Whoop | Golf | Sleep | Recovery | Performance
Hey gang, in this post I am going to analyze the role my sleep plays in playing better golf.
I am going to show you
- How many hours of sleep I got before each round of golf.
- The quality of my sleep.
- How recovered I was heading into each round of golf.
- And finally, how well I played.
This is a running post that I will update from time to time to see the long-term correlations between sleep recovery and golf performance..
Let’s get started!
How the idea of analyzing sleep and golf came about.
Month 1 with the Whoop Band on the Golf Course.
A summary of my sleep stats for recovery and Golf data using the Whoop Band
How the idea of analyzing sleep and golf performance came about.
It was late summer 2020 and a lot of things in the world of golf were going on.
The PGA tour was playing with no fans, players were testing positive for COVID-19 and detecting it via their WHOOP bands.
And in the Connors’ household, two things were happening.
- My 3-year old daughter was coming into our bed in the middle of the night and constantly kicking me in the back.
- When that wasn’t happening my 4-year old son was having some nightmares and waking us in the middle of the night.
But back to golf talk.
By coincidence (as kids often do) this would ALWAYS happen the night before I was playing golf.
For reference, I only get to play once a week because of obligations with running an online gym as well as a golf fitness business, taking and picking the kids up from school, etc.
(I’m trying to get that up to 2x a week but don’t tell my wife…shhh)
Anyways, I started to notice that I would play like crap on nights when I slept like crap.
- I was making poor club selections.
- Trying to hit shots out of lies that are just too difficult.
- I was falling apart on the back 9.
- My tempo started to get off around hole 11. When this starts to happen, the good old snap hook = OB & re-tee is prevalent.
- And by hole 15 I felt exhausted.
For reference, I am a 6 handicap which basically means I can shoot anywhere from a 75 to a 95 (you get the deal)!
The Whoop Band was making waves in the golfing community at this time. And I had been hearing about it from some of my CrossFit friends who use it to track their recovery.
I wasn’t really paying it much attention.
But with COVID and the PGA tour, it was instrumental in detecting COVID with Nick Watney.
After shooting a frustrating +8 over par, 80 at my home course, with a 37 on the front followed by an absolute collapse on the back 9, I was driving home listening to THIS EPISODE Barstool Sports, Foreplay Pod.
(IF YOU ARENT LISTENING TO THIS PODCAST ON THE REGULAR THEN WE CAN’T BE FRIENDS!)
Anyways the boys on the pod had Will Ahmed, the founder of Whoop as a guest. It seems he is friends with one of the hosts, Riggs.
He was talking about his company and the impact it has had on the PGA Tour.
But what I found interesting is:
- Yes, players were using it to detect COVID (Ahmed claims it has an 80% detention rate of COVID-19)
- BUT players like JT, Rory, etc, were using it more to analyze their sleep and performance!
I tell my clients all the time, “if you aren’t getting quality sleep and proper nutrition then working out can be a fruitless endeavor”.
I believe the same goes true in every sport! Golf included.
So for my 39th birthday, my wife purchased me a Whoop band.
To keep me accountable, I decided to track my sleep and recovery the night before I play and in turn my performance on the course.
I intend to update this post until we get enough data to form some conclusions (if there are some?)
Here we go.
Month 1 with the Whoop Band on the Golf Course.
So I just opened my band a couple days before playing my first round with it.
I downloaded the app and synced it up.
I am one that has never worn a watch. I only really wear my wedding band and that is a silicone band.
So wearing the Whoop band was an adjustment for me.
Regardless, my first night of sleep was AWFUL!!!!
- My 3-year old daughter, Reese, came into our bed and decided to kick me in the back all night.
- By the end of the night, I was hanging off the with my face wedged against the night stand.
I got up at my usual time of 4:30am (yes I am an early rising psychopath)
I open up my Whoop app and Boom!
I got just under 6 hours of sleep, and had 21 disturbances!
From the data above, I got just under 7 hours of sleep with only 39 minutes in REM and 57 minutes in deep sleep. That’s when the body really repairs and the good stuff happens.
My disturbances were through the roof! And my recovery rate was 47%
So I headed out to the course that day.
The picture below is interesting.
It turns out I am an absolute mess on the first tee!
My heart rate gets as high as during my morning workout. I wasn’t playing with anyone and there was no one watching me …crazy!
Well, that day I shot an 80 on my home course.
I hit 5 fairways, 9 greens in reg, got up and down 3 times, and had 31 putts.
Not my best. I went 41 on the front with 2 double bogeys. And 39 on the back.
OK onto my second day with the Whoop Band on the course.
I played my home course again and shot a 79 going 5 over (41) on the front and 2 over (38) on the back.
As you can see, my recovery was a little better than last week.
65% recovered with only 11 disturbances and 6 and a half hours of sleep vs. a little under 6 hours last week.
I hit the ball better than my stats would suggest.
Only 3 fairways hit but I was driving it very well, especially on the back. Throughout the day, my missed fairways were off by only 2-3 yards.
So it is not like I was spraying it everywhere.
I only hit 8 greens in reg, down from 9.
But my short game was good.
I got up and down 5 times.
I have been working with the tour tempo app and it is really helping my chips and pitches.
My third round of golf with the Whoop Band
To sum up,
my recovery going into the round…
I am actually starting to notice a pattern here.
Every time I play golf, I am not fully recovered…hmmm
This blog is actually helping to shed light on that.
- This week I was only 45% recovered.
- I got a little under 6 hours of sleep.
- Disturbances was about 11 with REM and SWS (Deep Sleep) about 43 minutes and 1 hour and 7 minutes, respectively.
I shot another 79.
The round would have been higher but my short game and putting were awesome.
On the back 9, I made a TON of putts.
I went 41-38.
- I hit 7 fairways, 8 greens, had 28 putts with 8 one putts!
- Scrambling was good with 6 up and downs.
Going into the round I felt OK but you can see from my Whoop data that I was no where near recovered when I woke up.
If you look closely, the night before (Monday night) my recovery dropped dramatically. I had slept OK but I had ONE yes ONE drink! (Tequila with soda).
As a side note, the image on the left was taken later that weekend when I went to a going-away party.
I went out with some buddies for dinner and a couple of drinks.
Ended up going to bed 4 hours later than normal as well
Yes, booze really crushes your chances of recovery.
I found it to have the biggest impact on recovery.
My fourth round of golf with the Whoop Band
OK, this just confirms what I have been seeing.
My sleep the night before I play needs to improve!
I tend to feel great going into Monday and Tuesday but bomb out on Wednesday and Thursday.
You can see my sleep stats above but it was more of the same.
Another poor round of golf.
- Fairways hit – 7
- Greens in Reg – 6
- Total Putts – 33
- Up & Downs/Scrambling – 3 greens
- Score 83
I finally got some recovery going into a round and it showed! (sort of).
This week, I finally got some good sleep and recovered well.
- 81% recovered
- A little under 7 hours of sleep.
- Over an hour each of nice REM and Deep Sleep
- And only had 7 disturbances.
I was excited to see how I would play given that it would be the first round of golf with the Whoop Band where I was finally recovered well.
I show up to the course and…they aerated the greens…sucks.
On top of that, I had to cut my round off early to pick up the kids from school before the 3:30 pm cut off.
In summary, through 13 holes:
- I hit 5 fairways, but my missed fairways were only a couple yards off.
- 7 greens in regulation.
- 23 putts
- 3 up and downs
- I was 3 over through 13 holes when I had to cut and run.