Summer in the Deep South is something that has to be experienced to believe. Backyard thermometers are into triple digits with the humidity almost as alarming and it’s only mid-July. Summer’s the time when our state bird, the mosquito, reaches maturity and, like a vampire on a moonlit night, attempts to drain the blood from everything in its path. Some call it the Dixie Hat Trick, but most sweaty folks refer to it as “the dog days of summer.” As we move into the last heat bearing days of August and September, tropical depressions become more common than fleas on an old hound dog adding to the misery and hurricanes threaten what’s left of our sanity.
You have to be tough to brave the summer is this neck of the woods, but golfers aren’t quitters. They play in the heat, the wind, torrential rain storms, and even our once-every-ten-year snow storms. Nothing quells their thirst for just one more hole before darkness takes over, but there are limits to even the most dedicated players. So I came up with a few of my favorite golf diversions that don’t involve heat, humidity, mosquitoes, or thunder showers.
There’s nothing like a good golf movie on a sweltering day. Sit back and relax with of our top picks: 1) “The Greatest Game Ever Played”, a true story about Francis Ouimet and his rise to fame. 2) “Golf Specialist”, a short film with funnyman W.C. Fields. 3) “Seve: The Movie”, the life and legend of Seve Ballesteros. 4) “Tommy’s Honour”, a moving story of Young Tom Morris, a pioneer of the game of golf. 5) “Swing Away”, an American LPGA Pro returns to her ancestral home in Greece and meets new challenges.
Here’s a bonus pick and one of my new favorites: “Seven Days in Utopia”, 2011, a sleeper pick, stars Alabama’s own Lucas Black (CSI New Orleans) and Robert Duvall in a moving golf story about life.
Reading is another way to enjoy a rainy day. You might read to learn or just enjoy a good yarn. Here are a few top books: 1) Harvey Penick’s “Little Red Book” is full of golf nuggets and wisdom. 2) Ben Hogan’s “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf”, learn to master the game. 3) “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect” by Dr. Bob Rotella, gain a new mental perspective. 4) “The Short Game Bible” by Dave Pelz, advanced reading for golfers. 5) “The Big Miss” by Hank Haney, Haney talks about his personal dealings with Tiger Woods.
Even though you can learn to do anything online these days (my favorite is YouTube), a good video game is still hard to beat. Here are a few top golf choices: 1) “Tiger Woods PGA Tour”, #1 best selling game worldwide. 2) “Hot Shots Golf 3”, cartoonish, but well received by gamers and critics alike. 3) “The Golf Club” (2014, 2017), lets you create your own golf courses and share worldwide. 4) “Links 2003”, simply put, it rocks! 5) “John Daly’s Pro Stroke Golf”, offers creative and innovative game play.
If all these diversions wear thin and the sun is threatening to show up, here are a few tips to keep in mind. Relax and take the pace down a notch. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes and include a big floppy hat. Slap on plenty of sunscreen and bug-repellent. If possible, park in the shade between shots. Don’t overdo yourself and save the adult beverages until the 19th hole. Alcohol may taste good, but it causes you to dehydrate. Drink lots of water or a good sports drink. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty, drink something constantly. By the time your body signals that you need a drink, you are probably past due.
Summer golf can be fun and rewarding, but you have to take precautions. Another dangerous summer problem is lightning. It’s a daily occurrence around here and many people get so used to it that they ignore safety measures. Most courses sound a horn to alert players to come in until the weather blows over, but there are always a few die-hards that linger or try to play just one more hole on the way to the clubhouse. Don’t do it! Get off the course! Relax in the clubhouse until it blows over, or go home and read a book, watch a movie, or play your favorite video game. You’ll thank me later.
Summer in the South is a unique time. Enjoy all it has to offer, but be sure to stay safe and come back often.