Extreme Golf Test
Who in their right mind would want to play golf in Death Valley during July? How about the kind of guy who thought this picture was in focus rather than realizing his brain was on the wrong side of “medium well done”.
Still, for the second year, I put rational thinking aside and participated in my fundraiser I call The Death Valley Challenge.
A golf marathon is the best way to describe what we did on July 20th of this year, with the goal of raising $4,000 for the very noble Wounded Warrior Project. Our plan was to play 81 holes of golf at the Furnace Creek Ranch Golf Course in the Death Valley National Park. That was the plan anyway, what we didn’t plan for was a heat wave that came in and practically crippled us as we made our way around the course.
In the end we played a total of 75 holes (or at least that’s what my hazy math skills seemed to indicate). While 75 holes may not seem like a lot of golf, I promise you when you throw in Hell-like temperatures (as in capital “H” Hell) and 30mph winds, all of a sudden 75 holes becomes a lot harder than normal.
How exactly do you make it through that much golf in conditions that are truly unbearable? Well it takes some gumption, complete lack of common sense, a bunch of enthusiasm, and the right gear.
With that, here is my “Survival List” of equipment that I relied on to get me through what was hands-down one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
I’ve been a fan of QED Style since I was first introduced to them earlier this year. Since then, QED Style now makes up the majority of my golf apparel. On this day, I wore my Charcoal Alpine Shorts. Oddly it was the water-resistant fabric came in very handy. Yes, it was a desert and no their was nary a drop of rain but there was a frequent need to dump water on my head to stave off my brain meltage. So, dry pants . . . I had that going for me, which is nice.
What is great about the QED gear is that it is designed by a golfer for golfers and therefore it was outstanding in the ridiculous conditions we faced. To play in those kinds of temperatures, being comfortable is a must. I couldn’t have been happier with how well the Alpine shorts performed. Most importantly . . . fellas . . . does the word “chaffege” ring a bell? If so, ditch the cargo shorts and step up to some of the best shorts ever – and no chaffege!
I can’t recommend playing 75 holes of golf in 132° heat, but if you’re going to, you had better have some decent footwear to get you through it. I picked up a pair of the True Linkwear Sensei’s a few months before we headed to Death Valley and my love affair with them has turned them into my everyday shoe. I challenge anyone to find a more comfortable golf shoe that performs perfectly on the course and also in everyday life situations. You won’t find me playing a round in anything but my True Sensei’s. Be it the extreme heat of Death Valley or the cool mountains of Idaho, True’s will be on my feet for years to come!
G FORE GLOVES
G Fore was kind enough to supply us with some gloves as we took on the desert. This was my first time wearing a G Fore glove and let me tell you they impressed. The fit is outstanding and even with an unruly amount of sweat streaming from my pores not once did I have any concerns with my grip. When we finished up I was curious if I’d ever be able to use the glove again and to my surprise it look nearly as good as it did the first time I took it out of the packaging. NOTE: makes sure you order one size larger than your normal size.
Wool socks and 130 degree heat…sounds like a match made in heaven. Actually that is exactly what it is. Despite the fact that I’ve been told by more than one person that I’m absolutely off my rocker for wearing a wool socks out here in the desert during the summer, I know better because I have been a Kentwool fan for over a year and I know they are just flat out the best sock on the market. Beyond the cushion, wool does not get wet when you sweat so your feet actually stay dry and cool. Plus they come in lots of colors so you can be hip like that.
We watched a video before we left where someone in Death Valley successfully boiled an egg with just the outside temperature, a frying pan, and a lid. It was just under 130° that day. The next day and actually for several days following our outing I felt like that egg. My brain was fried. I can’t even imagine what I would have gone through without the help of the GolferAID supplemental drinks. GolferAID was a major sponsor of the Death Valley Challenge and their product is truly amazing. The heat has a profound effect on you mentally and excessive heat can break you down in a way that’s hard to explain. I’m pretty confident that without GolferAID we wouldn’t have been able to make it though the day as well as we did.
Mission Athletecare had no affiliation with the Death Valley Challenge, but in the weeks leading up to the event the records temps in Death Valley had me in a bit of a panic mode. Not sure if the concept behind Mission Athletecare was a gimmick or an actual working solution to keeping cool but given the dire situation I figured it could not hurt to pick up one of their cooling towels. Let me tell you how happy I am that I made that decision. The product is no joke and works even better than the commercials say it does. Even with all the water, GolferAID, and shade, we would have been in some serious trouble without our Mission towels. Plus the bandana’s came in handy for jacking the half-way house for some extra dogs!
I NEED THE BALL
Get used to seeing that name (and feeling odd about explaining why it’s called that). I Need The Ball is a newcomer to the golf ball world and making one hell of a good golf ball. With other balls, you run the risk of being attacked by snakes but with I Need the Ball, they recognize you as one of the good guys and leave you alone. Plus, they are straight up a great performing ball, but the snake thing . . . that’s kinda money too.
I Need the Ball Website
Big thanks to everyone to all the sponsors and contributor of the Death Valley Challenge. You can read more on the event on my website.