With temperatures expected to soar to 32c in parts of the UK during the current heatwave, golfers are being warned of the dangers of heatstroke, excessive sun exposure and extreme dehydration.

Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund, and creator of the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, has provided some key tips on how to carry on playing golf while reducing the health risks related to high temperatures.

Book an early or late tee time
Temperatures are considerably cooler earlier in the morning, or later in the day. Baker says: “Booking a tee out of peak hours has many advantages, it’s quieter and it’s a lot cooler, but get in there early as many will have the same idea!”
Make sure you take plenty of water with you on the golf course and take regularly sips to remain hydrated

Avoid sunburn
This can happen within minutes on the golf course, so before your swing, slap your SPF30+, slip on a hat (ideally wide brim) remember those sunglasses.  Baker comments: “We all know the risks associated with UV rays and skin cancer and this get super-charged in a heatwave. Apply sunscreen before activity and every two hours throughout the day.  Avoid a greasy grip by repurposing your anti-bac gel, applying this with a small towel to clean palms.”

Stay hydrated
Being active when temperatures are high can lead to dehydration, so it is vital to maintain optimal fluid balance.
“When active, such as walking briskly to the next hole, our body’s core temperature will naturally increase, resulting in us losing bodily fluid through sweat,” says Baker. “Drink water 30 minutes before your session, and then continuously sip water during the day after your round, avoiding the temptation of alcohol, which has a dehydrating effect.”

Take to the range instead
The longer you’re outside, the more chance you have of experiencing the negative impacts of the heat, so opt for a session at the driving range instead. Baker advises: “If you really want to get some golf in, mix it up a bit, and opt for a training session instead of a round. You’ll complete the same amount of time on the ball but reduce your exposure by 50 per cent.”

Don’t be a walk over
Many golfers find it rewarding to challenge themselves by walking the course. If you can book a buggy, go for this option. It may start off cool, but it will get hotter as the day progresses,” advises Baker. “If you cannot book a buggy take it easy and remember that the heat will affect your game, so don’t push yourself too hard between tees. Take regular breaks in the shade so that your body can cool down and you can take on water.”

Get your club Sun Protection Accredited to the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign here: www.melanoma-fund.co.uk/slip-slap-swing/

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