How to Play Disc Golf in the Heat


When you’re out on the disc golf course, It takes a considerable amount of effort to tough out the heat. And if you live anywhere that gets hotter than 80 degrees out, you know of the struggle that we face. The struggle of heat exhaustion, sweat, miserable humidity, and the searing sun. All of that makes for one ridiculously hot round.

And it got me thinking about all of the times I’ve played in the heat. I know that I’ve just gone out and thrown. No water or snacks. No cold towels or sunblock. I was about done after 5 or 6 holes, clothes soaking wet with sweat. Many times did I not do things correctly. So I thought that I might make a quick guide on how to actually play disc golf in the heat. My near-death experiences have led me to the following information.

How do you (actually) play disc golf in the heat?

You play disc golf in the heat by keeping your body hydrated, trying to beat the heat with heat hacks, preparing adequately for the weather, and watching out for heat-related illness like heat exhaustion, dehydration or heat stroke.

But it’s more than just that. I mean, the heat sucks, but let’s take look at everything you can do to get through the hot weather and crush your rounds.

The most important thing to remember

The absolute most important thing you need to remember when playing in the heat is to keep yourself hydrated. Staying hydrated, or simply giving your body enough sustainable fluid to be able to function appropriately, is probably one of best tips I can give you for playing in hot weather. When your body gets drained of fluids, you need to hydrate your body or else you won’t be able to function anymore. So, you need to find a way to keep your body hydrated properly.

A great way to do just this is with Gatorade or any electrolyte-filled sports drink. This can work out very well because all of the electrolytes and sodium can help give your body energy for the round. Gatorade and Powerade work very well, with electrolyte-filled water right behind them.

The best way to keep yourself hydrated, though, is with good old-fashioned water. H20 is, without a doubt, the king of hydration. You need to stay hydrated and water is the real way to do that.

4 awesome benefits of water

1. Keeps away dehydration: because I haven’t crushed this point enough, one of the key benefits of water is that it helps to keep dehydration away. This is important because our rounds of disc golf in the heat are long and require us to stay in the game while we sweat. After half a round, my shirt is almost always soaked through. More sweating equals faster dehydration, so start chuggin’.

2. Protects your joints: full rounds can really do a number on your body, so keep your body filled with water so your joints are protected. Water helps to lubricate your joints and keep them from not hurting. It also helps to repair any damage. Water is important because playing disc golf on uneven terrain can wreck your joints. Drink up so that you can keep yourself running strong for round after round.

3. Boosts your energy: according to this study on water and energy expenditure, drinking water can help give you more energy in as little as 10 minutes after drinking it. You need energy on the disc golf course, especially after about 7-8 holes in 100 degree heat. Your body gets physically exhausted, and if you don’t have water, your energy will be gone quickly.

4. Keeps your mind sharp: if you’re not properly hydrated, you won’t be as mentally sharp. This article on psychologytoday.com explains a little more, but it basically says that your brain needs water or it may not function properly. We need to be smart on the disc golf course, and we need more water in the heat to help us stay in the game.

So, water it is…but how much water?

Yep, water. What I recommend is at least half a gallon or more per round. That’s the bare mininum. I personally drink about a gallon per round on a hot day. A half gallon is about four regular-sized water bottles. A gallon is about eight bottles.

Water is good, or any cold drink that will keep you hydrated. You can also take along Gatorade, in bottles or in a plastic sports bottle. Both can be found on Amazon.

Pro tip: when you pack water, don’t chill or freeze your bottles. Pack room temperature bottles of water for drinking. Cold water, according to this article on curejoy.com, is not all the good for you. You don’t want to have to worry about anything extra while you’re playing your round. What you can do, though, is freeze one bottle and use it as a cooling bottle to press against your neck or forehead if it’s really hot out.

5 simple heat hacks to beat the heat on the disc golf course

It’s not just staying hydrated that helps you beat the heat on the disc golf course. There are also a bunch of other simple ways to hack your round so you can stay a little bit cooler when you play. Here are our top 5.

1. Try playing early or late: if you hate the heat, one of the best things you can try is to play your round in the morning or the evening. This is something that I’ve carried over from my rounds of ball golf. I used to hate getting up early to hit the course, but now I’d rather avoid the heat. If you prefer to not get up as early, try hitting the course around sunset or just before and you should be catching the milder temperatures of the day. Seven o’clock in the morning, though, is almost always the coolest time of the day. Oh yeah, the course will probably be empty, too.

2. Shade: always, always, always seek the shade. That’s a given. But did you know that even on the most open courses, you can make your own shade? Yep, someone once told me to take a small umbrella in my bag for the round. I said, “small umbrella? Like for rain?” And the answer was, “no, for shade. It’s hot out there.” It made so much sense. Amazon has a ton of awesome small umbrellas for you to carry in your bag.

Or try this…

3. Wear a hat: this is pretty similar to the last tip, but if you don’t want to carry around an umbrella, a hat is always a great option. Here are a couple of good hat options for you that you can find on Amazon.

– standard baseball style cap
– fitted snapback
– cowboy hat
– sombrero (seriously, these work)
– Bora Bora sun hat (navy seal hat)
– extreme sun hat

And don’t forget to get a sweat liner for your hat. These things always work pretty well. You can also get them on Amazon.

4. Take your shirt off: this might not be my first option if I was playing a tournament. But if you’re out just playing a regular round with friends, why not take your shirt off? You can get a little bit of sun, too. Just don’t forget the sunblock or else you might have a bigger problem than just being hot. You can get both of these at the grocery store or on Amazon.

5. Move a little bit slower: this is something I found hard to do at first. You see, I hate wasting time, and moving slow is not really my style. However, I learned quickly that if you move a little bit slower, and take your time to get hydrated in between each hole, you end up with more energy and an overall better round. Go ahead, give it a shot.

Friends are important

We all love disc golf and I love when I’m able to play with my friends. But it’s even more important to take friends along when it’s super hot outside.

Why? Well, friends are good motivation in the heat. If you’re playing a competitive round during the hottest part of the summer, it may be good to have a buddy cheer you on. The heat really drains the life out of you and makes you not want to do anything, let alone a full 18 hole round. Your buddy will help you get through that.

Friends are also great for suffering with. I mean, it’s really hot outside so why suffer in the heat by yourself? Why not take a friend or two with you? You all can play your round, complain to each other, and feel the sweltering heat as it slowly melts all of your discs. Just make sure you stay hydrated and wear some sunblock.

The best part about having a friend with you is that you can watch each other’s back. It’s really hot, so if you’re by yourself and you have a heatstroke, you’re probably dead. If you had a buddy, he might be able to save you! The same also goes for you. You can help friends out if they get overheated. Again, drink water. Everyone needs to stay hydrated.

Other stuff to bring for the heat

Aside from the obvious things the bring like water, there are a few things that you should pack so that you’re prepared for the heat. These things are pretty common and most don’t cost a whole lot. You can get almost all of these on Amazon, Walmart, or your local sports store.

Towel for sweat: this is a given. You will be hot and you will sweat. Get yourself a small sweat towel so that you can wipe the sweat and everything else out of your eyes. I often wear sunblock and the sweat makes it run down into my eyes. Having a towel helps with this. You can choose from a variety of cool disc golf towels here on InfiniteDiscs.com.

Cold pack towel: cold pack towels are awesome for the heat. There are many different designs but most stay cold for an hour or two and aren’t really that expensive. This cold pack towel on Amazon is a great choice for the course.

Because it’s really hot…

Sunscreen: you need to pack sunscreen to avoid severe sunburns on the course. I’m very white and have to use a lot of sunscreen or else I get burnt badly. Sunscreen is always in my bag. Banana Boat spf 30 sunblock is a good option for your rounds. 

Camelback or water bladder: a Camelbak or a water hydration bladder is a great option for when you go out on the disc golf course. Just think about the weight of the hydration bladder, as these are designed to be worn for the day and will be annoying to take off every single hole. But they can provide some extra water for your hydration needs. There are some really cheap products on Amazon that will easily work as good as a Camelbak. I bought this 3 liter water bladder here on Amazon and it is perfect for you rounds. 

get some of these…

Snacks (for some sugar): you should always pack snacks. After being in the heat for awhile and losing some sweat, your body starts to run low on sugar. According to this article on joslin.org, your body uses its sugar for fuel. So, once you start becoming low on blood sugar, you may start to get tired. Having some moderately healthy snacks can solve this problem. I regularly take about three snack bars with me and maybe some crackers. All of this has some sugar to help your body keep performing at max capacity. These snacks also provide the body a little bit of sodium, which is much needed during your disc golf round. Sodium helps to regulate your body’s concentration of bodily fluids and it helps us absorb vital nutrients. This article on dwfitnessfirst.com explains the need for sodium a little bit more in depth. My favorite snack bars to take with me are the Nature Valley sweet and salty nut bars. 

What about these?

Electrolyte pills (great for sports in the heat): electrolyte pills are awesome for when you’re trying to bust out a good round at the disc golf course. We’ve all heard the infamous, “you need your electrolytes,” phrase somewhere or another, but up until I started writing this post, I never really knew exactly what electrolyte were or what their function was. I knew they were important, as most of us are told repeatedly throughout life.

Electrolytes are salts that help to regulate water in the cells of our body and spark nerve impulses that keep the organs of our body functioning properly (like your heart and your lungs). When you workout. Your body loses electrolytes in the form of sweat. And if you don’t replace the electrolytes, your body can become dehydrated and can shut down on you. You can read more about this on health.com.

Now, If you can afford to buy some electrolyte pills, this may be a good route to go so that you can replace all of your electrolytes on the fly as you’re playing your round. You can find a good selection of electrolyte pills on Amazon or you can always go the sports drink route and get some Gatorade. The best pills I’ve found are the Vali Electrolyte Salts pills (check current price on Amazon).

Umbrella: we already talked about having an umbrella, as this can help you conquer the shade and stay a little bit cooler.

Don’t forget about

Stool (if you are able to): if you have the room in your bag or if you can carry one, a stool is great for sitting down in between holes. Remember when we said, “slow down some between holes?” Sitting down and drinking some water can help you not be as tired for the next hole. Choose between a couple tournament seats here on InfiniteDiscs.com or just use a stump or log for free.

An extra pair of clothes for after you play: after you finish the round, you will be hot and sweaty. You can choose to stay in the same clothes and cool off, or you can take a pair of clothes with you to change into after the round. Depending on when I’m playing, I might take a pair of clothes for after. If I play on my work lunch break, I can change from my work attire into my gym attire and then back to work attire after. This is more of a psychological thing, as some people don’t want to just sit in the sweat. This one’s up to you, but you can definitely cool down a little faster after your round with some new clothes.

Something to think about…

Even though you need to make sure to be prepared for playing in the heat, don’t over prep. Too much weight in your bag can weigh you down and make you use up a lot of energy. You need that energy to play, so don’t go crazy with your packing. Make sure you have some water, a small umbrella, some sunscreen, a couple snacks, electrolyte pills in a small baggie, small towel, small cold pack towel, and your discs. Also, don’t bring a lot of discs. You should bring no more than six discs so you can keep the weight of the bag down. If you do all of that, you should be good to go.

Danger! Here are some things to watch out for in the heat

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and highly recommend you seek professional medical assistance if you believe that someone is suffering from anything typed below or if you aren’t sure what to do or what may be wrong.

We’ve gotten to the point where we need to stop and think about what to do if an emergency presents itself. Obviously, I’ve been talking about how to beat the heat. But what in the world do we do if someone starts getting overheated? What about a really bad sunburn? What if someone faints or starts having a heat stroke? Do you know what to do?

Extreme sunburn

We all know what sunburn is. It’s when your skin literally burns and turn pink to dark red. We’ve all had some kind of bad sunburn, but what do you do about your burns?

You can try to prevent it in the first place with sunblock. You can find sunblock on Amazon. Bananaboat spf 30 sunblock is normally $10 per bottle, but a lot cheaper on Amazon.

or

You can treat it with a sun burn gel like the Sunburnt after-sun recovery gel found on Amazon. That stuff is awesome. You can check the current prices for sunburn gel on Amazon.

Dehydration/Heat Exhaustion

Dehydration and heat exhaustion go hand in hand, according to Nextcare.com’s health resource on the subject. They state that, “Dehydration, which is a depletion or imbalance of fluids or electrolytes in the body, when coupled with extended exposure to sun or heat, can cause heat exhaustion.” The best way to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion is to drink plenty of water, limit your physical activity, and wear loose fitting clothes.

Symptoms of dehydration/heat exhaustion
Mild:

-Excessive thirst
-Headache
-Muscle cramping
-Dizziness
-Fatigue

Moderate:

-Nausea
-Pale skin
-Profuse sweating or inability to sweat
-Dry mouth and swollen tongue
-Decreased urine output
-Dark yellow or amber colored urine

Severe:

-Fever higher than 103°F
-Fainting
-Confusion
-Lethargy
-Seizures
-Difficulty breathing
-Chest or abdominal pains
-Rapid heartbeat or palpitations

If you start to get any of these symptoms, you need to hydrate your body immediately and try to cool down. If symptoms persist, you need to seek medical treatment.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a very serious condition in which the body temperature is extremely elevated causing hyperthermia. It is often accompanied by dehydration and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Hopefully, you or someone in your disc golf party won’t allow anyone to get this overheated. But if it happens, here are some signs of heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat stroke

-any of the previous dehydration or heat exhaustion symptoms
-confusion
-agitation
-disorientation
-the absence of sweating
-coma.

If someone in your party starts to display these symptoms, they need to get medical assistance immediately or go to the nearest emergency room for medical treatment.

For more information, visit medicinenet.com’s health resource on heat stroke.

Why playing in the heat is really good for you

Even though all of the previous paragraphs discussed heat warnings and information to help you not die on the disc golf course, I’m going to wrap this post up on a positive note. Playing in the heat can be dangerous, but it can actually be really good for you if you play your cards right and prep correctly for the round.

Playing in the heat can be good for you because it can help you get into shape. Even if you only play one round, you will still sweat and lose a pound or two from walking and sweating. One to two rounds per week can really boost your weekly exercise routine and benefit your health. I would encourage you to play a few times per week along with a good exercise routine to build up your disc golf muscles.

Lastly, playing out in the heat can stretch your mental fortitude in a good way. The heat can really take a lot out of you, and it’s definitely a lot harder to think when it’s absolutely sweltering hot outside. Use this opportunity to think harder and strategize your game. If you can conquer the disc golf course in this weather, you will crush it when playing in fairer weather.

If you’re interested in reading more about training and exercising in the heat, you can check out fitness.com’s article, “Is training in the heat good for you?” They have a very good view on this and suggest that exercising in the heat may be more beneficial to you.

What have we learned?

So, up to this point, you should have a pretty good grasp on what it takes to be prepared for some disc golf in scorching hot temperatures. We’ve gone through hydration, and more specifically, the benefits of water. We looked at a few heat hacks, hoping that we may be able to play our rounds and not feel completely fried at the end. You were able to read a little bit about why friends are important to have with you when you play in hot weather. You prepped your bag with a few essentials. Then you read through what to do if an emergency happens. You did all that just to find out that playing disc golf in the heat is actually good for you. I’ll say, good job!

Don’t be afraid of the heat, though, my friends. Yes, it’s hot out there and we all know it. But disc golf is awesome, so don’t let the heat keep you away from the course. Alright, that’s it! Get out there and go throw!

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Red

I am an avid disc golfer and lover of the sport. My mission with DiscgolfNOW.com is to reach as many people as possible to help them love disc golf, too!

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