This is a SUPER detailed tutorial on Golf Nutrition.
In this new tutorial you’ll learn:
In addition, you will learn step-by-step:
We include a lot of this information as part of our Golf Workout Program.
Let’s dive right in.
How to create a custom golf nutrition plan.
A buyer's guide to the proper resistance bands
FREE DOWNLOAD: A sample golf nutrition plan
Leg exercises for golf using resistance bands
Many times when we begin with an online client at Signum Golf, not only are they looking to perform better on the course.
They also want to build some lean muscle and even get some of the aesthetic benefits that come with hitting the gym more.
Exercise is key but there comes a point of diminishing returns from a golf workout program if you aren’t also paying attention to your nutrition.
It’s like buying a Ferrari but putting 87 Octane in that pony!
Nutrition for golf is a neglected facet in the game and here is why:
Trust me I get it! And I do all those things from time to time.
But this is a post about performing on the course, shooting lower scores, and the role nutrition has in that equation.
If you are reading this post, chances are you are looking to gain an edge.
From an outsider’s perspective, golf isn’t as intense as say:
But, it is a physical activity and what you put in is what you get out.
And although it may not feel as intense as other sports your heart rate may beg to differ, especially in a competitive environment.
Interestingly enough, my Whoop Band shows that my heart rate gets as high as 120bpm vs. a workout peak of around 160bpm.
(or maybe I am just a nervous wreck.)
Let’s briefly discuss some basics of golf performance and nutrition.
There is something that is called a Glycemic Index (GI):
It is an index that ranks how much your blood sugar level will spike when consuming food.
Here’s the deal:
It really is affected by the different types of carbohydrates you consume on (and off) the course.
We can categorize most carbs as Low, Medium, or High on the GI index:
Here is what happens when you consume high GI food:
The same can be said of snacks found on the golf course that are highly refined and loaded up with carbs and sugar.
You may be asking:
What about protein and fat?
Dont worry, we will talk about that in the next chapter.
Here is the simple truth:
You need to drink more water!
Most human beings should aim to drink at least 80 ounces of water per day.
Just like food, hydration has a direct impact on your performance on the golf course.
To drink more water on the course here are some tips:
And here is the low down on most “sports” drinks…they are just sugar bombs plain and simple.
So at the end of the day just stick to water! Period.
I am going to end this chapter with a bit of advice to the wise.
For example, Bryson DeChambeau has obviously been making waves in the golf world for his diet and workout routine that has helped him add size, speed, and distance.
But before you think about copying anyone you need to do some research.
Take for example the 7 protein shakes and dozens of protein bars he eats during the course of a day.
It seems to be that he has sponsorship from Orgain, the protein shake company.
But further examination would show that there is a lot of added sugar (11g) and when you multiply that by the 7 per day he consumes.
It is WAY too much!
In fact the American Heart Association recommends men only consume about 36g per day vs. Bryson’s 77g!
The same holds true for many protein bars out there on the market.
They add a bunch of sugar & sugar substitutes to make them taste good.
For example, the nutrition label below is from the dozens of GoMacro bars he consumes throughout the.
Loaded up with MORE sugar & its substitutes
Three more thing I want to point out. (I am going to breakdown his diet in a later post)
One, Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, no dietary supplements, including protein powders, are regulated by the FDA to make sure they are safe or effective.
Two, there is no requirement that supplements be tested to make sure they contain what the labels say they contain.
Third, there is a limit on how much protein the body can absorb in one sitting.
Below is a picture of Bryson’s Breakfast
Too much protein over the long run can put a lot of strain on the kidneys…but what do I know…he won a U.S. Open and I write blog posts?
Protein is often thought of as “the good macronutrient” (macro for short).
Most people don’t get enough of it.
I would say it’s not the “good macro” the others aren’t bad per se when used in proper proportion.
But more on that later.
Here is the low down of what protein does:
Not all protein is created equal, for most you want to sway towards lean proteins that are found in fish, chicken turkey, leaner types of pork, eggs, some cheeses, etc.
Red meat, bacon, most other cheeses, dairy, high fat pork such as ribs, etc are higher in fat and have a large amount of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), which is no beuno in the long run.
As a baseline, for most golfers, I would start off with protein consumption of about 30% of your calorie intake.
More on that later.
Because of its name, fat gets a bad wrap.
But here is the deal with “fat” that still is ingrained in the American psyche.
Many of which are just plain WRONG!
Makes ya think huh?
Now, the American public is wising up to the effects of sugar.
We know more now and here is the deal with fat:
As a baseline, we recommend starting with about 30% of your caloric intake compromising fat.
But not all fat is created equal.
Stick to fat sources from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oils, and butter.
Avoid fats that come with fried foods, baked goods, and junk food.
Fats are good because they are a dense source of calories and will leave you feeling full.
Despite all the low carb fads such as Atkins (re-incarnated as Keto) these days, CARBS ARE NOT BAD!
It is processed carbs we want to avoid.
Carbs do the following for your body on the golf course:
Gravitate to carbs that are low in sugar and high in fiber.
They produce less of an insulin spike and all the bad stuff discussed in Chapter 1.
This means, eat vegetables, some fruits, and whole grains.
You want to have a higher amount of non-starchy carbs such as broccoli, carrots, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, etc.
As a guiding principle, shop the perimeters of the grocery store and avoid a lot of the boxed items in the middle aisles.
Carbohydrates should comprise about 40% of our golf nutrition plan.
(The food in green is great. Avoid the ones in red and consume the foods in yellow in moderation.)
Now it is time to put all this into action and show you how to create a golf nutrition plan.
I will show you how to build a healthy balanced meal.
And then I will show you some healthy balanced snacks for the course and how to plan for your round on the course.
Let’s dive in.
At Signum Golf I recommend the following as a starting point;
Once you establish that as your baseline then you can:
The first thing needed is to calculate the number of servings of each macronutrient needed in a day.
This varies on a person by person basis.
To make it simple we will use two different methods to find a range.
You will find the first method tends to be a little low on the calorie count.
And the second method will be a bit high.
This approach is more involved because you will need to know your body composition numbers such as:
This approach would be good for someone that loves data. Loves a trackman, knows their spin rates, knows their launch angles, angle of attack, etc.
The first thing we need to calculate is your body fat percentage.
You will need a biometric machine such as a DEXA scan or Inbody machine.
With a simple google search, you should be able to find one in your area.
They can usually be found at local gyms, nutritionist/dietitian offices, and other wellness and fitness centers.
If you know your weight and body fat percentage (BF%) we can then determine the total servings of carbs, proteins, and fats you should include in your golf nutrition plan.
So using myself as an example we have:
Next, we need to apply an activity factor. As a guide, we included an activity factor chart below to give you a frame of reference.
I use an activity factor of about 1.10x (higher than the table’s range) because I exercise 4x a week as well as walk a round of golf carrying my bag (I’m old school).
Next, we multiply the activity factor by lean body mass to get the total number of grams of protein per day this person will consume.
In our case, it is 170 grams or (155lbs x 1.10 activity factor).
Next, we divide 170 by 7 to get a total of 24 servings of protein in a day.
The final step is to calculate the total servings of carbohydrates and fat as well.
And it’s simple.
It’s the same as protein! So 24 servings
Therefore, I need to consume:
To go down the rabbit hole further so you can see the 40% carb, 30% protein and 30% fat breakdown:
Therefore, in this example, i will be consuming:
And to confuse further, protein and carbs both contain 4 calories per gram, whereas fat contains 9 calories per gram.
So here is the daily calorie breakdown:
It is a total calorie intake of 2,184.
Low and behold the calorie intake is split at 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein & 30% fat!
Got all that?
It’s probably harder to calculate than strokes gained.
If you don’t want to go through all that math, just try a calculator that does it for you.
THIS ONE from Precision Nutrition is great!
Using the calculator it would spit out the following goals for me:
This method tends to be a little on the high side. But no worries
My advice to anyone trying to DIY their golf nutrition plan is to use a macro calculator as a baseline tool and maybe haircut it a little
If you use the calculator method we will need to reverse engineer the approach to get to the number of servings per day and per meal.
Recall from earlier that there are:
Therefore that would equate to:
P.S. there may be some rounding errors in there.
It’s like hitting a tee shot in golf.
You dont need to be down the middle every single time.
Just get it in play and if you hit the fairway that’s awesome.
I say this because I see people obsess over their macro breakdown, their calorie intact, etc.
A bit of OCD comes into play.
When in fact what they are doing with their golf nutrition is 90%-95% correct. Imagine that, 90%-95% of your shots on the golf course can going the way you plan.
The next step to creating your golf nutrition program is to time out your meals.
As a general rule, you want to strive to consume something every 2-3 hours.
This can be daunting at first but what we are trying to do is:
As a starting point I recommend:
5-6 meals throughout the day.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be where the majority of your servings lie.
And you will throw in 2-3 snacks throughout the day.
So using the 24 serving example.
This adds up to 24.
But let’s say 6 servings on the golf course is a bit much then you can also add in another snack. That would look like the following:
We added another AM snack and made the lunch a bit later but they still sum up to 24 servings.
Now that we know:
It is time to actually construct a meal/snack.
Break out the calculator. I would also recommend a FREE MyFitnessPal account.
To do this, recall that:
In this example, I am going to construct a 3 serving snack.
That would include:
To see it in action using my fitness pal see the video below:
So when you are building out your nutrition plan keep the following in mind:
Something to keep in mind on days when you are playing golf.