There are so many factors as to why you might not be playing your best. But, explains professional nutrition coach Phil Holmes, there is one area you have full control over to give yourself the best chance

Jack and Jill are playing in their club competition at 10am. Jack gets up around 8am and makes himself a cup of coffee plus a few slices of white toast with jam and butter. Jill is up a little earlier so she has time to make her food for the round before eating some yoghurt and fruit followed by scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast. She drinks water.

Jack buys a fizzy drink and a bar of chocolate in the pro shop. The weather is fair – not baking hot but not three-layers cold.

On the even holes, Jill has a small drink of water. At the 4th she has an apple and then at the 8th eats half a peanut butter bagel. Jack feels thirsty on the 7th so he drinks half his fizzy drink. He sees the chocolate bar as he opens his bag and so decides to eat that as well.

After the 9th hole they stop at the halfway house where Jack orders a coffee and a bacon sandwich. 

Jill sticks to her own snacks which includes a second bottle of water, this time it includes squash and a pinch of salt to help fight dehydration. To keep it simple she continues to stick to the ‘even numbered’ tee rule.

On the 12th Jill has a couple of slices of malt loaf and then some raisins on the 16th. Jack is still running off the fuel from the 10th tee pit stop. Heading down the 15th Jack is feeling thirsty again, he remembers he has the rest of his sports drink to finish off and does so.

golf nutrition

You will probably realise Jack is far more common among the golfing fraternity than Jill. And of course, Jack could still score lower than his sister. There is no guarantee at all that following a smarter choice of fuel intake while we prepare and play will allow us to break par. I’m just a real advocate of smart choices when eating and drinking to give the golfer their best possible chance of playing well in that given round. 

I fully understand that there are many other factors to consider for every golfer: last night’s party, new born baby crying through the night, young children to take to a sports game in the morning, a working shift and arriving on the tee just minutes prior to starting the round. The list is almost infinite. But we can plan and prepare better than most golfers are currently doing.

It’s not just the energy and calories we take in, but where we are getting this energy from and the speed at which our body can access these supplies. We are looking to create a steady level of energy throughout the round. Giving our bodies huge sugar or caffeine rushes followed by a quick drop will affect our decision making, pre-shot routine, short game execution, energy levels, and also the ability to minimise our nerves.

We may not have the physical prowess or time available to rival the players we see on the tours but we can be more professional regarding our food choices.

Oh, and the other half of Jill’s bagel? Well that was eaten after the round to begin her recovery.

Please reflect on how you currently fuel yourself and see how you might make positive changes. Stay safe.

If you have any golf nutrition questions for Phil you can get in touch via his website or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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