Most golfers think the clubs in their bag are the highest importance when it comes to carding low scores; that’s likely the case but having proper food and beverages available to keep you fueled for upwards of four to five hours is also crucial to a successful round.
Heather Hynes is a sports nutritionist based in Saskatoon and has several golfers on her client list. She said being prepared for a round starts with your meal preparation before you tee off.
“I think the biggest thing is really looking at what type of things you’re having before you head out to the course just to make sure you’re going to have enough sustained energy to play 18 holes,” she said. “Having a good-sized meal prior to playing that’s going to give your body a good amount of carbohydrate energy from fruits and veggies and grains and then having a good source of protein at the meal as well.”
Hynes said if you eat properly ahead of your round you should be covered until about the turn to the back nine. She suggested either purchasing a healthy snack or packing options such as protein or granola bars, fruit, and crackers to get you through the second half.
As for staying hydrated, she said weather plays a huge factor. On hot days it’s crucial to stay hydrated, she said cooler days still having access to liquids is important. She added making sure you are properly consuming beverages will make your round more enjoyable.
“People ask me questions of, well if I have a beer how much water do I need to drink to compensate for that? That’s not how the body works,”’ she explained. “If you are having a couple drinks just make sure you do have a lot of replacement of water just so you can maintain hydration. That’s just for the enjoyment of the game so you can still perform and still feel comfortable. Again, more stressed placed when the temperature is high.”
The tips provided by Hynes are for higher handicap players for the most part or players who play more for fun than competitively. She said for players that are serious about their game and work hard at it much more focus on health and nutrition is involved.
“If someone is looking to perform at an elite level you are looking at fine tuning everything you are doing and nutrition is a piece of the puzzle,” Hynes said. “They would be looking at how they eat day in, day out. They would be fine tuning what types of snacks work best for them when playing. What settles a nervous stomach, what’s going to result in sustained energy? Whether they are using a sport drink like a Gatorade or a Powerade due to the duration of a round, and again the temperature they are playing under.”
“You can get very specific and I would say our top athletes are working towards that,” she added.
Hynes said staying full and hydrated in golf is much different from other sports. Hockey and soccer athletes have a much higher heartrate and is much more intense. She said golfers can “graze” on snacks throughout the round and the release of the energy is slowed so your energy will be sustained over a longer time period.
She also said for early morning golfers, if you aren’t having a full breakfast before the round that you do eat a proper meal following the round to “recover” and not skip the meal because of their tee time.