Keeping cool on the green, staff at Elbel Park Golf Course working to keep golfers safe in extreme heat

NOW: Keeping cool on the green, staff at Elbel Park Golf Course working to keep golfers safe in extreme heat


It’s officially summer and with that brings an increase in outdoor activities for many, including golf. Golfing is a time-consuming activity; 18 holes typically lasts about four hours, so it’s important to keep your cool while out on the green.

According to sports scientists at Sanford Health, golfers can help prevent heat-related illnesses out on the course by getting early tee times, minimizing their intensity, seeking shade when possible, wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, staying hydrated and using a golf cart. The staff at Elbel Park works to make sure the staff and players stay hydrated, cool and protected by offering sunscreen, water and clean golf carts—all especially important on hot days, which does not slow down business says manager, Gary Hegland.

“So, we stay hydrated and take a lot of breaks, and of course make sure all of our players are staying hydrated and it went really well,” said Hegland. “It’s amazing a lot of people love the heat. But, you know floppy hats, lotion, and a lot of water golf time.”

Golfers spending long hours on the course are at higher risk for heat illnesses and should always play with precaution.

It’s one thing to play out in the heat but working is another story. I rode alongside a player assistant at Elbel Park Golf Course in South Bend to see the work that goes into making golfers comfortable.

A sunny day like today is perfect golfing weather even if temperatures are nearing triple digits, people are still out working on their long drive. And it’s important for those that are out to feel comfortable in this heat.

“I just want to make sure that everybody goes out and has a good time and doesn’t have to worry about anything.”

Patrick Smith is a player’s assistant at Elbel Park. In addition to cleaning carts and clearing the driving range, he ensures that guests are comfortable in these hot temperatures, cooling them off with some water.

Smith doesn’t mind the heat as long as there’s a nice breeze. A former teacher—he enjoys helping others, making his favorite days any day he can make people feel better.

“Really any day that I can help people have a good time. Any day I can be of service to someone, make things better,” said Smith. “I am a ‘get outside’ kind of guy, and this is one way that people especially after a long career, they want to spend their time being outside. But maybe they don't have the ability to go hiking for 10 hours a day, they just want to go on golf for 3 to 4 hours and it's a good opportunity for them. I just like to be able to help them to do that."

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