Golf is a physically demanding sport that requires the body to be well-fueled to perform at its best. Eating before golf can provide energy and nutrients throughout the day and help you stay energized and focused on every shot. Proper nutrition before golf can also help improve performance, reduce fatigue, and prevent injury.
This article discusses the foods to eat and when to eat them to help you have a great round of golf.
Fuel Up Your Body with Macronutrients
Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and essential nutrients your body needs.
Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, provide a quick-burning energy source for physical activity. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole-grain bread or cereal, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, or beans. Lesser forms of carbohydrates include white bread, pasta, and sugary snacks.
After you work out and practice your swing, protein helps build muscle and gives you essential amino acids. Protein can also help you stay fuller longer, which could be helpful throughout the full 18 holes of golf. Lean meats such as chicken breast, turkey, or fish are excellent protein sources. You can also supplement your protein with shakes, jerky, or by adding protein powder to your foods.
Fats also provide energy and burn less quickly than carbohydrates. Fats help the body feel satiated; the best fat sources are found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. Lesser sources include processed snacks like chips, cookies, and pastries.
By eating a balanced mix of macronutrients before you play golf, you can make sure you have enough energy to last the whole round without feeling too full. Though dietary needs vary, a ratio of 45–65% carbs, 10–35% protein, and 20–35% fat is recommended.
Of course, consulting with your physician or a health nutritionist is critical to finding the correct ratio for you.
Foods and Meals to Eat Before Golfing
As mentioned, a balanced meal with a good carb-to-protein-to-fat ratio is ideal. Here are a few foods and meals to consider before your golf round. The goal of these meals is to a) keep you fueled (ideally without a mid-round crash) and b) not make you overly full or feel weighed down by the meal.
Well-balanced breakfasts before a round of golf include:
- Oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder, nuts, and fruit
- Greek yogurt with granola, fruit, and nuts
- Whole grain toast with nut butter or avocado
- Eggs with whole-grain toast, vegetables, and fruit
Foods to avoid include:
- Donuts or pastries
- White toast, sugary cereals, or other high-sugar processed foods
Lunch or Early Dinner
For a later tee time, when you need to fuel up for your round of golf around lunchtime, consider meals that include:
- Sandwich made with whole-grain or wheat bread with lean meats and cheeses
- Jerky or meat sticks with cheese, grape tomatoes, and nuts
- Salad with lean proteins like chicken, tuna, or salmon
- Broth-based soup made with vegetables and lean proteins
Foods to avoid include:
- Fast food burgers, tacos, or other processed foods
- Heavy pasta or anything with a cream-based sauce
- Fried foods
- Pizza, etc.
Sometimes, you have the mid-round munchies and need a little pick-me-up to continue your round of golf. Instead of waiting for the cart person to come around with chips and sugary beverages, consider packing some of these things to snack on:
- Jerky, seeds, or nuts
- Low-sugar granola bars
- Bananas or other fruit - watch for sugar content
- Low-sugar yogurt
- Lean meat slices like turkey or chicken
- Low-sugar protein shakes or bars
Mid-round snacks you might want to avoid include:
- Sugary or alcoholic beverages
- Pastries, donuts, or other high-sugar foods
- Chips or salty snacks
- Anything too heavy that might slog you down
- Overly processed foods like hotdogs or brats
Additionally, staying hydrated is critical as you take in the heat of the day, so make sure you drink plenty of water leading up to and during your golf outing. Alcohol can dehydrate you quickly, so if you do plan on imbibing, make it a point to add a bottled water chaser between each adult beverage. But if you’re feeling under the weather, try to practice indoors and refine your short game.
The timing of your pre-golf meal is an essential factor to consider when fueling up before a round. Generally, it’s recommended to have your meal 1-3 hours before tee time, depending on the size and complexity of the meal. Eating too close to teeing off can cause digestive discomfort and lead to fatigue during play while eating too far in advance can leave you feeling hungry and lacking energy just a few holes in.
Taking the turn onto the back nine is also a great time to enjoy your mid-round snack.
Proper nutrition before a game of golf is essential to providing your body with the fuel it needs to perform at its best. By eating a well-balanced meal with carbs, proteins, and fats, you can make sure your muscles get enough fuel and stay alert so you can play your best golf.
By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be sure to have all the energy needed for an enjoyable day of golf!
And when you can’t get out on the course, consider checking out a premier putting mat. They offer home-putting solutions right out of the box and are made of durable, sustainable materials that will have you improving your game for years to come.
One thing is certain: the perfect swing requires constant practice. That's where indoor putting greens come in handy. These golf aids are fantastic for fine-tuning your skills, especially during off-weather days or in the comfort of your own home. Their high-quality synthetic surface mimics the feel of real grass, giving you a realistic practice experience. With indoor putting greens, you can keep your game sharp while maintaining your nutritional balance, giving you the edge you need for your next round on the actual course. Let's raise a toast to your impending hole-in-one!