As golfers, we’re always trying to improve and find an edge; something that leads to shaving a stroke here or a stroke there. So we work on our various tools of the trade; our swing technique, our course management strategy, our flexibility, and of course, our golf equipment. But, how about nutrition? Since golf is not a running sport, it’s easy to underestimate the demands it places on your body.
Golf takes a lot longer to play than just about any other sport. Even marathon runners are on their third celebratory beer by the time we’re done with 18 holes.
Golf has not only the physical demands of walking and swinging, but also thinking. Even though the brain weighs roughly 2% of your body weight, it uses about 25% of the body’s glycogen supply. So without fuel, you are weaker, less coordinated, and you don’t think as well as the game requires.
Ever notice the frequency of late round blow-up holes? Now, to be fair, those could come from the notorious thought process of, “All I have to do is par the last three holes and I’ll have my lowest round ever!” But chances are your late round blow-up has a lot to do with your muscles and brain running on empty.
The goal is to keep your blood sugar level as steady as possible. You’ll want to eat quality food/fuel every 2 hours. So, you’ll want to eat at the beginning of each round; either on the way to the course or no later than the second or third hole. Make a commitment to eat something of substance every 4 to 5 holes after that.
What to eat? Think quality not quantity. What you need to do is power-snack. Heavy, fatty, or extremely sugary snacks are not good. Stick with fruit, nuts (almonds are my favorite), nutrition bars and lots of water; dehydration is also a very important concern, especially in warmer weather. Drink at least four 16 oz. bottles of water per round. More if you’re sweating.
Now you’re eating like golf is the physically demanding sport that it is.
Last word: Don’t forget that golf is a mental game to a very high degree. So keep your brain fueled with good nutrition and don’t ever, EVER think “All I have to do on these last three holes is…”