Teeing off? Think of safety first!

With the sun beaming down during the summer months and the smell of freshly-cut grass in the air, the conditions are as perfect as possible to head out on the golf links and shoot 18 holes.

Unlike most sports, golf doesn’t seem to inherently hold much risk. But don’t be fooled by the sport’s easygoing nature: there are still plenty of ways you can get hurt on the green. Take note of these simple tips to help make sure your golf game goes as smoothly and safely as possible.

  • Stretch before starting your game. Flexibility exercises are a great way to loosen up. Even a few minutes of making yourself limber will drastically reduce your chances of pulling or straining a muscle.
  • Heatstroke and sunburns can affect anyone, even veteran golfers. Be sure to wear a hat with a brim, drink plenty of water throughout the day, and use sunblock. Don’t be fooled by the clouds above – you can still get a sunburn on an overcast day.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun. Wear UVA/UVB protective sunglasses.
  • Teeing off early in the day means you will likely finish before the sun hits its peak intensity by mid-afternoon. Start early and spend the afternoon relaxing in the shade.
  • If you see a storm coming, leave the golf course immediately and seek shelter indoors. Golf clubs (the metal kind) act like lightning rods and make a player on a treeless stretch of the course an easy target.
  • Yelling “fore” after hitting the ball doesn’t absolve you of blame if you hit someone. Make sure the course ahead is clear before you take your swing.
  • Check that everyone in your group is standing behind the person hitting the ball. If the ball takes an unexpected hook or slice, everyone in the ball’s immediate vicinity will be safely behind it.
  • If you are on the course either as a player or a spectator and you hear a warning shout, cover your head with your arms and bend down. You’re not likely going to be able to see the ball and get out of the way in time, so this way if the ball does hit you, it’ll hit your back instead of your head.
  • Treat golf carts the same way you would treat a car. Watch for pedestrians; don’t drive too fast; signal your turns; don’t drive too close to ponds and other water bodies; and don’t drink and drive. Also, don’t park on a hill where the cart could topple over.

When played safely and responsibly, golf can be a great way to have fun, get a bit of exercise, and share some quality time with friends outdoors. Put the odds on your side this summer – play it safe so that sand traps are the only hazards you’ll have to contend with on the golf course this summer.