Good nutrition for golfers - eat your way to a better game

At the weekend the British Open took Portrush by storm as the North Coast welcomed the world’s top golfers to our little corner of the world.
Whether you aspire to be one of the world’s top pros or just want to take your weekend game to the next level, diet and nutrition could help you tee off to a good start.

Here are some ideas to help you up your game.
:: Fuel yourself well: Combining slow release, low GI carbohydrates with a good quality protein source can help keep your energy levels sustained for longer.
:: Start your day with protein: Eggs, natural yoghurt, nuts, seeds or cottage cheese with breakfast will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and could help improve your concentration on the green, especially if you are playing for a few hours.
:: Pack a snack: Don’t rely on grabbing a snack from the golf club, but instead pack a nutritious snack into your golf bag to keep you going. Low-sugar nut bars, some trail mix, or an apple and a handful of nuts would be perfect.
:: Keep well hydrated: Aim to drink a couple of litres of water a day. Avoid sugary drinks that give a ‘quick hit’, but can leave you feeling fatigued and lethargic.
:: Oil your joints: Essential fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds are an essential part of any golfers diet. These omega 3 and omega 6 fats help support joint health, balance inflammation and fuel the brain too.
:: Coffee break: Some players benefit from a caffeine hit halfway around the course. Caffeine has been shown to improve concentration and fight fatigue.

:: Refuel for recovery: After your round, refuel your body well to help support recovery. Pack half your plate with vegetables, including at least one portion for green leafy vegetables as a source of magnesium to help support muscle function.
Include some lean protein like fish or chicken and refuel your glycogen with pasta, potatoes or rice – ideally choosing wholegrain versions if available.

:: What do top golfers eat?
Local favourite, Rory McIlroy’s breakfast of Greek yogurt and berries with poached eggs and wholewheat toast sets him up well for the day, and helps to keep him going until lunchtime, when he usually has a bed of rice with chicken or fish and vegetables.
“I try to eat as healthy as I can. Golf’s one of these sports where you don’t have to be the biggest, but you do need a certain level of strength. I’m fuelling my body for what it needs to do, and no more than that.”
Tiger Woods confesses to having a healthy appetite. When asked about his diet, he said “If I’m at home, then I eat five to seven meals in a day. I’m always hungry. I struggle with keeping my weight up so if I don’t eat enough then I typically lose weight very quickly.”
Tiger will have dined well on the north coast, as he says his favourite meal is an Irish staple: “My favourite is steak and potatoes. Just like my dad, steak and potatoes, little bit of black pepper.”
Phil Mickelson recently tweeted that he had lost 15lbs on what he called “A 10 day hard reset” before his visit to Portrush for this week’s British Open. He describes doing a six day fast with a special coffee blend for wellness and plenty of water.
“I don’t know if it’s going to help me play better or not, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to try to get my best back,” he says.

This blog post first appeared as an article in The Irish News on Saturday 20th July 2019.