Golf is a game of precision, accuracy and skill. Successful golfers can vary greatly in overall physical fitness level and size. However, in recent years, top sports institutes suggest carrying excess weight may make a golfer more susceptible to physical fatigue, heat intolerance and injury. (1) Golfers of all levels require a diet that provides a variety of healthy foods. Golfers should consume diets that have moderate amounts of carbohydrate, adequate protein and are low in saturated and trans fat.
Jennifer DeWall RDN, CSSD, LD
Jennifer works with ICYF to provide expert advice on sports nutrition and healthy eating to the student and families of Indianola. A registered dietitian/nutritionist, Jennifer owns a private practice that focuses on helping athletes stay on the cutting edge with superior nutrition.
Focus on nutrient dense carbohydrates
Golfers do not need as many carbohydrates as other athletes that are burning more calories in training. Therefore when carbohydrates are consumed, select those that are going to offer the most nutrition and limit starchy, refined foods.
|Carbohydrate choice||Better carbohydrate choice|
|bagel||whole-wheat toast, English muffin or flat bread|
|100% orange juice||orange|
|Pop – Tart||Speciak K breakfast sandwich|
|Soda/sports drink||plain water|
|candy bar||almonds or peanuts|
|french fries / potato chips||baked chips|
|white pasta||Whole grain pasta|
|crackers||Veggies and hummus|
|Sugary cereal||Oatmeal, healthier cereals*|
Eat Lean Protein
Eat enough protein to build and/or maintain muscle. Lean protein sources include fat free and low fat dairy products, lean meat, beans and eggs. For a more detailed list see the ICYF “Athlete Shopping List.” Golfers should be consuming at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram of bodyweight and no more than 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day.
Healthier cereals found on ICYF “Athlete Shopping List” guide
|Weight (pounds)||Daily Protein Range (grams)|
Don’t play hungry
Being properly fueled before walking onto the course is important. Your pre-game fuel should leave you neither full nor hungry. Think about when you last ate. If it’s been more than 3-4 hours, a small, healthy snack would more than likely benefit you. A list of healthy snacks can be found on the ICYF “On the Go Snacks for Athletes” guide. It is important to remember that each individual is different. Don’t forget to trust your gut. Everyone reacts to foods differently so do not try any new or unfamiliar foods pre-competition. For additional information, contact a sports dietitian/nutritionist in your area.
Look after fluid needs. The body needs to be hydrated to perform optimally. Golfers should sip small amounts of fluid during training and regularly throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you during the day to help achieve your fluid goals. One sip of water is equal to about 1 ounce. Most high school golfers should be consuming at least 70 ounces of water daily.