• Danielle Moran, MS, RD, LMNT, LD

How to Fuel for a Better Golf Game

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

Golf. A game that requires focus, precision, coordination and skill. If there were a way you could be confident in being at the top of your game, that’s something you would want to know more about, isn’t it?

Whether it's an 18-hole walk or 9-hole cart ride, fueling your body properly is critical for peak performance on the golf course! With proper nutrition you will be able to keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady, and what that means to you, is that your focus and coordination will remain steady as well. The real value is better performance for your entire golf game.

At this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “Okay, I get it, but what does proper nutrition look like for me as a golfer?”. Let’s take a closer look.

First, it is important to understand that the specific types and amount of food should be individualized to you. Fueling and hydration strategies will depend on your body, fitness level, performance goals, whether you are walking the course or riding in a cart, how long you will be playing, the temperature, and many other factors. Your fueling plan will look different from the people teeing off with you. If you are striving for peak performance, it is important to work with a Registered Dietitian that understands the demands of your sport to help you develop an individualized fueling strategy.

However, let’s take a look at some general recommendations to get you started!

1. BEFORE Your Round:

Your game day fueling should begin with a well balanced meal before you head to the course. The timing and composition of this meal will look different depending on your tee time. The goal of this meal is to provide your body with fuel in order to maintain steady blood sugar and energy levels, as well as fluids for hydration. It should provide carbohydrate (i.e. fruits, grains, or starchy vegetables) for fuel, a moderate amount of protein to keep you full and satisfied, and water for hydration.

If your pre-game meal is consumed 3-4 hours before your tee-off time, continue to hydrate and eat a carbohydrate-rich snack one to two hours before the start of your round. This snack will help keep your energy levels high as you begin playing.

2. DURING Your Round:

A round of golf can last anywhere between two and six hours. This is why it is important to continue fueling and hydrating while you are out on the course to maintain your energy levels and prevent fatigue. A great goal is to have a well balanced snack about every 4-6 holes. Some great examples of balanced snacks to have out on the course include a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread, trail mix with dried fruit and nuts, granola bars with both carbohydrate and a moderate amount of protein, and fresh fruit. When thinking about snacks to take with you on the golf course, it is important to either bring a cooler or plan snacks that can hold up in the heat. For hydration, while water may be best for most rounds, if it is hot outside or if you will be out on the course for a long period of time, a sports drink with some carbohydrate and electrolytes can be a great choice to help replace fluid lost through sweat.

**Special note about alcohol: Alcohol consumption on the course is common among recreational golfers. However, alcohol can decrease focus, precision, coordination, and skill, which are all important for the game of golf. If peak performance is your goal, you may want to consider limiting or avoiding alcohol before and during your game.

3. AFTER Your Round:

The goal of nutrition after your golf game is to restore your energy levels and help your muscles recover, so that you can feel your best and be ready for your next game or training session. Your post-game meal should be well-balanced with a combination of complex carbohydrate, fruit, vegetables, and protein, along with plenty of fluids for hydration.

These are great general recommendations for your golf nutrition, but it's just a starting point. Your individual needs may change depending on each round of golf, when you tee off, your body, and/or fitness level. To take the next step and maximize your performance on the course, please contact Danielle Moran by emailing her at daniellemoran.rd@gmail.com or visit her website at www.daniellemoranrd.com. Danielle is a Registered Dietitian with an emphasis in sports nutrition. She offers nutrition coaching to help you learn how to use food to maximize your sports performance and reach your goals!

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