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Lifestyle | 02 Oct 2020 | By Sun International

Teeing off against the sun

Playing a championship course like the one at Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club is a stern challenge on any given day. When you throw environmental factors like humidity and the mercury rocketing up to the high 30s, a quick round can easily turn into sun-stroke suffering. The sun can burn a hole right through your game, making it hard to maintain focus and energy levels.

“We’re not called Sun City for nothing. The African sun can do real damage. Don’t underestimate how severe it can be and take the necessary precautions,” says Sun City Golf Director Ken Payet.

Here are a few tips on playing – and thriving – in the heat:

Stay hydrated. Carry plenty of water and sports drinks with you and top up regularly. As most people exist in a semi-permanent state of dehydration, if you’re drinking water on the morning of your round, it’s too late. Load up in the days leading up to your round to make the biggest impact on your performance.

Limit your alcohol intake. It can be tempting to have an ice-cold brew before (and during) your round, but alcohol is a potent diuretic. Rather leave the beers for post-golf celebrations – or commiserations – at the clubhouse. “We discourage drinking on the course, but if you do so, keep it to a minimum,” says Payet.

Work on your fitness. The fitter you are, the better you will be able to tolerate the heat. You’ll also build up your tolerance levels by playing more rounds in sweltering conditions.

Take Sunscreen. Lather on SPF50 sunscreen before hitting the course and repeat the process once you hit the turn. “Golfers will perspire and lose some of the protection, so get ready for the back nine by reapplying your sunscreen,” advises Payet.

See the shade. Carry an umbrella and make full use of shade wherever possible. You’ll want to limit your exposure while walking between tees and to the greens.

Dress appropriately. Wear light coloured, moisture-wicking clothing, appropriate headgear and UV-rated sunglasses. Make full use of tech-infused fabrics and don’t forget to protect your eyes.

Retain your composure. Throwing a fit when you miss that easy putt will only make it harder to cope with the heat. It’s easier said than done, of course, but try to remain calm and conserve your energy.

Most importantly, If you’re particularly susceptible to the sun, burn easily or are unaccustomed to the heat, don’t try to be hero and pay due respect to the giant flaming orb. Avoid playing in the middle of the day, moving your tee-off time to the cooler hours of the morning or late afternoon, or to another day entirely.

Just completed a round under a blazing sun? The good news is that there are a range of benefits linked to playing and exercising in the heat. You’ll lower your resting body temperature, increase blood plasma volume and sweat rate, and improve cardiovascular function – all of which adds up to better performance, no matter the conditions.

Experience Hole 2 at the Gary Player Golf Course