3 Nutrition Tips That Could Help Your Golf Game
Whether enjoying an 18-hole game or a 72-hole tournament, golf is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. For my father, it is the perfect mix of physical activity, mental challenge, and social interaction and he looks forward to league play a couple evenings each week. Holiday weekends provide a great opportunity to fit in an extra round or two with family or friends.
Proper nutrition is important for everyone, but for golfers looking to shave a few strokes off their scores this is especially true. These tips can help you facilitate a game day nutrition and hydration plan to maintain energy and mental acuity that may help you improve your game.
- Be sure you eat before you play. If you are playing first thing in the morning you may be tempted to skip breakfast; start a game later in the day and you may play through dinner. A nutrient rich and well-balanced meal will provide a slow, steady release of energy while you play. It is best to eat several hours before play so you are well fueled, but not too full or uncomfortable. A meal that includes complex carbohydrates with protein and/or healthy fat provides a healthy balance that will be digested slowly and limit the risk of rapidly dropping your blood sugar, which could leave you tired and lethargic shortly after your game has started.
- Eat smaller, more frequent snacks during play. The goal is to maintain a balanced glucose and energy level throughout the game by snacking on nutrient-rich food every couple of hours. Plan ahead before heading to the links and pack your golf bag with three portable snacks such as trail mix, half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, frozen berries or grapes (for a cold treat) or other fresh fruit. Shortly after your game starts, you may notice your energy fading because it has been several hours since you ate. The third or fourth tee is a great time to enjoy the fresh fruit or trail mix you brought to keep up your energy and blood sugar levels. In another couple of hours, at around tee eleven or twelve, you will likely be ready for the sandwich you packed as well. Take a few moments to eat your last snack at the sixteenth hole to be certain you are at your best for the end of your game.
- Hydration is a very important key to success. It is understandable that some golfers limit their fluid intake while on the links so they won't have to leave the course to visit the restroom. However, dehydration can sneak up very quickly especially on a hot, sunny day and leave you unable to play your best. Take a reusable water bottle with you to the course and be sure to drink and refill it every four to five holes. Even if you tend to sweat a great deal, the fruit you brought will replenish potassium and the salted nuts in the trail mix will replace sodium to maintain your electrolyte balance. Be cautious of drinks containing caffeine or alcohol since both would encourage fluid loss and add to risks of dehydration.
Is a nutrition and hydration plan part of your golfing routine? Do you think a strategy like this could improve your game by a few strokes?
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