If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

I got a taste of it yesterday when my son Tim, a resident of Vero Beach, arranged for us to play afternoon golf at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie – even though summer officially is a week away. As we teed off shortly after noon on the excellent Dye Course, the temperature was in the high 80s and the sun was shining brightly, as it did throughout the 3 ½-hour round. (We didn’t see many other golfers out there even though afternoon rates for a high-end layout are a bargain at $59.) I played well the first four holes but in the middle of the first nine, I started to wither. Rising from marking my ball on the greens became a dizzying ordeal. I staggered from green back to cart and soaked my head, face and neck with an iced towel on virtually every hole. (Smartly, the carts are loaded with ice and a couple of bottles of water.) Tee shots tarted to leak farther and farther offline as the round progressed.

I love to play in hot weather and, frankly, as I have gotten older, I have found that the heat loosens up muscles that, during cool spring days in Connecticut, take longer to flex. But yesterday, there was nothing salubrious about the heat; it felt relentless and exhausting.

It is possible I have only myself to blame; my pre-round meal was a salad with very little in the way of carbs. As I faded during the round, I ingested a couple of Gatorades for the electrolytes boost and an energy bar for the sugar boost. They helped slightly, but not enough to return me to a normal steady state.

I have compared temperature histories in Florida and South Carolina and, really, there isn’t much difference. But I have played plenty of golf in summer heat in South Carolina and a few in Florida, and there is something different about Florida heat and humidity. Those golfers intending to make Florida their year-round home should play a couple of practice rounds there in July or August. Make sure you have ice in the cart, Gatorades in the cup holders and eat a carb loaded lunch just before you play. Better yet, rise early and snag an early-morning tee time.

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