For most of us across the country, these past few weeks have been a straight up steambathy roasthouse, as temperatures have hovered in the upper 90s to low 100s during the heart of our golfing summer. Nothing like setting foot on the links extra early to “beat the heat,” only to start sweating the second that we pop our trunks to grab our clubs. No doubt about it, it’s been absolutely brutal. Nevertheless, snow shoveling and subzero temperatures will be here before we know it, meaning that if we’re going to get out and play this season meaning that blazing heat or not, now is the time to get out and tee it up.

The first two most important things to follow when trying to beat the heat are to stay hydrated and to wear sunscreen. Hydration is so key, as the sweat pouring out of your body will surely suck your energy level quickly downward, which’ll be the inverse of the direction that your scores will head if you’re not staying on top of those fluids. Wearing sunscreen of course will make you a lot happier with yourself when you visit the doctor later in life.

Apart from the two most obvious things to remember that are important to your health, let’s now look at ways that you can help your game when out on the links in the heat. Let’s face it, if you’re going to be bearing the brutal temps, you may as well try and play well, right?

Here are some tips on ways to help your game during the heat:

  • Carry two towels- one to wipe sweat from your face and one to keep those grips sweat free. It’s one thing to not know where the ball is going to go, but you should at least be sure that the club is going to stay in your hands after impact.
  • With extreme heat comes additional golf ball compression, and with that extra compression comes additional distance. You heard Tiger blame his troubles at Greenbrier this past week on struggles with distance control due to the ball going so far. Be aware of this and as the temperatures approach the century mark, assume an increase of near 10% of distance with each club in the bag.
  • Most golf courses will do their best to keep their courses as green as possible, but in some areas and at some courses this surely won’t be realistic all the way across the course. The lack of water will lead to hardpan lies (mainly in the rough), where the ground is baked out and extremely hard. This means that clubs, particularly wedges may bounce into the ball before impact. This can lead to inconsistent distances and shots flying well offline. The best way to combat this is to the play the ball back in your stance and be aware that any impact to the ground will cause the club to bounce up, therefore playing the ball back slightly and striking it first before the firm ground will ensure more consistent contact.
  • Along the lines of the hardpan lies in the rough are the baked out fairways. This additional roll can be used to your advantage as a 3-wood or even a hybrid or long-iron may get you to your intended spot in the fairway for your approach shot. So, instead of risking it with the driver, leave the big dog in the bag and hit a club that you know that you can hit straight, as you won’t be sacrificing as much distance as usual.
  • If you typically walk, it’s ok to take a cart in extreme temps.  Even that breeze when it’s 100 degrees out when driving the cart will feel somewhat refreshing.  If you’re going to walk, at least use a push cart instead of carrying to conserve energy.

So, next time that you’re out on the course in the brutal heat, try to remember these tips, as it will make playing in the heat much more enjoyable.

Joel Harrington