Too hot for golf? Perish the thought

July 13, 2012

The record-setting heat wave that swept over the Cape Region during the weekend after July 4 should have made even the most ardent golfer think twice about playing.

Saturday’s over-100-degree temperatures melted any ideas I might have had about playing that day. Instead, I waited until the relatively cool temperatures at noon on Sunday.

I knew I would adhere to my own, special 90-degree rule for summer golf - if it is over 90 degrees, I use a cart. Whatever exercise benefit I receive from my normal routine of walking 18 holes can wait.

Despite a decent breeze, the use of the cart, and copious amounts of drinking water during the round, the 95-degree conditions took their toll. My play on the last three holes was especially wretched, even by my bogey-golfer standards, and it had to be the heat.

I should have heeded the partial warning from playing 18 holes on July 4. During that round, I drank a 23.5-ounce can of Arnold Palmer’s half-and-half iced tea/lemonade mix. I then filled the can with water, and finished that off before completing the 14th hole. I drank more water at the station by the 17th hole, and finished off two tall glasses of both iced tea and ginger ale after the round.

Despite all that drinking, I still lost a pound and a half in a post-round weigh-in.

If you are equally strong-willed about playing golf in hot weather, here are some common tips for protecting yourself, repeated from some of my prior columns.

The two big risks are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The first condition is often caused by exercise in a hot and humid environment. The higher the humidity, the less your body can rely upon its normal self-cooling system of sweating, which cools the body as the moisture evaporates. If you don’t replace the fluids your body continues to sweat out, you can experience shock-like symptoms.

Heat stroke is more dangerous. It can come on quite rapidly in its victims, often the elderly and the very young, in its classic form. For others, heat stroke can also occur with exertion in a hot environment.

Heat exhaustion produces symptoms such as cold, clammy skin, muscle cramps, dizziness and profuse sweating. Heat stroke, on the other hand, may not produce much sweating, but it can create disorientation, hyperventilation and skin that feels dry to the touch.

The suggested treatments vary, but golfers should call the pro shop as soon as possible if their golfing partners show signs of succumbing to either of these dangerous conditions.

While waiting for help in cases of heat exhaustion, try to have the person rest in a shaded area, drink cool non-alcoholic fluids and loosen their clothing. For heat stroke, the medical authorities suggest moving the person to a cool environment, while fanning them to cool their skin. Drink offers should only be made if the victim appears to be mentally alert.

Demo day opportunity

The folks at Ruddo’s Golf are holding a demonstration day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 14, at the Midway Par 3 on Route 1 north of Rehoboth Beach.

Attendees will be able to test clubs from a variety of sources, including TaylorMade, Callaway, Ping, Nike and Cobra.

Local club competition results

The Kings Creek Country Club Ladies 18-hole group played a Flag Day game July 5.

Luann Zabytko took first place in the first flight, with Jeannine Doan finishing second and Anna Dittel coming in third.

In the second flight, Mary Mezger and Sherry Pie tied for first place, followed by Rita Musi. Pie also won the day’s closest to the pin contest.

The Ladies 9-hole group at Kings Creek played an Odd In, Even Out game for the day July 9. In this format, only the scores on the odd holes counted. I hope the players didn’t know that would be the case during the round.

Donna Davis won first place, and Susie Shevock took second, with Mary Beth Merolla coming in third. Evelyn Vanderloo won closest to the pin, with an approach that finished 34-feet-4-inches from the 16th hole.