8 Foods that Negatively Impact Your Golf Game


By Bradley Turner, Keiser University College of Golf Director of Online Golf Instruction – MBA, PGA

You are what you eat. We have all heard that phrase at some point in our lives. As the science of sports nutrition has evolved, it seems as if the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is true! Every sport requires the body to perform specific tasks over a wide array of timelines and levels of intensity.

Golf Foods

Golf is a sport where you must spend four to five hours playing. While the physical intensity is much less than soccer, golfers must be mentally and physically sharp for three times as long as a professional soccer player. This suggests that the types of food to help your golf game will differ in comparison to playing soccer. In this article, we will identify eight foods that have a negative impact on your golf game. These are foods that PGA and LPGA golfers absolutely avoid when competing on professional tours. While you likely play golf for the pure enjoyment of the game, making smart nutritional choices might make the game more fun for you.

8 Foods That Negatively Impact Your Golf Game

#1. Soda / Pop

Soda is high in sugar and low in nutrition. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical bottle of soda provides no essential nutrients and minerals to help your golf game. A 12-ounce soda drink will have approximately 39 grams of sugar and 140 “empty” calories. You are better off consuming a few chocolate chip cookies, and good ole water as the cookies provide some nutritional value, and the water keeps you hydrated. Drinking soda on the golf course is like a double bogey to your golf game.

#2. French Fries

Fried foods have been found to influence a condition called brain fog. Too many of these delicious and waist-expanding potato slivers may make it difficult to focus on that three-foot putt. If your golf performance is important to you, choose a healthy salad before heading out to the first tee. If you are not concerned about your golf game, choose a salad anyway. Who wants to play golf in a mental fog?

#3. High Sugar Breakfast Cereal

Nope…don’t do it. Even though young children enjoy high-sugar breakfast cereals, don’t think this will energize you for a round of golf. You will likely see a spike in your glucose levels followed by a quick crash on the 5th hole. Instead, choose a bowl of oatmeal that provides a better choice of carbohydrates for the golf course.

#4. High Sugar Granola Bars

Granola bars are similar to cereals as you do not want high sugar levels. Read the nutrition facts on the packaging to understand what you are consuming. Carbohydrates are essential for athletic performance, and so is protein. There are protein bars and protein drinks that can be a choice to consider before your next round of golf.

#5. Beer

Many golfers refer to the “swing oil” when cracking open a beer can. The thought is that this libation has the magical influence of improving the golf swing. While I understand the enjoyment of an adult beverage on the golf course, a few beers on a hot sunny day will negatively impact your golf game. I played on a pro-am a few years ago with a private club member hosting a PGA Tour event. He said that thirty years ago, the club would bring in large amounts of alcohol to provide complimentary drinks to the players. In last year’s event, only four drinks were provided to the PGA Tour players. The best players in the world do not consume swing oil until after the tournament is completed. If swing oil improved performance, then all professionals would be signing contracts with their favorite adult beverage companies.

#6. High Sugar Energy / Sports Drinks

While energy drinks provide a burst of energy, as the name implies, be careful with how much you consume at one time. Guzzle down your favorite high-energy sports drink, and you might be ready to set personal records in the fitness gym, but will you be able to execute that soft pitch shot over a bunker? The theme here is to reduce excessive sugar, as it can negatively influence your golf game. If you need a bit of an energy boost, choose a nutritious apple or banana to keep you focused and playing great.

#7. Hot Dogs

Can you make a better selection at the turn than the standard hot dog? There should be plenty of choices at the snack bar that can satisfy your hunger yet keep your body functioning like an athlete. Make good choices!

#8. Large Amounts of Food

It took me a long time to appreciate the importance of this one! The USGA used to have 36-hole local qualifying for the US Amateur and the US Open. Most of the clubs would provide a fantastic all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for participants. With massive quantities of food in my stomach, my brain sent signals to start digesting the food. Blood flow was directed towards this activity while my brain decided a nap sounded wonderful. Except I had 18 holes of golf to play! Nutrition is vital to your performance, but allocate these foods over the entire round of golf. I have learned to eat something nutritious yet small in amount every four to six holes. Eating a little bit at least three times during the round will keep your glucose levels consistent while your mind and body are performing to their potential.

If you are a competitive golfer, avoiding these foods will positively impact your golf performance. For those that enjoy playing the game with family and friends, eating the right foods before and during the round of golf will likely make your experience on the links much better. You are all athletes on the golf course…give your mind and body the best chance to enjoy the day.

If you’d like to study with Mr. Turner and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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