Nutrition for Golfers during hot, summer days

warm day golfGolf is a game requiring skill, concentration and specific manoeuvres.


Blood sugar levels and dehydration affect skill and concentration so nutritional strategies must optimize these.


Fluid Requirements
Slight dehydration can result in poorer performance. Severe dehydration can cause heatstroke, with children being more at risk than adults.
At rest one needs 20 – 30 ml water/kg of body weight. For example, someone weighing 55kgs would need 20 x 55 = 1,1lt of water but preferably 30 x 55 = 1,6lt water  which would be 4 – 6 glasses per day. A 95kg person would require 10 – 12 glasses per day.
The colour of one’s urine is a good indicator of hydration status. Pale coloured being an indication of good hydration while dark yellow means one needs to drink more.
Golfers playing in hot, humid conditions where the demand for water/rapid hydration is very high and the demand for carbohydrates is low would benefit from a Hypotonic drink.
In layman’s terms, flavoured sports drink powders and concentrates (one containing carbohydrates and electrolytes) would be preferable as one is able to vary the concentration according to individual fluid and carbohydrate requirements. Watered down Energade or Powerade are ideal for during a round of golf. Approximately 150ml every 20 minutes is recommended.


Blood sugar Levels
There is no particular “bad “food. Rather, it is the “bad timing “ of eating a particular food that is of relevance.
Slow or fast energy fix?

Pre – exercise always go for low GI low fat foods – examples of  low GI breakfasts being low GI Bokomo oats cooked in low fat milk or whole wheat or plain ProNutro with low fat milk and toast. Time permitting, eggs with lean bacon / ham on low GI toast is an option. Time constraints or “nervous tummy “, Ensure or Nutren Active made with low fat milk would be a good choice.


Fat choice
There is no scientific evidence to show that overweight golfers will improve their game with weight loss, but there are other benefits for achieving ideal weight:

  • Improved heat tolerance, endurance and fitness; which in turn:
  • Prevents fatigue; which in turn
  • Affects skill and concentration
  • Increased abdominal fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease


How do we achieve this?

  • Always choose low fat dairy and lean meat
  • Untoasted sandwiches with chicken or tuna with low fat mayonnaise
  • Cottage cheese instead of cream cheese
  • Avoid doubling up on fat – omit margarine when using mayonnaise or peanut butter
  • Use low fat salad dressings or balsamic vinegar
  • Substitute chocolates as snacks with fruit or cereal bars

At the halfway house avoid pies / pastries, toasted sandwiches, high fat high sugary foods, especially should you be resuming play after lunch. Always include enough carbohydrates with your meal. Bread, pasta, provita, rice, sweet potatoes or baby potatoes, couscous, beans or mielies and fruit.  These provide one with energy that has been lost through the first 9 holes and sustained energy for the next 9 holes.
Although the average golf course is 7 kms from 1st to last hole, players may walk 10 – 20 kms depending on the accuracy of their shots. So adequate carbohydrates with some lean protein or dairy and a bit of “good” fat like avo , peanut butter , nuts and seeds , fatty fish ( salmon or even tuna ) is essential for optimizing energy levels.
Prevent blood sugar levels dropping by keeping cold ‘energy drinks’, cold steristumpies, portable snacks like bananas, nuts and raisins, dried pears or mango, snack mixes (dried fruit, seeds and nuts ), cereal bars or sandwiches in your golf bag should there be no time for stopping or too little / no breakfast eaten.


After competition or play
Fluid and carbohydrates are vital to promote recovery. This is where more fast energy fix foods are required. Provided cholesterol or high blood pressure is not a problem food like pies, hamburgers or pizza and a soft drink could well be an option should one desire these.  However, they are not compulsory and thereafter one should resort back to slow release, low GI low fat foods both for maintaining good health but also for replenishing carbohydrate stores for the next bout of exercise, be it on or off the golf course.


Noreen Davison