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What Should You Eat During a Round of Golf?

During 18 holes of golf, a golfer will walk in excess of 10,000 steps, will cover on average 6.5 miles and can burn up to 1000 calories. It’s not surprising that towards the end of the round we feel sluggish, tired and ready for a beer. However, finishing a round crawling up the 18th fairway doesn't have to be the story for you. With sufficient nutrition and hydration, 18 holes of golf should be a manageable task.

tiger woods eating nuts out of a bag wearing a white polo and black cap

‘’What should I eat during a round of golf?’’ Is a question I get asked often. My response to this is usually, ‘’What do you normally eat?’’ Of which the answer, most of the time, is ‘‘Not a lot.’’ This is the first piece of advice I can give. Most golfers do not eat or drink enough while on the course. Although some choices will be better, or worse, for your performance, in my opinion the worst thing you can do is not have enough. Some advice on how to start eating more is to start taking things you enjoy. I once played with a player who on the 10th tee pulled out half a cake from his bag. He went on to explain that his wife always bakes his favourite cake for him to take on the course as she’s worried he won't have the energy to get home. As he told the story, we all laughed while enjoying the cake. I can almost guarantee that he never forgot to eat his cake. In fact, I bet he couldn't wait to eat it. This is how I recommended you start making progress. Take things with you that you want to eat. And look forward to eating them. As I mentioned earlier, there will of course be ‘better’ things for us to eat, and there is some science to suggest that certain foods, at certain times, may provide us with optimal energy for all 18 holes.


dustin johnson eating a sandwich on the golf course wearing a blue polo shirt and a white cap

As general guidance, in the first 12 holes of the round, try to choose some foods that have a mixture of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Some examples include a sandwich, protein bars, fruits, nuts, etc. Try to have a mixture and choose those that you find easy to digest. As the round moves into the final third, this is where you can start reaching for the more sugary snacks. Maybe a chocolate bar or sugary energy drink. This can be what’s needed to give that boost through the final few holes. In terms of frequency, I generally recommend something every 4-6 holes. If you are likely to forget, mark it down on your scorecard as a reminder. Hydration is another area that is often neglected. Again, similar to the food, most golfers don't have enough. Dehydration is something you want to avoid at all costs. Fatigue, reduced skill, limited attention and focus; all symptoms of fatigue, all disastrous for golf performance. Water is great, but for longer periods and in hot weather opt for a drink with electrolytes to replenish what you are losing through sweat. In summary, most golfers are not eating and drinking enough during the round of golf. Before you look at WHAT you are having, start looking at how much. Choosing food and drinks you like and consuming them every 4-6 holes is a great way to go. If possible, delay the sugary treats for those final few holes.

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