In all sports the climate can affect the way games are played. But unlike most sports that are affected by the weather, golf is possibly the most affected, due to it being a slower smoother sport where the player is more open to the elements.
So how can you as a golfer improve the way that you combat weather conditions?
Firstly you have to be prepared, this may sound obvious but it amazes me how many players turn up to lessons or the caddy master not fully prepared. It happens on a daily basis.
Depending on where you live in the world, you will be more accustomed to playing in cold wet weather or hot sunnier climes; however you will always be faced with the unseasonal or unusual weather.
As we are in winter here in Europe I will begin with how you can still perform at your best by being correctly prepared for the weather that you may face. Winter across Europe varies but the continent as a whole will always be prone to a cold wind coming from Siberia.
Firstly it is imperative that you wear adequate clothing, buying a thermal under layer will help enormously with the cold, as will a high quality wind cheater. Both of these if high quality will be enough to keep your body warm and protected from the cold.
Secondly keep your hands warm, especially important if you are a feel player, best around the greens. Go out and buy hand warmers and put them in some skiing mittens, this will keep your fingers warm and nimble.
Thirdly take on plenty of fluids and food, before, during and after the round. Being well hydrated in the cold may seem like it is not necessary but your body will be burning more energy in a bid to keep you warm. Drink plenty of water and a flask of warm tea will also help. Eating to keep energy levels high is vital, take along some nut bars, fruit and a sandwich. Not only will this help with keeping warm and energized it will keep you feeling fresh, excuse the pun, for the entire round.
Finally, before you begin your round warm up. Stretch in a warm environment before you begin hitting balls is a good idea, just to get the blood flowing to the muscles and your extremities. When you begin warming up make sure that you start slowly, do not over exert yourself with the first few balls, as this could lead to an injury. Cold muscles do not like to work that hard, so don´t try to make them.
For those of you that are lucky enough to play in the warmth of the sun, the same ideas and rules generally apply.
You should ensure that you are well prepared, you should have adequate clothing to avoid getting sun burnt and/or sun stroke, you should definitely warm up before you play and most importantly you should take plenty of water.
In the heat of the sun you dehydrate very quickly. Taking on water before you tee off is a must and taking small but regular sips is far more beneficial that drinking the entire bottle in one long swig.
Dehydration is the main culprit for loss of concentration, with some scientists claiming that a loss of 10% of your body fluid results in a loss of around 20% in your ability to concentrate. So you can imagine how quickly your ability to think, concentrate and perform is affected just by getting dehydrated.
Remember by the time that you are thirsty you are already dehydrated drastically.
Another good tip is to remove any unwanted items that may be in your golf bag so that you don´t waste energy dragging a heavily laden golf bag in the heat of the sun.
For those of you that sweat, try wearing some talcum powder, it will help to keep you dry. It is also a good way to keep your palms dry from sweat. A little sprinkling of powder can take away the moisture and leave your hands feeling more comfortable.
Until Next time,
The Golf Swing Doctor