How to Beat Allergies on the Golf Course



Allergies to the grass on the course can be more challenging than the sand traps and water hazards you may face. Whether it’s tree and grass pollen in the spring and summer or weed pollen in the fall, pollen can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes for those with allergies. Avoid adding strokes to your score by reducing the symptoms you experience on the green. Here are six tips to help stop allergies from ruining your game.

1. Golf in the afternoon, when pollen counts are lower.
Sunny, breezy days may seem like great weather for a round of golf, but these weather conditions can also cause high pollen counts on the course. Scheduling a tee time later in the day can help since pollen levels are often higher in the early morning hours.

2. Wear sunglasses to keep pollen from getting in your eyes.
Want to put a shield between you and the pollen in the air? You can by wearing sunglasses! While this will not prevent you from inhaling pollen, it can keep it out of your eyes. Even wearing them on cloudy days can help cut down on your pollen exposure.

3. Wipe down your clubs between shots.

Pollen can build up on your equipment as you navigate across the green. Use a damp towel to wipe your clubs between shots to limit the spread of pollen on equipment. Plus, in addition to pollen, you’ll be cleaning off any dirt or grass that can impact your game. You can also clean off your golf balls between holes or, whenever rules allow it, to reduce your contact with pollen.

4. Put your gear in a zipped bag and wash your clothes as soon as you get home.

Pollen is a powdery substance that is small enough to require magnification. Even if you don’t see it, pollen can stick to your clothes, especially if you end up looking for your ball in high grass. When you get home, be sure to put your clothes straight into the wash to avoid leaving pollen around your house.

5. Shower after your round.
Be sure to shower or rinse off after your round as well. This will remove any excess pollen left on your hair and body; otherwise, it could transfer to your favorite chair or bedding.

6. Visit your doctor before symptoms start.
If you want to make visiting the green easier on you, consider starting immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. This is the only way to permanently reduce your allergy symptoms and suffering. If you are looking for more immediate results, consider over-the-counter or prescription nasal-inhaled steroids or allergy medication.

Schedule with one of our board-certified allergists to discuss the best approach to managing your allergies. We’ll start with a skin allergy test to determine your specific allergy triggers, and you’ll leave your first appointment knowing which allergens to avoid while out on the course.