There are a few things I’ve discovered about golfing in a tropical climate this past winter. Golf early early in the morning because after lunch you’ll melt in the sun and humidity. As I age I’m much more concerned about sun exposure and the nature of golf is that if you hit the ball in the ideal location straight down middle of the fairway you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun rather than in the treeline shade looking for your ball. Here are some tips I’ve learned to help minimize sun exposure and still enjoy a hot sunny day of the course.
First of all sunscreen is a must when golfing in a tropical climate. I lather it on before I go out and then again after at least 9 holes but often at every 4-5 holes. I’m especially careful around my face and neck and I also apply right down to my sock line. There’s nothing nastier than a golfer’s tan, white foot and brown leg. I’ve found that spray on sunscreen is the easiest to apply on the course so that you don’t have to get your hands all sticky. Our club groundskeeper has asked to be careful to spray on the cart paths and not while on the turf since the spray can kill the grass. (This is also true for bug spray). Also using a cream on the legs tends to gather more sand and dirt from the course and the spray is just a little lighter. There are also some sticks that are easier to apply to your face particularly the jawline where where a baseball hat leaves you exposed. I keep a few hand wipes with my sunscreen bottle so that I can quickly remove any unwanted sunscreen from my hands so that I get a good grip of the club.
I always wear a hat on the course and often start out early with a baseball hat but as the sun gets higher I switch to a wider brim when golfing in a tropical climate. I like the Scala brand, wide brimmed or a more cap style with larger viser (shown left and in the picture of me golfing in Florida). Both styles have 50 upf protection but I would still continually add sunscreen throughout the game. I like a wide brim also because I find that I usually try to wear sun glasses but find that it’s easier to see the ball without them so I’ve often my glasses perched on top of my head.
I often wear a 50 upf long sleeve blouse. San Soleil makes some really attractive ones like the black and white style I’m wearing at the top and also shown on the left. This one has mesh inserts under the arms for added ventilation. I fell in love with the intense blue and white the moment I saw it. It’s a slinker material that feels amazing. Surprisingly even though you do sweat in the heat it doesn’t show any stains.
The other thing about golf is that your exposed, non-gloved, hand takes a fair bit of sun. I discovered these 50 UPF palmless hand cover golfs from Palm Free Sunwear and I’m excited to try one on my right hand as soon as I hit the links this spring and summer. There are companies that make arm sleeves so that you can combine them with a shorter sleeved blouse and also there are dickies for covering up your throat and neck and all of these will help protect you if you’re golfing in a tropical climate. If, like me, you suffer from arthritis in your hands, it can be helpful to wear a special glove on your other hand too.