PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — It is a solution to a problem that is so obvious that you wonder why no one thought of it before.
If it is physically demanding and perhaps even dangerous for high school girls golfers to play at 3 p.m. in desert temperatures nearing 110 degrees in August and September, why not have the girls play in the morning?
“I really think it is a great idea,” said Rob Hanmer, in his fourth year as girls golf coach at Rancho Mirage High School.
The Rattlers have played two home matches this season starting at 9 a.m. at Mission Hills North, just across Ramon Road from the high school. But the idea of morning matches is growing, with Shadow Hills High School scheduling two matches this season at 8:30 a.m. at Bermuda Dunes Country Club.
With girls golf a fall sport in California high schools, and with the start of school and athletics edging earlier and earlier in August, golf matches played in August afternoons face temperatures well over 100 degrees. CIF-Southern Section rules require players to walk the golf course, and on particularly hot days that can cause serious problems.
“I wish we had been doing it the whole time,” said Shadow Hills head coach Nick Anziano, whose team played a morning match last week against the Rattlers. “Years ago, I brought it up to a handful of coaches, and at the time I was still just trying to learn the ropes. It seems like a no-brainer.
“I’ve had girls throw up. It’s not uncommon, really,” Anziano said. “Every season I have had some kind of heat-related illness strike somebody.”
Courses tough to find in the fall
Like the seemingly obvious answer to other problems, Hanmer’s scheduling of morning matches for his team actually came from another issue: course availability. Hanmer discovered last fall at the Desert Empire League boys golf finals that his girls team wouldn’t have access to Mission Hills Country Club in August or October of this season.
“So I started scrambling. Mission Hills North has been unbelievable for us, but they close at noon (in August),” Hanmer said. “My athletic director was standing there, and I said we’re going to have to play some matches at Mission Hills North in August. Can we play at 9 in the morning?”
In the summer months, most public…