Golf is a sport many people feel that nutrition does not play a big role in the success of players. With the Ryder Cup fast approaching and the interest in the sport increasing as a result, I have made this post to give you an idea of the nutritional and requirements of golf.
Due to the characteristics of the sport, it is played by people who come in many different shapes and sizes. However, more recently there is a tendency for top golfers to be fitter and leaner than before. It has been said that golfers carrying excess skin folds could make a player more susceptible to fatigue and as a result more likely to suffer a reduction in concentration and skill. Looking at current number 1 ranked player Rory McIlroy it can be seen that dropping his body fat from 22% to 16% he has made significant progress in his performances.
Being overweight could also lead to a player suffering greater heat intolerance in hot conditions. Because of the repetitive nature of the sport, it can be said that carrying excess body fat could make a golfer more susceptible to injury.
What should a golfers diet be like?
- A well balanced diet containing a variety of foods from every food group each day.
- There should be a focus on nutrient rich carbohydrates, including bread, cereals (rice, pasta etc), fruit and vegetables.
- The amount of fat should be kept low with the emphasis being on foods rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats such as avocado, nuts, plant based oils and fish. Saturated fats such as butter, oil, cream, cakes, biscuits, fried foods etc should be avoided.
- A moderate amount of protein should be consumed. This should be coming from lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, low fat dairy products, legumes and whole grain cereals
- Maintain effective rehydration. The body needs to be properly hydrated in order to perform at the optimum level. Fluids should be consumed regularly throughout the day and during training sessions. The best option is water, however if sweat losses are high then it may be a good idea to include a sports drink.
During a competition players need to maintain concentration and skill level over a long period of time, sometimes as long as 5 hours, sometimes over a period of a few days.
Once fatigue occurs, a reduction in skill level can be expected. This can be for a number of reasons including dehydration and low blood sugar levels.
These tips can help to reduce the likelihood of these instances occurring:
- Having a carbohydrate based meal around 2 hours before the start of play.
- Make sure you bring adequate provisions onto the course, including carbohydrate based snacks.
- Experiment during practice rounds to work out a plan for fluids and foods to find out what suits you best.
- Carbohydrate drinks such as milk and sports drinks are a good way of consuming fluids and carbohydrates.
I hope this will not only provide an insight into the nutritional requirements of the players competing at a high level but also help you if you play golf and are looking to take you game to the next level.
Either way I hope everyone enjoys what is going to be a fantastic competition starting on Friday.