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A Golfer's Diet

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Fuel for the golfer.

“A good diet can not make an average athlete great, but a poor diet can make a great athlete average.”
-David Costill, Ball State University, Indiana

Golf is a lifetime sport that both men and women of all ages enjoy participating in. However, for the competitive golfer, it is a test of the athlete’s physical and mental endurance. While equipment and physical fitness are important to the game, a balanced diet is often the most overlooked aspect that all serious golfers must consider.


For golfers, a balanced diet begins with eating at least 50% of your total caloric intake from carbohydrates such as whole grains, breads, pastas, rice, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source during activity. It fuels the brain and nervous system, preserves protein while helping to burn fat. Consuming carbohydrates during activity helps maintain blood glucose levels, allowing the golfer to have improved concentration.

Protein is another important macronutrient to incorporate into the balanced diet. Have 6 to 8 ounces of protein daily, and choose lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, round or loin cuts of beef, beans or legumes. Protein is needed for growth and repair of muscles, and helps regulate body processes as enzymes and hormones.

Fat is the final macronutrient in the balanced diet. Fat, like carbohydrate, provides fuel for working muscles, but it is a more concentrated fuel source. Recommended fat intake is the same for athletes as for all healthy people – no more than 30% of your total calories coming from fat. This is approximately 4-5 servings of fat (based on 2000 calories). One serving of fat equals 1 teaspoon of oil or margarine, 6 nuts, or 2 teaspoons of peanut butter.


Hydration is an imperative component in the successful golfers game. Consuming adequate fluids before, during and after playing golf is beneficial. Even a slight decrease in bodyweight due to dehydration can affect your performance and result in fatigue & mental dullness. Consume approximately 8 oz of fluid before tee time. While golfing consume 4-8 oz of fluid every15-20 minutes or at every hole. If celebrating with alcoholic beverages is planned at the 19th hole, alternate fluid (nonalcoholic) with alcoholic drinks. Alcohol acts as a diuretic and actually increases fluid loss, so it is not a good choice for the replacement of fluids lost during the round of golf.

To help your performance try these nutrition tips as you eat for “peak performance!”


1 cup oatmeal
1 banana or 1 cup orange juice
1 cup skim milk or 1 cup nonfat yogurt
2 slices whole-wheat toast
2 teaspoons margarine

12 ounces Sports Drink
2 tablespoons peanut butter and crackers
1 piece of fruit
1 granola or cereal bar

Don’t forget to re-hydrate as mentioned above!
3-4 ounces grilled chicken breast
1 cup brown rice
1 cup steamed broccoli
1 cup mixed greens salad
2 teaspoons low fat dressing
1 cup fruit salad
These are just a few tips to jump start proper fueling as an important and integral part of your training program. Each athlete is unique and has different training schedules, food preferences, lifestyle factors, and weight concerns. For a more individualized assessment and recommendations for your needs submit a rquest at: www.GoLoGolFitness.com

About the Author

William Breland has been a Physical Therapist for over 25 years. He is the ONLY Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Therapy and Touring Golf Professional in the United States.


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