Golf Nutrition

Have you ever wondered why you lose your concentration in the middle or towards the end of your round of golf?  Before you know it, you have made back to back double bogeys to ruin a great round.  Focus on finishing stronger to reach your potential.  Achieve a better finish by keeping your body properly fueled before and during your round. 

An average round of golf can last between four and five hours.  In any prolonged exercise environment, the consumption of the proper foods and water will greatly increase athletic performance.  Eat a well balanced meal with plenty of carbohydrates three to four hours before your round.  Adding proteins to your meal will help you from feeling hungry later in your round.  Consume a small snack or piece of fruit (around 100 calories) at some point during the final hour before you start.

Continue to fuel your body throughout your round.  Every few holes eat a snack, such as a granola bar, crackers, nuts, raisins or piece of fruit (just to name a few examples).  Consume a snack at a minimum of every two hours to maintain high energy levels.  If your blood sugar levels drop you will experience fatigue and decreased performance. 

Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your round.  Especially in extreme heat, your performance will suffer significantly if you become dehydrated.  It is not uncommon to lose over 2 pounds of water weight by sweating throughout the round.  Water and sport drinks are an ideal nutritional source.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol.  Both cause a loss of fluids and negatively affect performance.  Caffeine can over stimulate your mind and muscles, leading to uncontrolled performance.  Alcohol consumption can severely affect your coordination. 

Continue to fuel your body properly after your round.  Drink plenty of water to replenish any fluids you lost throughout your round.  Prepare for the next round properly. The cycle continues after your round.  The key to optimal performance is replenish and maintain high energy levels before, during and after your athletic performance.

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    • Eva Yoe
    • kim on August 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm
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    Finally an article on golf nutrition! It’s about time we pay more attention on that. I mean most people who doesn’t golf will only think of beer and junk food when you talked about golf. cuz that’s most GOLF carts/ courses sell on course is JUNK! Thank god people are now paying more attention on NOW TO EAT and thank YOU for stressing the issue.

    • Eva Yoe
    • melissa on August 25, 2011 at 8:07 pm
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    Golfing in So Cal, you got to pay attention to water consumption. I was golfing today * on carts* I finished 3 liters bottle of water all by myself. It was so hot I was literally melting on the course. I’ve always prefer drinking 1 bottle of water as well as sports drinks on course. A few banana and energy bars wouldn’t hurt! 🙂
    Also, try to look up for HOMEMADE Energy bars receipts you will save a tons of money in making it yourself plus it’s healthier!

    • Eva Yoe
    • kayla on October 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm
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    Homemade energy bars? sounds fun and delicious. I never really been a real heavy snacker when i’m out golfing with my friends. My favorite energy bar would be cliff bars. The minty chocolate one is my absolutely favorite. As far as for sport drinks, i used to love gatorade,especially the fruit punch flavor. But now,i like this japanese brand sport drink better. I dont remember the name of the brand but it has like blue and silver wrapping paper label on their bottles. I found the japanese less sugary and more refreshing.

    • Eva Yoe
    • julie on October 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm
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    Thanks for the tips! When it comes to snack, i like to bring a few bananas with me whenever i go golfing or just doing regular workouts at the gym. I’m not a big fan of sport energy bars. They are just so hard to chew and very gummy. I also not a fan of nuts. I dont know why but i just never like them. Water,water,water. Definitely a must have. Since im trying to cut down sugar intake, i have stopped drinking any type of sport drinks. Sometimes, i just think it’s better to have water than just sport drinks.

    • Ledley King on March 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    • Reply

    Keller, enjoy the writeup!
    Just for fun:
    The theses in the book ‘Willpower’ by New York times authors Roy Baumeister and John Tierne is that blood sugar levels equals focus, concentration, and will power. I think you hit it right on the head with “If your sugar levels drop you will experience fatigue and decreased performance” (75% of all absorbed food is preserved simply to maintain nervous system sodium potassium gradients to function!”) – Anywho, the best route for nutrition is probably a complex carbohydrate that will take time to absorb before play (complex because there are more double bonds, meaning it takes longer to break down and absorb, and is thus released in the blood stream less immediately). As you go throughout the match, the goal should be to drink water as needed and to maintain stress, while also consuming a meal sometime during play (again, perhaps complex carb or simple carb) to keep those blood sugar levels up.
    The number one fuel – surprise surprise, given studies with mammals and humans – is the apple. The sugar – ‘fructose’ – is readily absorbed (also try orange juice, apple juice, any juice really – and you’ll notice your focus levels going up -the raisens, nuts, krackers, granola bar recommendation is good too)

    A note on caffeine: its been shown to interact with types of channels inside cells related to memory, and facilitates long term memory storage and also increased alertness. I would suggest (it depends on the person) if you are tired, perhaps some to wake you before you play, and if you are feeling tired toward the end, to go for it. You might find your focus increases (even though you are more tired) towards the end, once the caffeine gets in there and disrupts sleep-deprived accumulated affects.

    One last tid bit, everyone is different. Some people perform better after taking a break, and thrive (perhaps a mental break after hole 12?) while others might just do well just keeping the momentum going and continuing play.

    Even though golf involves motion, you can think of it as part of your brain playing ‘a chess match’ or taking a foreign language or mathematics exam – you are making executive decisions and relying on aspects of unconscious motor routines (the swing itself) to be carried out once the executive decision is made. When you think of it like that – (a test for 4 hours, especially in math) – you realize it is quite inane not to take breaks, or to stop and refuel, reenergize.

    To success, golf, and focus!

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