IT’S 96 TODAY AT the St. Jude Classic in Memphis. Meanwhile, the heat index—that measurement some genius came up with that combines air temperature and relative humidity—is 110. People in Memphis and elsewhere knew when it was sticky hot and suffocating long before the heat index and “feels like” numbers came along.
Look at these tour players at TPC Southwind. They’re soaked with sweat, big dark patches ringing the seat of their pants. They look like they had an embarrassing accident. Sometimes I wonder how European players such as Swede Robert Karlsson and Englishman Lee Westwood acclimate to hot spots like muggy Memphis. I know they play worldwide, including places such as Dubai, but is there any place sweatier than the Home of the Blues?
My question to you is: How hot is too hot for golf? It’s summer now (or nearly so), golf season in North America, and the temperatures are rising. Is there a cutoff point for you, a temperature at which you say, “No, thanks. I’ll tee it up another day”?
(Photo: World’s tallest thermometer in Baker, California, a toasty hot town in the Mojave Desert. / tomspixels, Flickr)
It’s in the mid 90s across much of the Southeast and Southwest. Tomorrow the high in Phoenix will be 101. Does anyone play golf in Phoenix in the summer? Some must. But Phoenix golf, in particular, and Arizona golf, in general, are a much more comfortable activity in the winter months when highs are in the 60s and 70s rather than in June when the average high is 103 degrees and the record is a scorching 122.
This might sound like a variation of the “I walked five miles to school in the snow” story, but when I was growing up in California’s Mojave Desert I routinely played in 105-degree heat. And, yes, it was a dry heat. And, yes, that does make a difference. (But it’s still blistering hot.) It didn’t bother me as a teenager. I didn’t think anything of it. I spent summer days at the golf course and actually liked it when extreme heat cleared the course in the afternoon so my golf buddies and I could have the place to ourselves.
I don’t handle the heat as well now. I can play in it, but I find that my recovery period, especially if I walk, is much longer. It saps my energy. I’m not playing a lot of golf these days, but when I do I’m fortunate to live and tee it up in the Blue Ridge Mountains where the summertime temps rarely reach 90. That’s just fine with me.
−The Armchair Golfer
(Brought to you by ArizonaGolf.com.)