July 22nd, 2018

Slice of the Game: Start drinking (water) long before that hot summer day’s round of golf

By None on July 12, 2018.

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Golfers spend their winter months dreaming of summer heatwaves, yet when the thermometer goes up, all too often, their scores do as well.

The summer sun is out in full force this week; however, its impact on your game may not always be a positive one. Long-term exposure to excessive heat will leave you dehydrated.

Dehydration — even on a light or moderate level — leads to mental and physical fatigue, poor focus and some loss of co-ordination. In extreme situations, heatstroke is also a real risk.

When you experience dehydration, it will have a detrimental impact on the quality of your shots and scores. With some advance planning and preparation, you can mitigate the impact the heat has on your game, as well as dramatically reduce your risk of heatstroke.

Maintaining your hydration levels is a two-step process, which requires you to factor in both pre-hydration and rehydration. Rehydration is the common one, with pre-hydration being all too often skipped.

Rehydrating yourself periodically throughout the day is important. Remember, if you feel thirsty, it is too late, as you are already experiencing slight dehydration. Be proactive and sip water constantly throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty.

Don’t simply focus on rehydrating yourself, think about pre-hydrating yourself as well.

When it is extremely hot out, it is almost impossible to maintain hydration levels while being active in the sun and heat. This is where your base hydration level is so important. You need to ramp up your water intake the day or two prior to your round to ensure you are topped up prior to beginning the day.

Being active in the sun is strain enough on your body and its fluid levels; however, all too often, players try and quench their thirst with things like alcohol and caffeine. I am not opposed to players enjoying a beverage on the course, but when they do, they need to be realistic about the effects of doing so and plan accordingly.

Over-consumption of alcohol will only speed up the rate at which your body gets dehydrated. If you plan to enjoy a drink or two, be aware of the fact you need to offset it by increasing your water intake around it.

Finding shade, even when it is manufactured is important.

Keep the direct sunlight off your body, by utilizing things like hats, sunglasses and umbrellas. Most golfers have an umbrella, yet they typically only use it in the rain. Umbrellas and hats are great ways to help alleviate the strain your body feels from the direct sunlight.

Pay extra attention to your hydration when it is windy. Sun and wind are essentially Mother Nature’s hair dryer. It will subtly dry you out all day long, but its impact is not often considered because the breeze helps us feel cooler.

In order to make the most of your sunny days, exercise caution and prepare appropriately. Pre-hydrate, rehydrate, balance out alcohol consumption and create some additional shade for yourself if you plan to enjoy your time on the course this summer.

Trevor Moore is a PGA of Canada professional and a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor with the Titleist Performance Institute. Based in Medicine Hat, he runs his Advantage Golf Academy out of Cottonwood Coulee Golf Course and coaches the Medicine Hat College Rattlers golf teams. For comments or questions, you can contact him via his website trevormoore.ca or follow him on Twitter @trevormooreinc.

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