Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Desert Golf: Yes, It Is Hot (Part Three)

So, you ask.  How do I deal with playing Desert Golf when there is so may hassles involved?  I was wondering if you were ever going to ask.   I am sure there are many experts out there, who I invite to chime in, who have played much more desert golf than I, but let me run down for you how I deal with desert golf in the summer.

First, before I leave town, I made sure I have gathered up a few supplies.   I make sure I have two pair of golf gloves for each hand.  Not that I might need them both, but there is always some rookie who will be wallowing around in a fairway bunker that I need to offer a pair of golf gloves to use. 

Then I go by and get a jar of pure Vitamin E lotion and some tubes of sunscreens.  I get a 5pfc that has some sort of moisturizer in it, a 50spf oil free cream that has aloe in it and a 45spr spray (it is new on the market, but the spray really works well since it forces the sunscreen into the skin.)    I make sure I have enough to last twice as long as my stay.  I am serious; you can never have too much moisturizer or sunscreen in the desert.

Next, I get ready for dehydration and dealing with the aftermath of being in the heat for several hours.  I stop by my health store and pick up a packet or bottle of 1000mg B12 sublingual tablets.  What are these for? Energy.   The heat is going to sap you of energy.  And it is going to take all of the fun out of all of the after golf activities if you don’t prepare for recharging or keeping your energy up.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with taking an emergency nap.  I have a few of those already scheduled for my trip…hey, it is a vacation. 

But even with shutting down your body for a while, your body is going to need to replenish its electrolytes and vitamins and minerals it burned off out in the sun.  Your body really works hard battling that heat, so take care of it because you have to live in it a long time.

Now, I make my travel plans to arrive the afternoon before my rounds of golf begins.  This provides me time to gather up all of the survival gear I did not want to pack and carry with me.  Remember, find that Wal-Mart or whatever convenient store they have available at your designation.  Stock up on bottle water to have in your room and with you all the time you are awake.

Of, course, I hit the internet and gather Intel on what restaurants are available.  Make sure you eat healthy.  Have at least one descent meal each a day.  The hamburgers and fry’s are OK, but man they really don’t look very well spewed all over the 16th TeeBox when it is about 105 degrees in the shade.  I think you get the picture on eating well.  Remember, your body is going to need all of the help it can get fighting off the heat.  Don’t load up on greasy food.  It doesn’t help you body if it has to spend the entire night fighting a greasy Mexican dinner when it should be pumping nutrients out to your tired muscles.  I don’t care how young you are…the heat of the desert will wear you out.  And I have been there when ‘Mr. Macho’ buckles at his knees because he can’t play golf without at least two beers a hole and a chili dog at the turn…

Get your TeeTimes as early as the course will let you.  You might have to call a month ahead, but what ever it takes; start as early as you can stand it.   I don’t really recommend playing desert golf in the afternoon in the summer and some courses will not let you.  But, t if you have to for some sort of weird reason, then double the preparation for an afternoon round of desert golf.

I lather up the sunscreen before I leave for the course.  For the best coverage I put on the sunscreen and lotions before I get dressed.  First, I wet my skin with water before putting on the lotion.  Then, I put a layer of Vitamin E location on all parts of my body that is going to be exposed to the sun and wind.  This helps keep the skin moist during the round.  The skin soaks up the ‘E’ quickly so don’t worry about the initial greasy look.  It will be gone before you get to the next step.  On top of the E I put the 5spf with the moisturizer on my face and the back of my neck.  Then I get with the 50spf.  Depending on how dry my skin is or burn it is from the previous day, I usually will trowel it on my arms and legs.    Now, I am ready and I get dressed for battle.

I wear white or as light of colors as I can.  I leave all of the dark colors for the evening.  Wear a golf shirt a size too big.  Don’t worry, you still will look sharp.  Just make sure it is a light weight material made of cotton.  Don’t do the spandex ‘Sergio’ look in the desert.  

Even wear light colored shoes.  The last time I went to the desert I wore my black FootJoys and my feet cooked inside the shoes.  I got a pair of white shoes this time

OK, if you have done all of the above you am ready to enjoy your  time on the course.  Now it is time to get your equipment ready.  First, take four or five golf towels with you.  You will use them for all kinds of reason.  Mainly to keep things cool while you are on the course.  Get a big towel and keep it soaked with cold water at all times. Use it to put over your head periodically.  Keeping your head cool is very important.  Put the towel around your neck while driving from shot to shot.  The wind generated hitting the moist cool towel will refresh you for that next shot.   Every water bucket you see, soak it down.  It will probably be dry by the time you get to the next bucket.   

Use another towel to shade your clubs.  Drape it over your clubs when you are not using them.  Carry a towel with you if you are carrying more than one club out on the fairway.  Wrap the grip of the club you are not using with a towel.  This will keep the grip from getting real hot when it is lying on the ground.  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Mr. Macho take a cut with his wedge he laid on the ground and the grip stays in his hand the club goes flying over the pin.  The heat will loosen up the adhesive tape on the grips.  So keep the clubs cool.

And of course, keep a towel hanging on your bag that is soaking wet so you can not only wipe off your clubs, but use it to wipe down the grips periodically so you can get the sunscreen off and keep them cool.

Electrolytes:  There are several products out on the market you can use to keep your electrolyte level up in your body.  Don’t just rely on drinking water.   Of course the favorite most drink is Gatorade.  But there are some powders out now that can be poured into a bottle of water that works just as good if not better.  Take a look at these at the store when you are getting your water.

If you do all of this, I know you have a better chance surviving golf in the desert.  

After Golf Aftermath:  I suggest you schedule some POOL time for after golf.  If you are staying a few days to enjoy a few rounds of golf in the desert I suggest a dip in the pool right after each round of golf.  It refreshes your skin and muscles and cools your body down. 

If you can’t do the pool I suggest taking a shower right afterwards.  Start off with a light warm temperature and then gradually take it to as cold as you can stand it.

Hit the back of your neck with the nozzle.  That is where your bodies’ thermostat is located.  This will relax you and let you sleep better.

Ok, you went to the desert to play golf and to have fun.  If you follow my suggestions you will definitely have a better chance of accomplishing your mission than if you did not take my warnings seriously.

Even with the most preparation, sometimes the heat will get to you.  If you start to feel light headed or nauseated, make sure you let one of your playing partners know.  Do not shake off those symptoms as being part of your hangover from the previous night.   It could be that you need to cut that round of golf short and get to the air conditioning.  Don’t be thinking you will beat the heat of the desert just because you are strong and healthy. The cemeteries are full of strong macho type people who tried to play desert golf like regular summer golf at home.  Desert golf is a whole lot different that playing golf anywhere else.  Play it smart and take precautions.  Remember, stay away from the beer and alcohol, save it for when you are telling the story of the rattlesnake you saw trying to find your ball in the desert..  

Have fun and be careful.  I hope all of this helps.

Scot Duke,  President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping small businesses improve their marketing strategies. As author of: How To Play Business Golf, Mr. Duke outlines the steps to sucessfully using golf as a business tool.  To learn more about Mr. Duke, IBGS or to purchase How To Play Business Golf visit


No comments: