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Fueling Your Golf Game

Apr 8 2024
By Amber Letourneau
5 min read
Healthy Food laid out in a tabletop presentation

What to eat before, during, and after a round for adequate fueling, performance, and recovery.

You’re likely focused on boosting your flexibility, strength, precision hand-eye coordination, and mental toughness. But did you know that if you are not fueling your body for peak performance, or are dehydrated, your scores will likely suffer.

How to Fuel for Peak Golf Performance

Ready to level up your golf game? While most of us are focused on improving flexibility, strength, precision hand-eye coordination, and mental toughness, achieving our peak performance has a lot to do with how we nourish our bodies. Proper nutrition and hydration is crucial for long-lasting energy, sharp focus, and concentration on the course – and how you fuel before, during, and after your round matters. Find expert tips below for your best season yet. 

Before Your Round

No matter how early your tee time is, it’s never a good idea to skip breakfast. Strive to eat a balanced meal three to four hours before your round. Don’t have time to sit down to a full meal? Opt for a small snack 30 to 60 minutes before you hit the links. Examples include:

  • Low-fat cottage cheese with sliced peaches
  • Poached egg on whole grain English muffin with tomato slices
  • Whole grain cereal, low-fat milk and banana
  • Berries and low-fat yogurt
  • Whole wheat pita sandwich with sliced turkey and cheddar cheese
  • Natural peanut butter and jelly sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread
  • Whole grain waffles with 100% maple syrup and low-fat milk
  • Whole wheat pasta with chicken and vegetables

On the Course

To sustain energy – and prevent low blood sugar spikes – be sure to stay hydrated and eat every three to five hours (three small meals and two to three snacks). If walking the course, choose snacks with 25-30 grams carbohydrate every 45-60 minutes. While it can be tempting to grab a hot dog, pizza slice, or beer, opt for healthier options with roughly 25-30 grams of carbohydrate. Examples include:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 orange
  • 2 plums
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit
  • 2 fig bars
  • 1/4 whole wheat sandwich with almond butter and fruit preserves
  • 1/2 energy bar (RX bar, Clif bars, Lara bars)
  • 16-ounce sports drink (Clif, Hammer Heed, Liquid IV)

If opting for food as a carbohydrate source instead of a sports drink, ensure adequate hydration by drinking 4-8 ounces of water every 15 minutes.

After Your Game

Once you step off the greens, it’s all about your recovery game. Within 30 minutes of completing your round, refuel with a snack high in carbohydrate and small amount of protein (10-20 grams). Avoid high-fat foods and alcohol, as this could lead to slower recovery and sluggishness. Examples include:

  • Low-fat organic chocolate milk
  • Low-fat fruited organic yogurt
  • Whole wheat crackers with string cheese with 100% fruit juice
  • Cereal with milk, raisins, and an apple
  • Cottage cheese on baked sweet potato or sliced fruit
  • Whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, fig bar, low-fat milk
  • Corn, brown rice, and bean burrito
  • Whole grain bagel with peanut butter and fruit
  • Brown rice with chicken and vegetable stir fry

On and Off the Greens

Eating a balanced and varied diet is a good idea all of the time – whether it’s a golf day or not. Boost your energy and optimize your nutrition to fuel your body by incorporating quality carbs, protein, fats, and more – while also straying away from fad diets. 

Whole Grains and Starches: Prioritize carbohydrates like barley, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta to sustain energy levels and prevent fatigue. Opt for whole grains over refined options for longer-lasting energy.

Protein: Incorporate lean protein sources such as fish, poultry, and beans to aid in muscle recovery and provide sustained energy. Protein also helps in slowing down carbohydrate digestion for lasting fuel.

Colorful Produce: Boost your antioxidant intake by incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Aim for two servings of fruit and at least three servings of vegetables daily to support overall health and performance recovery.

Healthy Fats: Maintain balanced blood glucose levels with moderate consumption of healthy fats like cold-pressed olive oil and nuts. These fats also aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

See Hydrating for Your Golf Game for tips on how to hydrate properly. 

Headshot of Amber Letourneau, RD, BSN.

About the Expert

Headshot of Amber Letourneau, RD, BSN.

Amber Letourneau

RD, Health & Performance Dietician

Amber provides nutrition education via one-on-one consultations, presentations, or workshops, and informal talks with guests.

Read Full Bio