A sizzling, soupy day on the course can make heat stroke feel like it’s just a putt away. Believe it or not, that’s when it’s time to trade in your sleeveless polos and wrap your guns up in arm stockings.
Yup, you read that right: Long sleeves for hot weather.
Maybe you’re working on your summer tan, but wouldn’t you rather preserve your energy for the full round and, by the way, stave off skin cancer? There’s a reason several tour golfers don full-length sleeveage as they stalk the greens. With golfers so susceptible to sun damage, the wonder is that more women don’t cover up before teeing off.
Before you get all, “But, GottaGoGolf, long-sleeve shirts are so uncomfortable and, you know, unhip,” check out some of the protective attire from companies including Nike, Iconic Sport, SanSoleil, SunGrubbies and Coolibar.
Nike was one of the first companies to market arm warmers, wrist-to-biceps sleeves that found favor with runners but also make sense as a golf bag staple for those days when the weather transforms over the course of four hours from short-sleeve suitable to bundle-up time. Now the company also offers the lightweight SolarSleeve, made of its moisture-wicking Dri-FIT fabric, available for around $25 per pair.
Iconic, a sponsor of the nonprofit Sun SafeTee program, lists seven-time LPGA winner Michelle McGann and golf guru David Leadbetter among its endorsers. Leadbetter lost his father to skin cancer and often wears Iconic sun sleeves. Its unisex Sun Sleeves also go for around $25 and feature 50+ UV protection.
SanSoleil, marketing Sun Care You Can Wear, makes soft, colorful Egyptian cotton shirts that screen 98 percent of the sun’s rays. Designed specifically for golf and tennis, the shirts sport mesh inserts to enhance cooling.
SunGrubbies also makes shirts with sunscreening properties that eliminate the need to glop up with sunblock, and Coolibar offers long-sleeve polos made from its patented, breathable Suntect fabric, as well as a short-sleeve model that comes with optional sleeves.
While Sun SafeTee founder Mark Wishner estimates that most summer shirts provide less protection than sunscreen with SPF 8, SunGrubbies and Coolibar, among other retailers, offer stylish, golf-appropriate duds that measure 50.
And if it’s still hard to wrap your arms around the idea of covering up from fingertips to shoulder, keep in mind that all of these products are made of fabrics that wick away perspiration, a process that, trust us, actually keeps you cooler than short sleeves.
Finally, if preventing skin cancer and wrinkles isn’t enough to persuade you to cover your arms, how about this: It might help your score. Anecdotal evidence suggests golfers who wear such protection experience less arm fatigue than those who don’t.
This article first appeared in the July 2011 edition of GottaGoGolf Magazine.