Golf Nutrition On and Off The Course

golf nutrition

Golf nutrition is having an increasing influence on the modern player’s performance. For competitive players, it can mean the difference between finishing strong or fading in the closing holes. Across the internet, you can find plans as specific as what to eat on each hole in order to maximize your performance. For the vast majority of us, simply out there to have a good time with friends, these plans are not necessarily applicable. We take a look at this second type of golf nutrition, for we weekend warriors. I’ll focus on the types of food to eat and when it’s best to eat them to help you maintain the level of play for the entire round.

Golf Nutrition: On and Off the Course

Water, Water, Water

drink plenty of water

Without a doubt, the most overlooked thing in a golfer’s diet before, during, and after a round is the simplest thing in the world, H2O.  Being outside over a long period, often in the heat and sun, dehydration is a major factor that can affect your performance. Make sure to drink water in the hours leading up to the start of your round in order to start out properly hydrated.

Once on the course, you want to maintain that hydration throughout the round so that focus and performance do not slip at any point. Keep a water bottle with you and take sips before and after each shot throughout the round.  You don’t have to chug bottles at one time but if you maintain a steady intake throughout the round, you’ll keep hydration consistent.

If you are enjoying alcoholic beverages during the round, make sure to up your water intake due to the dehydration characteristics of alcohol.

Before you play

Eating a good meal prepares your body for physical activity. It’s like starting a road trip with a full tank of gas. What should that meal be, though?

healthy breakfast

A couple of hours prior to playing, eat a meal with a good amount of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. For example, eggs or meat as the protein source and fruits/vegetables as the complex carbohydrates. These foods provide a good energy reserve that lasts. The dreaded sugar rush and associated crash often caused by some energy bars or candy should be avoided.

In Between the Ropes

fruit and nut snack

During your round, the goal is to maintain that energy level.  Fruits and nuts are the ideal snacks to consume during your round. The extended time to digest these foods helps maintain a steady level of energy. While that hot dog or hamburger at the turn sounds like a wonderful idea, keep in mind that the difficulty in digestion can cause issues on the back nine.

For the last few holes, if you are starting to feel a little sluggish, a low sugar sports drink or candy bar (in a pinch) can give you that quick boost to get you to the end of your round. Just keep in mind that the dreaded sugar crash is coming if you’re out there too long. The sugar crash often leads to a loss of focus and concentration at the most crucial point in your round.

After You Turn Your Card In

After your round, a meal similar to your pre-round meal promotes recovery for your body. You’ll be ready for the rest of your day and have a head start on your nutrition for the next day.

Remember These Things For Better Golf Nutrition

For good golf nutrition on and off the course, remember these things:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the round
  • A pre-round meal of protein, healthy fats, and carbs will fill your body’s gas tank
  • Keep your energy up during the round with fruits and nuts
  • After your round’s done, refuel with a similar meal to your pre-round meal

Following these basic golf nutrition rules goes a long way to providing more consistent performance and better scores.

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Rudi Fann

Rudi Fann has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2008. He began his career in 1998 as the Assistant Golf Professional at Wake Forest Golf Club in Wake Forest, NC. In 2002, Rudi accepted a similar position at Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. He spent a year there before moving to Nipomo, CA where he worked at Blacklake Golf Resort. Over the next 10 years, he worked his way from Assistant Golf Professional to Head Golf Professional and finally Director of Golf Operations. In his time at Blacklake, Rudi devoted much of his time to running tournaments and other activities in order to create a social atmosphere at the club. After Blacklake, Rudi spent one year as Head Golf Professional at Paso Robles Golf Club before deciding to return home to North Carolina. Since returning to North Carolina, Rudi has worked with the First Tee of the Triangle helping to instill life skills and core values through the game of golf to local youth.