Playing Golf in the Desert is Hard to Beat, But…
Golf in the desert can be expensive during the snow bird season (January through April) so those summer rates can look mighty attractive. There’s a good reason that golf is a lot cheaper in the summer.
Summer is hot in Laughlin. How hot? It’s freaking hot! Not just hot. It’s take-your-breath-away HOT. But the good news is as the temperature rises, the golf rates go down — way down. Summer golf in Laughlin and surrounding areas can be fantastic and inexpensive too!
If you are visiting from Phoenix or Scottsdale, you know what hot is!. You probably have your own tricks and tips. If you are from Southern California and play Palm Springs area courses in the summer, you too might just scan over the tips. But if you are from Canada, the east coast or any “comfortable climate,” we have some TIPS that might make the difference between a great golf outing and and the repeating soundtrack of “if only” raging in your throbbing head all day…
Golf enthusiasts agree that it’s hard to beat a good day on the greens. That said, when playing golf in the tri-state area during summertime, it gets harder to stay comfortable and enjoy what you came for. If you’re not prepared you could soon be wishing that you’d stayed in your air conditioned hotel room or casino.
Understanding Average Temperatures at Different Altitudes
Situational Awareness – Extreme heat today? Boulder City or Kingman might be your ticket.
Laughlin & Bullhead City at 540 feet –vs– Boulder City at 2,500 feet –vs– Kingman at 3,300 feet…
Sunscreen! – Though the average temperature drops as you climb in elevation, your ability to get a sunburn is actually inverted as you climb higher, so make sure to take sunscreen no matter which golf course you might choose.
10 Tips for Playing Golf in the Desert
- The time of day you choose to play – is perhaps the most important decision. If you can schedule a tee time at first light the desert temperatures are still quite mild. If you are lucky, you’ll finish your round before it starts to get uncomfortably hot and oppressive. Should you schedule an evening round, you may find that it is still extremely hot, but as the round goes on things will cool off as the sun starts to set.
- Wear appropriate summer clothing. Be sure to wear light colored clothes and shorts. The lighter colors will reflect more of the sun’s rays unlike dark colors which will absorb the heat and make you miserable.
- Wear a visor – If you still have hair, consider wearing a strap visor rather that a traditional cap. Don’t have a visor? Consider a ventilated Panama Hat that will breath and keep the sun off your face and neck. Most of your body heat escapes through your head. When you wear a tight and confining hat you will have protection from the sun, but you will also trap all of that heat trying to escape your head and cool your body. By wearing a strap visor you can still have your shade while allowing your head to vent some body heat.
- Take advantage of available shade – use your cart or step into the rough to get some shade while waiting for greens to clear. If tress or shrubs are close by the air will be cooler in the vegetation shade than under the cart’s top. That said, watch out for desert critters. Goes for stray balls too. If you are going to be poking around in bushes or under rocks, use a golf club. Do not reach with your hand or foot. You might disturb a rattlesnake or scorpion who read these same TIPS. BTW – heavy paramedic trucks destroy the greens for everyone!
- Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen – to protect against harmful UV-rays and keep out of the skin cancer demographic. The desert UV is extreme, and remember, should you head to Boulder City or Kingman to take advantage of cooler temperatures, the UV is the same or GREATER as the air thins at elevation.
- Ride don’t walk. While a cart adds some cost and you forgo some exercise, you will avoid the risk of sun stroke, have your own personal shade while waiting for greens to clear, and be able to carry more water, a cooler with cold towels, and that desert golf trip will be much more enjoyable.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Playing golf in the summer heat will drain you. If you fail to properly hydrate you’ll start to feel the effects quickly. Keeping hydrated will keep you cooler too. As you sweat you cool. Better to sweat water and not blood, so bring plenty of water with you. Make sure that you drink water constantly, even if you aren’t thirsty. Make a rule to drink water before getting up to every tee box, so it becomes a routine. It is always a good idea to freeze a few water bottles before heading out to play. They can be used to keep a neck towel cold while thawing out for the back 9. If you underestimate, be sure to take advantage of water stations around the course.
How about a few beers? Silly idea (until the 19th hole!). You simply cannot substitute beer or Margaritas for water. Alcohol dehydrates the body and makes it worse. Drink water. You can bring along some sports drinks to add some variety.
- Take a wet towel – in a cooler that is kept cold on ice or frozen water bottles. By putting that cool wet towel around your neck, your game will improve and it is an amazing treat.
- Bring your cell phone. The strongest, healthiest, regular summer players —even local desert-dwellers— are subject to heat stroke. By the time you notice something is wrong because you forgot the shade, wore too dark of clothing, or failed to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, there you are: a heat stroke victim. The cell phone can be your lifeline if you skipped some summer desert tips and the heat is the big winner this day.
- Don’t Drink THAT water – Many of those water features are amazing. They look cool and refreshing too! You might be disturbed to learn how many man-made water features on golf courses are fed with “reclaimed water!” Most desert golf courses have agreements with the water authorities and must use reclaimed water in those cool-looking, inviting, lakes, ponds, brooks and waterfalls. The last thing you want to do is dunk your head in it, swim in it, or —God forbid— drink it. When Murphy is bumping your shots into the the water features use a ball retriever.
Upshot? – Summer Golf is hard to beat –even in the desert!
But take advantage of these TIPS that are offered to you for FREE from those who have learned the hard way! An otherwise memorable golf outing can be ruined by a bad sunburn or becoming dehydrated; and even life-threatening if you expose yourself to possible heat stroke.
It’s all about perspective. In the summer months you can play world-class golf courses for an unheard of low, low price! The best TIPS are simple and logical: Playing in the early morning hours will help beat the heat, drink plenty of water (put the beer away until the 19th hole), find shade whenever possible, wrap a cool towel around your neck, and don’t drink toilet water!
Academy of Golf Dynamics instructor, Thor Lokey, shares tips on playing golf in the Summer Heat
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