By Eric Shriver
I’ve played golf all my life – as a junior, a college athlete and a professional. I love competing against other golfers surrounded by the beauty of tree-lined fairways and smooth greens.
I even love the smells of golf – with one big caveat: Pollen from grass, trees and weeds makes my eyes water and causes sneezing fits. Yep, I’m allergic to my “workplace” – the golf course.
My allergies flare up mostly during the spring and summer months. My reactions are sometimes severe, impacting my concentration during golf tournaments and sapping me of energy when I need it most.
Every year I meet with a board-certified allergist to discuss the best approach for managing and treating my seasonal allergies – on and off the golf course. I take allergy medication during spring and summer to minimize symptoms.
I also adopted some common-sense strategies to help keep allergies from impacting my golf game:
- Schedule tee times for mid-day or late afternoon hours if possible. That’s when pollen counts are typically not as high.
- Check the weather and pollen forecast on TV news and websites at least a day in advance of your golf outing. If it’s windy, that means there’s a greater chance of airborne pollen – you may want to reschedule. A good site for pollen forecasts is pollen.com.
- Wear sunglasses, even if it’s cloudy – it’ll help block pollen from your eyes, especially on windy days, and keep you from rubbing your eyes, too.
- Keep a wet towel or washcloth in your golf bag or on your golf cart and periodically wipe your hands and face.
- Pack allergy medications, such as a nasal spray or eye drops, in your golf bag.
- Take a shower after your round of golf. It’ll reduce the risk of tracking pollen throughout your home – and you’ll feel better, too. It’s also a good idea to wash your clothes soon after your round of golf.
Eric Shriver is a former professional golfer. He competed in two U.S. Amateurs, two NCAA National Championships and played on the PGA Tour.