Nutrition for Golfers

By Melissa Hansen 

Ask any golfer about their golf clubs, balls, or attire, and chances are you will have a spirited conversation. But there is an even more crucial necessity for improving your golf game and lowering your handicap: food. Yes, proper nutrition can affect your performance on the course. Here are some simple nutrition tips to improve your eating habits (before, during, and after your game) to maximize energy and avoid injury:

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is the best way to hydrate, but there are plenty of flavored sports drinks with electrolytes that will do the trick. These beverages not only quench your thirst but also prevent headaches and muscle cramping.

Fluid intake amounts vary depending on the climate where you are playing. Here in Naples, Florida, the beautifully warm weather coupled with exertion contributes to excessive sweating, which of course, leads to dehydration. Generally, try to drink two cups of water before your tee time and about six cups during the round. Add a good reusable bottle to your golf bag to keep your water deliciously cold. Vacuum-insulated stainless steel or plastic Nalgene bottles are best.

Eat Breakfast

Coffee lovers will be glad to learn that nutritionists approve of one pre-round cup of coffee, as long as you substitute low-fat or skim milk for cream. The caffeine intake will boost your alertness and concentration.

Your mother may have told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and she was right. A nutrient-rich breakfast consisting of lean protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats is the best way to get ready for your day on the links. For example, omelets or scrambled eggs with vegetables, whole grain bread, reduced-fat Greek yogurt, avocado, fruit, and nuts are all excellent choices before playing golf. Sorry, no sugary donuts or greasy meats allowed.

Pack a Snack

A typical golf round is approximately four hours, so plan ahead. Pack a banana, dried fruit, nuts, or even half a sandwich with peanut butter, almond, or hazelnut spread. Avoid chips and candy, as they contribute to bloating, lethargy, and weight gain. Extra pounds will slow you down.

An excellent, packable snack for your golf outing is no-bake energy balls. You can find a variety of easy recipes online. Many snack balls have an oatmeal base with honey as a sweetener and options for mix-ins, such as seeds, dried raisins, or cranberries. These nutritious treats stay well in the refrigerator and can be frozen for months.

Post-Round Meals

Healthy eating is essential after your golf game too. The proper diet will replenish your energy reserves and help your muscles recover. Although it may be tempting to drink an icy cold beer after a round, it is not a good idea; the drink actually promotes dehydration.

The general principles of good nutrition apply to post-game lunches and dinners. Plan your menu with foods with high protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. For example, grilled chicken, salmon, turkey burgers, salad, steamed or roasted vegetables, and sweet potatoes are delicious options. Avoid sodium-laden, processed, and fried foods.

Do you want to continue socializing after your golf game? Don't feel like cooking? Visit the clubhouse at Olde Cypress and enjoy one of our restaurants for a thirst-quenching beverage, snack, light bite, or full meal. Our superb chef expertly prepares delicious, healthful meals with the finest fresh ingredients.

It is easy to give yourself a competitive edge in golf: play regularly, hydrate, and eat nutritiously. This regimen has added benefits; it will help control your weight and boost your fitness level, energy, concentration, and heart health. Bon Appetit!