Here’s how golf coaches, players and trainers stay fueled for the game.
Golf may be considered a leisure sport, but playing 18 holes often takes five hours, and if you’re walking, you’ll cover up to six miles. Proper nutrition and hydration are key to staving off dry mouth and stomach rumbles on the back nine. The Titleist Performance Institute suggests you should consume 40 to 50 percent of your total daily intake of water on the course; if you drink 100 ounces in a day, you should drink 50 during your golf round.
All the experts we talked with agreed that hydration is a priority. Titleist Performance Institute certified coach Deb Ryan carries plenty of water in her bag. She stresses the importance of being properly hydrated before you even begin your round of golf, so you don’t get into a dehydration ditch once you start to play. (This is also particularly helpful for women, due to the general lack of restrooms on most golf courses.)
Milo Bryant, C.S.C.S, who is also a TPI certified coach, says he drinks a few ounces of water between every shot. If you feel hungry or thirsty on the course, he adds, it’s a sign that you’ve already lost some mental acuity or vigor and are putting yourself at a disadvantage.
We polled some top golf coaches and professionals to see what snacks and drinks they keep with them to fuel up on the golf course.
Hydration, but make it flavorful
Want to upgrade your hydration experience? Take a cue from Dr. Peter Mackay, a chiropractor and TPI Advisory Board Member who makes his own hydration drink by blending watermelon and ice cubes with a few pinches of Celtic Grey Sea Salt. He transfers the drink from the blender to an insulated water bottle. Watermelon is 93 percent water and is high in potassium, vitamins, A, B6 and C. It also contains the antioxidant lycopene, which offers sun protection, and will not spike your blood sugar.
If you want flavorful hydration without the extra work, consider an electrolyte drink mix. World Long Drive competitor Troy Mullins and Leo Rooney, director of performance at Urban Golf Performance (UGP), turn to Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier, which comes in convenient, single-serving stick packs in a variety of flavors.
Pro-golfer Tyler Hall prefers blue Powerade and also adds a pack of Emergen-C to each bottle of water he drinks, because bottled water is purified and zapped of nutrients and minerals.
Fruit + Protein
Convenient and portable, fruit is a go-to golf course snack that many pros keep on hand. Additionally, protein helps get them satiated. Rooney carries a piece of fruit and a bag of nuts to eat during his round. Meanwhile, Bryant carries 12 to 16 ounces of Stryve beef jerky and exactly six pieces of fruit, which he divides and consumes every two or three holes throughout his round. Ryan takes a banana or an apple, along with an easy-to-digest Fuel for Fire protein smoothie (which comes in a pouch that won’t be affected by heat) or an energy bar. She prefers a chocolate mint CLIF Builders bar or chocolate chip cookie dough Quest bar. Hall likes Quest bars too, though he prefers the s’mores, Oreo or blueberry muffin-flavors.
Tom House, PhD, who is also a TPI Advisory Board Member, follows a 40/30/30 eating plan, in which 40 percent of calories come from carbohydrates and 30 percent come from both protein and fats. He maintains this strategy on the golf course, and hits those numbers with a Clif or Balance bar. House’s wife Marie favors walnuts or almonds and an apple, or a peanut butter KIND bar.
Satisfying and easy to pack, sandwiches stand the test of time as a source of fuel when you’re outside. Mullins packs a homemade turkey sandwich on multigrain bread with lettuce and apple slices—in the sandwich, not on the side—to eat at the turn. Hall, on the other hand, always carries an Uncrustables peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his bag.
Snacks. Lots of snacks.
Sometimes, you just need some crunchy munchies or a sweet treat to get you through your round. Mullins’ bag is a party in its own right. She carries pretzels, mozzarella cheese sticks, chocolate almonds, and cherry Blow Pops or Tootsie Pops, while Hall brings a pack of Fruit Gushers for a shot of sugar down the stretch.
No matter what you choose to pack, make sure you have enough food and drinks available. The goal with nutrition is to keep blood sugar levels as even as possible by eating throughout your round to prevent mood and energy fluctuations that can impact your game.