Golf nutrition could be the edge you need to reach peak performance. In a game where inches matter, golfers are always looking for any slight advantage they can find. Here, we’ll discuss how fitness and nutrition can improve your game. And we’ll explain how a sports nutritionist can help you choose the right foods.
The Physical Demands of Golf
On the surface, golf doesn’t appear to be a physically demanding sport. There’s no clashing of shoulder pads or sprinting. Golf isn’t an Ironman triathlon or a UFC fight. But these other sports don’t demand the level of focus and concentration necessary to knock a tiny ball into a hole that’s hundreds of yards away.
The average length of a golf course is about four miles. That’s especially tough for the PGA Tour players, as they average 78 tournament rounds per year. That comes to 312 miles of walking—which doesn’t count the practice rounds.
To top it off, tournaments occur in the warmer months and usually during the hottest parts of the day. Proper nutrition is key to maintaining focus through these conditions.
What Golf Nutrition Can Do for You
Different nutritional techniques are necessary depending on your goals. And to reach peak performance in golf, you’ll have to meet several objectives that are unique to the sport.
For example, golf requires the use of one side of the body more than the other. This can lead to asymmetrical muscle development. Physical training is necessary to reduce the chance of injury from repetitive twisting motions.
As with any physical training routine, the right nutrition is necessary for optimal results. But you also need the right foods to fuel you through tournament rounds. Improper nutrition and dehydration can affect your game more than you realize. Did you know that even mild dehydration can make you 93% less accurate and shorten your drives by 12%?
Your certified nutritionist will help you make eating and drinking choices while training and also while playing rounds.
Sport Fitness for Peak Performance
As with most sports, your physical training routine should focus on the following:
- Building strength
- Maintaining the ideal weight
- Cardiovascular health
With golf, you need muscle mass to power long drives. If you’re a professional, you’ll need endurance training to withstand the grind of playing several times a week during the hottest times of the day.
Perhaps the most important goal of golf fitness is maintaining a healthy weight along with optimal flexibility. Golf swings require unnatural body twisting. Repeating these motions hundreds of times per day will lead to injuries if you are inflexible and/or have a weak midsection.
For most golfers, injuries mean not being able to enjoy the game they love. For professional golfers, injuries mean lost income. You can’t win tournaments where you don’t play because you’re injured. And if you play but are not at 100% because of an injury, you’ll have a lower chance of winning.
Exercises take away from other important parts of the game, like actual golf practice. You don’t want to waste your exercise time with sub-optimal results. That’s why getting the right nutrition is so critical.
Nutrition to Support Fitness
The first step to proper nutrition is to know what the right foods are. Perhaps the best starting point is eliminating the foods that harm you. Highly processed foods, especially those with added sugars, are best avoided. These are often the foods that are most convenient.
Some of the worst foods for your game are candy bars (including many energy bars), donuts, and other sweets. These are called junk foods for a reason. Instead of nutritional support, they provide a quick burst of energy based on sugar consumption. They’re more of a drug than a food. If you consume these foods before a round of golf, you may experience a sugar crash on the back nine.
Eating these junk foods regularly will add body fat. And you can exercise all you want, but you won’t achieve the best results if you consume junk food.
Consider these options when choosing meals:
- Nutrient-dense foods that are often called superfoods
- Foods that maintain a healthy blood sugar level to avoid sugar crashes
- The super fats
The super fats are foods with high levels of essential fats—especially omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the best super fat foods are wild-caught SMASH fish. SMASH is an acronym for salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring. These smaller cold-water fish have far less mercury than larger fish like tuna.
It’s important to avoid the farm-raised versions of fish, as they’re more likely to contain high chemical concentrations because of their being contained in a relatively small area. Other options for super fats include nuts, olives, olive oil, and avocados.
Golf Nutrition During Tournament Season
Now that we’ve covered your fitness nutrition, let’s turn to your playing nutrition. Pre-tournament meals and snacks on the course are crucial for optimal performance. One of the most important snacks everyone needs while playing golf is water. As mentioned above, even mild dehydration can have a huge effect on your game.
Blood sugar management is more important during a round of golf than when exercising. That’s because a sugar crash will severely affect your ability to concentrate. Without proper focus, golf balls will land in the worst places. Your sports nutritionist will help you pick the right foods to eat just before a round as well as the right snacks while playing.
Your brain consumes more calories than any other part of your body. Golf requires a higher level of concentration than most physical sports. If you don’t have the right foods fueling your brain, you’ll probably spend the day in the rough. For a casual golfer, that’s not an enjoyable place to be. For a professional golfer, that means lost money.
Whatever your goals with golf, the best nutritionists near you is a big step in the right direction and can help golfers reach their best game. The improvement in your game will amaze you, but you’ll also enjoy how much better you feel.
If you want to enhance your golf performance even further, consider setting up an indoor putting green at home. Practicing with the right nutrition and on your own putting mat can take your game to new heights, ensuring you're always at your best on the greens.