Nutrition for Golf by Professor Graeme Close

Fuelling the perfect round 

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Most golfers have the same pre-match routine. This basically involves arriving at the course 15 minutes prior to their Tee time, throwing their shoes on in the car park, running to the pro shop to sign in and grab a score card and finally grabbing a chocolate bar and bottle of water for the round. Unfortunately, this nutritional strategy is often common at the elite end as well as with the amateur golfer.  However, we know there is a better way which will not only improve performance but also will be more beneficial for long term health. I am going to offer 3 tips to fuel your round, which should see energy levels maintained during the back 9 and reduce your handicap.
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 1. Bring Foods with you

Unfortunately, the choices available at many golf courses are not ideal and it is therefore essential that as well as packing your golf bag with the correct equipment you also include the correct food. I encourage the golfers I work with to eat a snack at hole 4, a mini meal at hole 9 and a final snack around hole 13. The snacks are often bars such as Get Buzzing Bars which have low GI carbohydrates for sustained release of energy. At the half way point, a simple chicken or tuna wrap is idea to provide protein for muscle repair and carbohydrate for energy with a second Get Buzzing bar coming at hole 13. These items are all easy to carry and are perfect options for the serious golfer. Next time you are watching golf on television have a look how many of the top pros can be seen eating a sandwich or wrap during the round – and these are always home-made rather than pre-made packaged low quality ones.
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 2. Have a fuelling strategy

I encourage the golfers I work with to get into a feeding routine. Often, golfers may have food with them but forget to eat this given their focus is purely on the round. It is really effective to make a mark on your score card to remind you when to eat. A simple circle around holes 4, 9 and 13 could be all you need to remind you to take on board your nutrition. This means you will not be worrying about when should I eat or stress when you realise its hole 18 and your food has not moved out of your golf bag!
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 3. Hydrate throughout the round and consider electrolyte tablets 

Dehydration can be extremely common during a round of golf which will impair both physical and mental performance. The good news is that this can easily be prevented with a simple hydration strategy. I always advise people to bring a water bottle with you that you can have pre-chilled. A good tip is fill your bottle 1/3 with water and put this in the freezer over-night. Then in the morning fill the rest of the bottle with cold water. As the ice melts this will maintain a cold drink for the round. At the course, it is a good idea to add an electrolyte tablet to the drink especially if it’s a hot day. These are cheap and one I often use is Nutrition X (https://www.nutritionx.co.uk/hydra-tablets), since like ‘Get Buzzing Bars’ these are also Informed Sport tested to check for contamination. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes as well as water so we should try to replace these essential electrolytes as well as the water. I advise the golfers I work with to get into the habit of sipping water at the end of each hole. Consider getting into the habit of lifting your water bottle out of your bag when you put your putter away - even if you only carry the bottle to the next tee. This will remind you to drink rather than waiting until you feel thirsty and dehydrated. You do not need to force fluid into you, as this can also be equally dangerous, but just sip little and often.
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I really hope this has given some insights into maintaining your energy and concentration levels during your next round. This simple strategy could be the difference between a good round and a great round. 
 
Good luck, Graeme

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