PGA ChampionshipJuly 28, 2016

Here's how your brain and body are affected when playing in extreme heat

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- If you're playing golf anywhere in the Northeast this weekend, you're likely braving some extreme heat. It's bad enough even for those just walking around Baltusrol Golf Club at the PGA Championship that the PGA of America sent out a press release instructing everyone where the water is located on the course.

We all know how lethargic just walking around in the heat makes us feel. But what kind of effect does the heat have on the guys actually playing golf?

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SPRINGFIELD, NJ - JULY 28: Smylie Kaufman of the United States prepares to play his shot from the sixth tee during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 28, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Dr. Bradley Borne, the Director of Wellness at Golf and Body in New York City, says how you avoid dehydration can be the biggest determinant for playing well. Not handled correctly, it can affect both your brain and your swing.

“I think it’s important to look at proper hydration on the golf course as having an impact on performance from both a physical and mental perspective,” says Dr. Borne. “One study I read by Loughborough University, showed that a 5 percent drop in water levels can cause 25-30 percent loss in energy and even a slight drop of 3 percent can cause 'fuzzy thinking' and brain fog.”

You know that dazed feeling you get when you’re in the sun too long? That’s your brain telling you to fill that water bottle up. Making decisions like how you want to hit your shot or how a putt breaks can be made tougher when your brain is feeling like a limp noodle.

“Water is a critical component to replenishing the tissues of the body and removing waste products created by exercise, whether that’s walking 18 holes or working out,” says Dr. Borne. “We talk a lot about soft tissue massage and foam rolling to work out sore muscles, but staying hydrated is just as important.”

Especially when you're dealing with a multi-day event, your body needs water to give your muscles a chance to recover and repair before you head out the next day.

PGA Tour players have teams of people looking after them to make sure they’re getting all of the hydration they need. But for average players, it might come down to making tough calls between beer, soda, sports drinks, or water every time the beverage cart comes around.

For your mind and body’s sake, grab a water.


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