Coronavirus and golf: Don’t forget extra water if you’re heading to the course

By Larry Bohannan, Golfweek

28 April 2020

After one of the milder springs in several years – a mild spring that added to the frustration of golfers who might not be have been allowed to play golf – things are starting to really warm up across the country.

People have been longing to get on golf courses that had been closed because of coronavirus. And as of the week ending April 26, 58 percent of U.S. courses were open, based on a survey of more than 1,200 courses. That’s up from 49 percent open the week before.

However, here’s something to consider if you’re heading back to the links — golf courses might not be providing one of the keys to being able to play in the heat: Water.

Restrictions on golf courses that allowed them to reopen have caused some courses to change the way they do business. In some cases, that includes taking water coolers off of carts and not providing a larger water cooler on the courses. It’s a way to make sure there is less contact with other people, just as taking rakes out of bunkers means people aren’t touching and sharing rakes.

But in the heat of the summer golfers need access to cold water or ice to stave off the heat. Hydration is perhaps the key element in being able to play in the warmer areas like Arizona, Texas and the California desert during June, July or August.

So golfers are going to have to be smarter about hydrating in the coming weeks than they have in the past. They are going to have to bring their own water in many cases. It’s important to call the golf courses you will be playing to see what is and isn’t available. If they don’t have water coolers on their carts, make sure they let you bring your own.

And hydrating before getting to the course will be important, too. Most people don’t do this, but having water before you even get to the course makes it easier throughout the round to stay hydrated.

There are other things to remember as you scurry back to the golf course to get in those precious rounds golfers were missing in March and April. For instance:

1. Sunscreen: Scorching temperatures can cause a lot of skin troubles, including skin cancer. And the sun can turn your skin into leather pretty fast. Sunscreen is practically mandatory. You can pick your own protection number, though most people will tell you 30 SPF should be a bottom line.

2. Other precautions: Yes, this seems obvious, but wearing a hat helps. It keeps the sun off of your face and neck a bit (if you are wearing the right hat), and it will make you more comfortable. Another tip is to keep a cold towel around (perhaps in a cooler). Toss that towel around your neck two or three times a round and you’ll be amazed at the cooling effect.

3. Play early, if possible: The worst heat of the day is at 2 or 3 p.m., and in some areas, you can’t be on the golf course then. If you play at 7 a.m., you can get around in three hours and not have to face the crushing heat of the day.

4. Don’t be stupid: A round of golf is not worth your life or worth even short-term damage to your health. If you feel dizzy or can’t focus or you notice you’ve stopped sweating, get in your cart and get off the course immediately. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real things, and you shouldn’t risk either of them for a round of golf.

So stay off the course if you can’t follow those simple rules. And remember that better playing conditions are on their way … eventually.

Please share these tips, articles and insights, so that as many people as possible can benefit from #SafeGolf.

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