We interrupt our regularly scheduled 19th Hole wine tasting to bring you fuel for your game. Do you know how to eat to maximize your fitness for all 19 holes? Cheryl Stotler and GottaGoGolf offer up a golf nutrition game plan for you before, during and after your round.
Just this once at the 19th Hole, we’re going to play the first 18 the way an athlete would. And we’re not talking John Daly here (much as we admire his outfits). We’re talking Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, and the many other superfit women golfers who save wining for dining and wouldn’t touch a hot dog unless it fell on their putting lines.
Think about it: You’re out exercising for at least four hours, burning 800 to 1,500 calories per 18 holes, depending on your choice of transportation. And many of you don’t eat at all, or you eat all the wrong things because that’s what the golf course is serving.
And either of those regimens is just so old John Daly. All the research tells us that golf is so a sport, and that when the body suffers, the game suffers. The body needs fuel before the round to kick in, food during the round to sustain, and food after the round to recover. Ideally the food contains lots of the carbohydrates needed to provide energy. And though we want lots of carbs, we don’t want lots of food — hard to make that turn on a full stomach, or on a gassy stomach, which is why you won’t be hearing much here about salad.
YOUR GOLF NUTRITION GAME PLAN
- Several hours before your round, have a carb-rich meal. (If you’re playing in the morning, that’s dinner the night before.)
- Then about an hour before your round, have a small bite to eat, maybe half a whole grain bagel and light cream cheese, or some oatmeal, fruit and nuts. If you usually have a cup of coffee, have a cup and a little more; recent research is indicating that caffeine can help with alertness and decision making. It also may not be as dehydrating as we’ve always thought.
- Then, on the fifth hole, at the turn and on the 14th hole, have one of our five favorite snacks.
- At every even-numbered tee, have a few sips of water.
See the pattern emerging? Small amounts, but a steady flow of fuel to keep the swing sweet, the legs limber and the joints well oiled.
After the round, treat yourself to more carbs and even some salt. If you ever crave a French fry, now is the time you can get away with a few. For best health, keep drinking water; for fun, now is the time for the adult beverage you didn’t order at the turn.
This article first appeared in the March 2011 edition of GottaGoGolf Magazine.