The sun is a golfers best friend; unfortunately, it can be a deadly, but silent enemy that could cause injury at any time. I have written about this topic before, but recent events compels me to remind everyone that as we gallop into the heat of summer to protect yourself on the golf course!
Two incidents have sparked this safety tip. First, my friends Blair and Rick were playing a round last week. It was around 28º C and very humid. As they looped the course (walking as per normal), they found the last 4 holes posed a physical challenge because of the heat. Rick went into the proshop to book for another day and when he came out, Blair was laying on the ground. Rick queried what was up and Blair said he need to sit down before he fell down. Rick stayed with Blair until he recovered and both went on their merry way. Rick thinks that Blair might have had a touch of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Next week, my military Wing’s golf team heads to Kingston for the regional (provincial) tournament. I am usually a staple at these events, but you know why I cannot attend this year. I looked at the forecast and the temperatures expected to be around 30º C for the entire week with higher than normal humidity. I have played in these conditions and protecting myself from the constant barrage of sunlight was a must as the 54 hole event unfolded.
The above two situations compelled me to provide the following information from a previous Grateful Golfer article. I do not mean to repeat myself, but this safety tip is very important.
Heat injuries can be very dangerous. There are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke. Unfortunately, it can easily sneak up on a golfer if they spend prolong hours in the sun. I remember playing a 6.5 hour tournament round in the 35º C sunny weather; it was not fun and I was concerned for the playing partners. Fortunately, we were all aware and nothing serious happened, except for a minor sunburn.
The following information is taken from Healthline.com and is important at the heat of summer envelops us for 3 months.
Heat cramps are the first stage of heat emergency. They usually happen when you’ve been physically active in the heat, but they can also occur if you haven’t been active. Heat cramps are especially likely in the elderly or small children, overweight people, and people who have been drinking alcohol. Muscle pain and tightness are symptoms of heat cramps.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- muscle cramps
- mild confusion
- fast heart rate or breathing
- extreme thirst
- nausea or vomiting
- pale skin
- heavy sweating
With heatstroke, all the symptoms of heat exhaustion may be present, plus:
- body temperature over 104°F
- irrational behavior or hallucinations
- rapid, shallow breathing
- rapid, weak pulse
- loss of consciousness
- dry skin
Sweating may be present in heatstroke. A person who is experiencing heatstroke might have very dry skin from dehydration.
I recommend you do some research on how to prevent heat issues. Each person is different and as such likely needs to take a different approach to preventing a heat emergency.
Heat injuries are a very serious issue for golfers. We sometimes push ourselves too far and as a result place ourselves at risk. For me wearing a hat is the first step to preventing injuries, but there are many more. Remember that the sun makes for awesome conditions to play golf, but it not respected can cause you serious damage. Enjoy your next round and remember to protect yourself.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!