Golf Nutrition: What to Eat Before and During a Round

What to eat before during and after playing golf.

With a swing of the club and a crack, the tiny white ball soars into the sky and settles onto the lush, emerald green fairway. Ah, the joys of golf! But did you know that what you eat could be as important as the brand of clubs you carry and all those golf exercises you did at the gym? It’s not just about the swing; it’s also about fueling your body for this gruelling mental and physical game.

Morning Prep – The Golf Breakfast of Champions

As the saying goes, ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day,’ and golfers are no exception to this golden rule. But put down that full English! Instead, focus on a balanced meal combining complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to give you sustained energy.

Kick-off your day with a hearty bowl of porridge. Oats, known for their slow-release energy, will keep you fuelled throughout the day. Add a handful of mixed nuts or seeds for a good dose of protein and fats, and a spoonful of honey for a bit of natural sweetness. Don’t forget a nice cuppa, but avoid sugary drinks which could lead to energy crashes later on.

Here are the breakfasts enjoyed by three famous golf champions:

Tiger Woods: Known for his discipline and dedication, Woods typically starts his day with a high-protein breakfast. In the past, he’s mentioned enjoying an omelette with vegetables, lean meats, and a side of whole-grain bread.

Rory McIlroy: This Northern Irish golfer has a well-documented focus on health and fitness. His breakfast usually includes something like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, a combination high in protein and healthy fats.

Phil Mickelson: The American golfer, famed for his long career, has spoken openly about his dietary changes to manage arthritis. He often starts his day with a smoothie packed with fruits, vegetables, and protein.

BEDMINSTER,NJ-JULY 29,2022: Phil Mickelson takes a look down the 16th Fairway during the LIV Golf Tournament held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster,NJ.

Tee-Time Nosh – Fuelling the Front Nine

Now that you’re standing on the first tee, with a stomach full of breakfast, what next? It’s easy to underestimate the importance of continual grazing throughout the day. But when you’re out on the course for four hours or more, your energy levels can easily dip.

For those wandering the fairways, your golf bag should be chock-full of tasty, nutritious snacks. Think protein bars, bananas, dried fruit and nut mixes, and even peanut butter sandwiches. And here’s a fun fact: bananas are known as nature’s energy bar, loaded with potassium, an essential mineral that helps with muscle function and hydration.

Stay away from overly processed snacks that may offer quick energy bursts but ultimately leave you feeling flat as a pancake on the 7th hole.

Hydration Station – Water, the Unsung Hero

While we’re at it, let’s not forget about hydration. Water is vital to all our body’s functions, and even slight dehydration can affect your performance, including concentration and muscle function.

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to have a sip, by then, you’re already dehydrated! A good rule of thumb is to take a few sips after each hole. And no, a pint at the 19th hole doesn’t count!

The Back Nine – Keeping Energy Levels Up

We’ve made it through the front nine, but the game isn’t over yet! As you make your way around the course, it’s essential to keep topping up your energy reserves.

Consider eating a piece of fruit or a handful of mixed nuts every three or four holes, your average trail mix will do. And if you’re feeling flush, why not get an energy bar or two. They usually have them in the club shop before hand or stock up on a few of our favourites.

Clif Bar: These bars are known for their plant-based ingredients and variety of flavours. They typically contain a good mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, making them an excellent choice for sustained energy. Popular flavours include Chocolate Chip, Crunchy Peanut Butter, and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut.

Clif energy bar for golf

Grenade Carb Killa: Marketed as a high protein, low carb solution, these bars are a popular choice for individuals following fitness or weight management plans. Each bar contains over 20g of protein, making it a great post-workout snack. Available in a wide range of flavours like White Chocolate Cookie and Dark Chocolate Mint.

Grenade Carb Killa energy bar for golf

Trek Protein Bars: These bars are made from natural, plant-based ingredients and are known for being both gluten-free and vegan. They’re a blend of fruits, oats, and nuts, providing a balanced snack that’s high in fibre and protein. They come in a variety of flavours, such as Cocoa Oat, Peanut Power, and Berry Burst.

Golf energy bar by Trek

Please remember to check the nutritional information on the packaging to ensure it meets your dietary needs and preferences. And remember, energy bars are a convenient snack, but they shouldn’t replace a balanced, varied diet.

And don’t forget, even though we’re talking about food, golf nutrition isn’t just about what you eat. It’s also about when you eat it. Try to avoid eating large quantities in one go, which can lead to energy crashes and affect your performance.

Post-Game Wrap Up

The round’s over, you’ve tallied your score, and it’s time to refuel. Post-game nutrition is as vital as your pre-game and on-course nibbles. Opt for a balanced meal, packed with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of vegetables. A chicken salad with whole grains or a salmon fillet with sweet potato would do the trick.

That being said, we all know you will have a beer and a sausage roll after your round! Why not, it is the choice of champions like John Daly after all.

Golf may seem like a leisurely sport, but it requires mental stamina, physical endurance, and strategic thinking. So next time you’re preparing for a round, give some thought to what’s on your plate. Not only could it improve your game, it could make the difference between a glorious victory and a not-so-glorious defeat. Remember, the key to great golf nutrition is balance and moderation. And with that, you’re well on your way to becoming the most well-nourished golfer on the green!

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