We all know that every player-related to outdoor sports has to take special care of his diet. Food is the source of energy and nutrition that our body needs. Athletes generally require more strength and stamina than an ordinary person. So, their diet is also different from a person related to a regular profession. The same goes for golf also.
Golf is not as much easy as it seems on television. You realize the scenario when you experience it at the green. For example, a typical round of 18 holes takes about 3-5 hours to complete depending on the golfer’s skill. The average length of a golf course is nearly 7 kilometres, where you might need to walk around 14-20 kilometres for accurate shots. Let’s dive more into this to understand. A player who pursues his career in golf professionally needs to spend at least 8 hours at the course for his practice and developing skills, that too regularly. He is just not spending hours at course; he has to go for a long walk to get the accurate shot, concentrate on precise targeting, put all the force for those long swings.
Needless to say that a golfer needs a bit different diet from others to gain proper nutrition and stamina. Let’s dive deep into the discussion about foods for golfers so you can get ample energy and stamina for hitting some great shots at the match.
Breakfast of the game day
Scientists say, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper to stay healthy.” Breakfast is the first meal we have on a day. This is the most important meal of our day. A golfer needs to be very much concerned about breakfast as he will get most of the energy from this meal, especially on the competition day. You can expect to play around for 5 to 6 hours. You need to maintain the sugar and energy level, prevent fatigue all day long. So, it’s essential you need a proper meal for your breakfast.
Carbohydrate is essential at breakfast for fuel and energy. Some protein is also needed, so you don’t feel hungry or weak through the round. Another essential is fluid for keeping the body hydrated. I am giving some excellent breakfast ideas you can have on your game day to keep the stamina for all day long.
• Baked beans on toast
• Light Cream Spread on Brown Bagel
• Bircher muesli with fresh fruit
• Grilled Chicken or Fish Veggie Salad
• Grainy wrap with cheese, chicken, and salad
• Nuts with Oatmeal
• Fruit salad with natural yoghurt
• Veggie Omelet with Fresh Fruits
• Sweet potato salad with Tuna
• Fresh Pasta Sauce on brown Spaghetti
• Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Many golfers prefer to have some protein and fat before starting the match. This meal depends on the time gap between your last meal and the competition. You will never get to play rounds at exactly the same time every time. If you have a gap of at least 3 to 4 hours between your breakfast and competition, you should eat some light protein and good fats before you arrive at the course. It will provide you with quick energy all over the body.
High protein foods
Protein is one of the vital nutrition that our body needs, especially when we have to do something like sports. Our body-cell is mostly made with protein. Protein helps our body store energy, reducing stress and fatigue, so taking a sufficient amount of protein before every round is essential. There are various foods that contain high protein and readily available near our hands. Egg, fish, meat is an excellent source of animal protein.
There are two kinds of fat. The good fat and bad fat. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are responsible for controlling our body temperature and produce energy in our body. Avocado, nuts, or some baked salmon can be a perfect example of fat you should eat before the round. But be sure not to take any butter or deep-fried junks as they are bad fats and slow you down through the match.
Complex carbohydrates are needed for a golfer rather than simple carbs. Complex carbs keep you fit to hit an energetic shot. You can get complex carbs from food like vegetables, fruits, and beans. These foods not only provide complex carbohydrates. Along with this, you will get low-glycemic carbs, minerals, and many types of vitamins.
Starch is also necessary
Starch is known for gaining weight, and so, the majority of players prefer to avoiding starch. But like other nutrition, starch also plays a crucial role in developing and building our body. It would not be a wise decision to cut out the starch from the diet completely. I suggest you have some potatoes or rice, whole grain bread, or quinoa with other foods as your pre-event meal.
Snacks idea during the competition
As a round of golf takes about 4 to 5 hours, it’s normal for golfers to feel hungry or fatigue after 2 to 3 hours of playing. That’s why they usually get a break of 1 to 2 hours. Meanwhile this tee-off, you have to make some healthy snacks, so your body doesn’t get tired, and you get the stamina back. Here are some of the ideas of the snack you can enjoy during the tee-off.
• English muffin with cheese and vegemite
• Banana and a handful of almonds
• Avocado on rice cakes
Besides these snacks shortlisted above, you can have the following foods as a healthy snack.
Eggs are a significant source of protein, good fat, and vitamin D. Boiled eggs are proven very much healthy for the body retaining energy. It’s also easy to prepare. Have a boiled egg at your break. You can sprinkle some salt-pepper on it for adding more taste.
Sticks of cheese
Cheese is another ready-to-go snack at the ground for filling your body with required fat, protein, and calcium. We already discussed how vital these nutrients are. So you might understand the benefit a stick of cheese can provide you during a round. Cheddar, Monterrey Jack would be just perfect at the tee-off as they remain fresh for a long time.
Nuts are the crucial and favourite part of my everyday diet. Nuts have a fantastic taste with rich nutrients and nourishment, such as fibre, fat, and minerals. There are many types of nuts available. You can prepare a dry mix of cashew, pecans, peanuts, and almond as a great meal to have in between the round.
Sandwiches are not only tasty food but can be very rich in nutrition if adequately prepared. You can have two types of sandwiches. Peanut butter sandwich and ham or cheese sandwich; you can go for whatever you like. Peanut butter sandwiches are the perfect combination of nuts and whole wheat bread. Thus you get the balance of vitamins, minerals, and fat. On the other hand, a ham sandwich or cheese sandwich would be deliciously healthy, containing protein, fat, and vitamins.
A golfer needs to have a post-event meal or recovery meal after finishing the match. It re-builds energy in the body and cut out all our tiredness. In case you have multiple rounds in one day or multi-day competition in a row, a recovery meal is a must then. An ideal recovery meal contains carbohydrates, protein, and plenty of fluids. Thus, your body can repair and develop the muscles, electrolytes to replace sweat loss. You can consider the following example of food menus as your recovery meal.
• A ham or egg and salad sandwich
• Homemade burritos with chicken and salad
• Fruit-based smoothie
• Lean beef burger on a whole grain bun with salad.
Keep your body hydrated
At the golf course, sweat loss is natural. Thus, you could lose liquid from your body to a harmful extent and make the body dehydrated. Dehydration can causes you fatigue, disability to focus, heat stress, and decreased skill performance. In this way, you won’t even be able to play with focus, let alone winning the par. So, it’s essential to keep your body hydrated. A hydrated body also maintains sufficient brain activities and muscle movements. It would help if you had plenty of water before and during the competition. At the pre-event meal, I prefer to have at least 16-oz water. Again, every 20 to 30 minutes, I drink 8-oz water. This hydrates my body to the fullest. It would be best to build this habit of drinking water frequently to concentrate on the game completely.
If you get conscious about the food habit only on the game day, it won’t work. You will not see any difference in your body. Instead, it would help if you built a healthy food habit since the first day of your training. If you weren’t conscious about your food routine till this date, it’s not late to start. Change your food routine from today itself to make your practices count. A healthy pattern leads you to a fit body, undoubtedly. You should add almost every nutrient to your daily diet quantitatively, such as protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, fluid, etc. Some excellent foods for golfers as their training diet are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, brown rice, multigrain bread, porridge, baked beans, etc. You can prepare the proper diet chart for your training days after discussing it with an expert sports dietitian.
This complete discussion is based on a nutrition expert’s guidance and my research about the food that I need at the course. So, follow the above tips and take proper care of your health. If your health is OK, you can do a lot better in many aspects of life. Your food habit and adequate diet chart decide how your performance would be. Some people can start sports at a very mature age and still do a lot better. That’s only because they are careful enough regarding their food habits and lifestyle. One more thing that is very important to remember. You should consult with your dietitian before following the diet because this guide is for everyone on average and may not suit your circumstances.