC Men's Golf Coach // April 2, 2012
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – I don’t know about you, but when the sweat is running down my back – that’s my signal that summer golf has returned to the sunshine state. It’s now time to adjust to playing in hot temperatures, bright sunshine and from thick, lush turf.
Choose Proper Clothing
If it’s passe’ to wear white shoes after Labor Day, then it should be forgiven to wear black, navy, brown, and purple colors after Memorial Day if you are on the golf course. But dark colors absorb the heat from our Florida sunshine and that’s a tough price to pay for being stylish.
Today’s microfiber fabrics work best at wicking seat moisture away from our bodies and plain old cotton is still a good standby. Some type of hat is a must and get over the Gilligan look-a-like comments if it allows you to still have the tops of your ears intact as we reach our retirement years!
Apply Sunblock Regularly
In the area of sun block, apply sun block before you arrive at the golf course and re-apply prior to teeing off. If you wait too long to apply sun block, you normally get it everywhere but on exposed areas!
Your dermatologist will tell you that approx one hour prior to any outdoor activity is the most efficient application for sun block as it will have time to soak into your skin and provide maximum protection.
Take On Lots of Water
Another must: drink losts of water”! Again, the experts will tell us to drink approx 16 ounces of water one hour prior to any strenuous activity and supplement with 16 ounces of water every hour during activity.
Sports drinks are better than nothing, but beware of sugar-rich drinks as they have their own side effects. If you are of the Budweiser and Jack Daniels crowd, good luck to ya’! Booze, sunshine and hot temperatures coupled with 4-5 hours on the golf course….. someone call 911!
“If Tiger can do it, so can you: drink plenty of water”
Develop Good Habits
And so onto your equipment: this begins by keeping your golf equipment indoors when not in use. Temperatures in our vehicles can climb over 150 degrees during summer and golf balls lose their oomph, epoxy holding clubheads to golf shafts can weaken and grips can harden in no time. Bring your equipment in-doors, even if it means bringing it inside to your place of work.
You should always have at least one towel with you and potentially two. If you are a charter member of sweat-a-holics, then keep one end of your towel wet at all times as it will help immensely when wiping away perspiration, especially on your hands.
Wearing leather gloves will require that at least four to five gloves are available for one round of golf – as they will absorb perspiration and won’t work at all when soaked.
Be sure to dry them prior to storing otherwise you will be in the penicillin business the next time you open your golf bag.
Incredible strides have been made in the area of all-weather gloves and you may want to consider wearing these in place of those $20 cabretta leather sponges in August. While carrying an umbrella in preparation for our summer time thunderstorms is always in order, don’t be bashful to pull a Mary Poppins and open that bumbershoot as a source of shade.
Get the right grips on your golf clubs
Get A Grip
Today’s golf grips are light years better than those of yesteryear. Some are made with materials meant to assist gripping ability even when wet. Cord grips are a marvelous option for better gripping ability in hot, sweaty conditions. But beware to keep them clean using warm water only, as the cord can absorb the oils and grime from not only our hands but also rubbing against dividers in your golf bag.
Check Turf Conditions
So we are finally out of the dried-out hard-pan fairways of winter and back to playing from fluffy lies and thick gnarly rough. Gone are the worries of drop-kicking chip shots across the green from bare lies, no more issues with getting that three wood airborne from the fairway. Hallelujah you exclaim!
Only to find you cannot see your shoes when you step into the rough and it’s hard to find your golf ball as it’s buried in three-inch Bermuda. Get ready to use that sand wedge and chop your way out of that brillo.
Putting changes dramatically during the summer months as grain returns to our greens and putting uphill and into the grain is not unlike walking thru a mud bog.
The ball just does not roll with the same freedom as during the dormant growth months. Not only is the grain more prevalent on the greens but beware of those green side chips into the grain that grabs your club head by the leading edge with no intention of letting go. The chip-and-run tends to slow down much faster and you may need to use a lesser lofted club to achieve better roll-out of those bump and runs.
Play Later In the Day
Play later in the day at courses like Viera East in Brevard to get the best out of your summer golf
Finally, and this may be tough on the early birds, play later in the day! The hottest part of our day during summer is from 8:00 am to approx 1:00 pm. Humidity is thru the roof during those hours and the breeze is non-existent.
Afternoon hours tend to be less humid as well as having some type of breeze due to our proximity to the coast.
While you may encounter some thunderstorms from time to time, it is more than worth the wait.
Need proof of this, go take a look at any of our fellow golfers at 10:00 am any morning just prior to play and tell me what you see. Sweat pouring off some turkey who is “trying to play before it gets hot.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie Howell has been the head men’s golf coach at Brevard Community College since 2007. Over a 13 year period Howell gave over 15,000 lessons at the Brevard Community College Golf Learning Center in Cocoa, Florida. He authored “Golf For Everyone” in 2003, and since 1996, has been a Class A PGA Member.