Hot enough for you?

July 9, 2011

The recent heat wave in the Cape Region presents a risk of injury or illness for those choosing to play golf. These risks can be managed with some care and consideration.

Because their effects can be so dangerous, I make a point of discussing heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke in this column every year.

There are several signs to watch out for among your playing partners to keep the fun from turning into something else.

Heat cramps usually appear in the abdominal muscles or the legs during periods of extreme heat. Heat syncope, on the other hand, is a sudden loss of consciousness or strength because it’s so hot. Fainting is sometimes the first sign of this condition.

Golfers suffering from heat exhaustion can have clammy skin that is cold to the touch, accompanied by weakness, vomiting, heavy sweating, and sometimes fainting. It can often happen during high heat with high humidity. When humid weather prevents sweat from evaporating, the body’s cooling system is essentially stymied.

The worst stage of heat exhaustion is heat stroke. The golfer’s skin is dry and hot. These signs can be accompanied by confusion, loss of consciousness, a rapid heartbeat, and a high fever.

First aid recommendations for these conditions are relatively straightforward.

For heat cramps, if the golfer is alert, have him drink Gatorade or a similar sports drink, or some lightly salted water, or just cool water, and massage the cramps until the muscles relax.

If the golfer suffers from the early stages of heat exhaustion, convince him to lie down in a cool place. Place cool wet cloths or cool water directly on the skin to help bring down the temperature. Cold compresses on the neck, groin, and armpits may help.

If the golfer faints, or is deeply confused or disoriented, or seems to have a high fever, don’t waste time. Call 911, and help him get immediate medical attention. If your golf course permits cell phones, keep one on and handy during these hot rounds, and know the number of the pro shop to call, in addition to 911.

Here are some other ways to reduce the chance of heat-related illness.

Use a golf cart, and pick another day to walk. Keep drinking non-alcoholic liquids during the round.

If there’s a bench at the tee boxes, sit on them until it’s your turn. Stay in the shade and rest whenever possible, without holding up others. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes to help keep the skin from overheating.

Local club tournament results
Shawnee Country Club held its annual Independence Day Mixed Team Tournament July 4.

The format called for the men to tee off on the odd-numbered holes and the women to tee off on the even-numbered holes. From each tee shot, the team members then played alternate shot.

This competitive format goes by at least two different names. The first one is Scotch Foursomes. The second one is Marriage Killer, according to some of its participants.

Notwithstanding the game’s reputation, longtime couple Lisa and James Hutchins won the tournament in the gross category with an 82.

In the first flight net category, Bob Burd and Barbara DeRue took first place with their net 67. John Chadderdon and Robbin Murray took second with their 71, while Kathy and Don Brown finished third with their 72.

In the second flight net category, Linda and Mike Cavanaugh won first-place honors with their 62. Donna Jackson and Bill Barnard finished in second with their 66. Linda and Ken Wheatley took third place with a 67.

At Kings Creek Country Club, the Ladies 18-hole golf group played a Bakers Dozen tournament June 30. This format counts the players’ strokes on their best 13 holes of the full 18.

Ana Dittel won first place in the first flight, followed by Pat Sernyak and then Anita Pettitt. In the second flight, Anissa Brandt took first place, with Prahha Karapurka in second and Ruth Bender in third.

Patti Magee placed her tee shot only 8-feet-10-inches from the hole on No. 11 for closest to the pin honors for the day.