Hello golfers, welcome to this week’s tips & tricks. Just a bit of simple advice for you this week that could really make the difference on the course, especially on the final few holes. I played golf over the weekend in a 36 hole event with amateurs. One thing that I noticed was the significant lack of fuel and fluids being consumed during the rounds.
I have been paying close attention to everything that I have been eating and drinking over the last few months to try and improve my wellbeing. This includes being on the golf course. Let me give you some facts about calories burned and then you can hopefully understand why you feel like you’re underperforming on the last handful of holes.
So, how many calories does a round of golf burn then?
Well, if you walk the course, rather than tootle about the place in a cart or buggy, then a round of golf will burn probably somewhere in the order of 1.400 or 1,500 calories. Playing more spaced out, hillier course will obviously burn more calories than compact flatter ones.
The good news for some, is that the fatter you are the more calories you will burn during your round. But, surprisingly, what does not make much difference to the golf calorie count is whether you carry your clubs, or pull your bag on a trolley. Carrying your bag burns a few more calories, but it is literally only a few. Neil Wolkodoff, director of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, conducted a study to answer the question of how many calories does a round of golf burn? He did so at Inverness Golf Club in Denver, USA. He conducted an experiment with eight male golfers, aged 26 to 61 with handicaps between 2 and 17. Over nine holes he found that these golfers burned an average of 721 calories carrying a bag, and 718 when using a trolley.
As previously mentioned, some rounds of golf can burn as many as 2,000 calories. To give some perspective, that’s the recommended daily intake for women and 500 short of the daily recommended intake for men.
If you haven’t consumed enough calories, you become tired. If you’re tired, you’re far more likely to make bad decisions and mental mistakes that could cost you the monthly medal or even the club championship.
The first thing to do is make sure you come prepared. If you don’t equip yourself with some of the best snacks to have in your golf bag, you’ll inevitably end up eating chocolate bars, which really won’t do you much good.
Before all that, though, you need to consider what to eat before playing golf. Making sure you’ve had a solid meal that will fuel you for what’s to come is essential. As is drinking water regularly in order to avoid feeling dehydrated, which affects performance. This is also key for anyone wanting to learn how to play golf with a hangover.
After three or four holes, a good idea is to eat a cereal bar. This will provide a small boost of carbohydrate and ensure you aren’t dipping into your reserves. The more you dip into your reserves, the more your energy levels will suffer. You don’t want to eat too many carbs as the aim at this point is to stabilise levels, not increase them. Some will favour fruit and nuts, which provide a good balance of slowly digesting fibre and fat.
Around the turn, you should be looking to eat something that provides a good balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Something like a tuna or chicken sandwich on brown bread is ideal – chicken and tuna provide high-quality and therefore more digestible protein, and brown bread is a source of preferable carbs.
Bacon is more processed and eating white bread can result in a crash, so as tempting as it is, it’s probably best to avoid a bacon sandwich on white. Over the final six holes, you should be looking for an energy boost – this will make sure you don’t feel sluggish and help you concentrate. Bananas, dried fruit and nuts are all good options.
It’s an often-overlooked aspect of performance but it can make a huge difference. So, just as you spend time and money on lessons and new equipment, invest a little into your nutrition and fuel yourself for better golf.
Make sure you eat and drink on the golf course! My dad is diabetic and plays golf several times a week. We have lots of conversations about energy levels and performance and neither of us can believe it when we play on a course with amateurs. It seems like a common trend to just have a bacon sandwich and mars bar before the round and along the way or not have anything at all. Give yourself the best chance by educating yourself about nutrition and making sure you’re taking on the correct fuel and fluids before, during, and after your round.
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Catch you soon.