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December 9, 2023
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 min read

Nutrition for Golf Masters Special

It's Masters week and everyone at Hexis HQ is incredibly excited! To mark the occasion we’re going to bring you some exclusive golf content starting right now.

Nutrition for Golf Masters Special

Golfers of all levels will always agree on one thing, golf is hard. At the elite end of the game winning and losing is often determined by a single shot over a four-day competition period, of which your position at the mid-point of the event will determine if you make the “cut” and get the chance to play over the weekend. Given the margin for error is so low, nutrition plays an essential role to support peak performance with the pro’s. 

As a Ryder Cup nutritionist, I am often asked what’s best to eat and why, as well as how much we should be having and how best to time this. Here I’ll give you some simple, strategic and effective advice to keep you at your best on the course just like the pro’s.

Although many of you reading this may have different routines, the primary goals remain the same:

1)    Keep energy levels stable & consistent

2)   Optimise mental focus

3)   Avoid feelings of hunger, weakness and tiredness

Now let's look at each of these key areas of focus individually.

Keeping energy levels stable & consistent

As a round can often take 4hrs+, it’s important we choose the right foods to avoid big peaks and troughs in on-course energy levels. The biggest mistake many can make is consuming very sugary or high glycaemic index* (GI) foods early in the round. These foods lead to a big spike in our blood sugar, followed shortly by a crash. These crashes can, at times, leave us feeling low on energy with poor concentration. 

To avoid this, priority should be given to foods that have a lower GI such as oats. Lower GI foods provide a slower and steadier release of fuel during our round. The image illustrates the difference in higher versus lower GI foods on our blood sugar.

*Glycaemic index is a measure of how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating a particular type of food.

Fat also provides us with a slow release of energy for lower intensity activities such as golf. So pairing some low GI carbohydrates, like oats, with some quality fats, such as peanut/almond butter, nuts, seeds, etc. provides a great base of our on course snacking to keep our energy levels stable.

Optimising Mental Focus

Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. These little building blocks not only help build and repair our muscles, but they also help our brains produce neurotransmitters (a chemical messenger). An adequate supply of these messengers help to improve mental focus, but it is important to note more is not necessarily better! Including a small to moderate amount of protein in 1-2 of your on-course snacks is perfect. Caffeine can also help mental focus as well as reduce feelings of fatigue on-course but is highly individual and should always be tried in practice before competition.  

Avoiding feelings of hunger, weakness and tiredness

There is nothing worse than getting through then turn and these feelings hit, because when they do a great round can go very wrong! To avoid these feelings you should identify a fuelling pattern that works for you! For most this is 2-4 snacks distributed evenly throughout the round. Again, best to trial during a practice round and refine before your competition. 

Secondly, once you know the pattern that works for you make food choices that are higher in fibre and some protein to help induce feelings of satiety and keep hunger at bay. High fibre foods include oats, nuts, seeds and fruit for example. Generally speaking each snack should contain a combination of the above advice and can be summed up in a simple formula:

Low GI/High Fibre Carbs + Moderate Protein + Quality Fat = Great On-Course Snack

However, if you do have a sweet tooth then something a bit more sugary should be saved for the second half of the back 9, usually 14 onwards to give your round a final boost! Sample meal patterns and snack ideas can be seen below:

For those of you who like to get in the kitchen, download our recipe e-book below with some of our recommended on-course fuelling recipes.

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