The Blog

April 15, 2018

Golf and nutrition. Rick Gillis, PhD


As the weather is turning warmer in the northern latitudes, the golf courses are awakening from a long winter’s nap and competitive golf teams are starting practice in earnest.  Although often overlooked, nutrition plays a key role in the ability to stay both mentally and physically focused. Playing 18 holes can span the duration of 4-5 hours, often in the heat of the day.  Further, most golfers walk an average of 4 miles in a regulation 18-hole course. Like many other athletic competitions, mental focus and clarity are key to successful performance. If your body is not properly fueled with the right nutrition, mental focus can wane and potentially taint the outcome. A competitive edge is always important and where proper nutritional planning can go a long way.  Here are a couple things to consider:

1. Stay Hydrated.  To maintain proper hydration, one should consume half your weight in ounces of water per day.  Although this is a general guideline, as heat and humidity increase, increase your consumption as well.

If you enjoy stashing your favorite sports drink in your golf bag, try to select ones that are not packed with sugar and artificial flavors and colors.  Better yet, mix your own prior to leaving your home and carry in a water bottle.  Much more healthy and saves money too.  Mix on your own alternative


2. It all starts with breakfast.  Start your day with a nutritionally-packed and complete meal.  Use the 40-30-30 rule of carbs-fat-protein for a complete meal.  Although tempting, stay away from high calorie overly sugared cereals and donuts as these burn up too fast and can leave you hungry by the third hole.  Further, stay away from fried foods high in fat like bacon and sausage as these take a long time to break down and can leave you tired.  See this article for other ideas on Meal Replacement.

3. Plan several snacks.  Most meals are digested within 2-3 hours, which may carry you to about hole 3 or 4, depending upon when your tee time is compared to the last time you ate.  Obviously convenience is key.  Trail mix, meal-replacement bars. and carb gels are great options as they are easy to eat while your walking or waiting for your turn to sink that 30 foot putt!  Healthy Carb Gel

4. Caffeine can help.  This may sound surprising, but caffeine in the right doses can help with mental focus, especially as your focus may wane near holes 14 or 15.  With so many caffeine choices available, what’s the best for this type of environment? Choose one that’s convenient, low calorie, and contains no more than 120 mg of caffeine.  Here’s a great suggestion: Healthy Energy Shot