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Hydrating for a Better Golf Game

Apr 9 2024
By Amber Letourneau
4 min read
A man drinking water while playing golf.

Quench your thirst out on the links with these tips and tricks.

Nutrition is a crucial component to prevent fatigue on the course – but making sure you're consuming adequate fluids is just as important. It's essential to consume enough fluids to prevent dehydration, and play well on the course.

What Dehydration Looks Like

A few warning signs of dehydration to be aware of:

  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Dark urine
  • Dry mouth
    The feeling of thirst is an indicator that you're most likely already dehydrated. In severe cases of dehydration, an individual may experience hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels), which can be a serious medical situation. Symptoms of hyponatremia include: lethargy, muscle cramping, mental confusion, and seizures. To prevent hyponatremia, replace the electrolytes lost in sweat with plenty of fluids.

How to Hydrate

It's essential to have a game plan not only for nutrition but also for fluids, especially if it’s going to be hot out. Plan for fluid intake before, during, and after your round to prevent dehydration. Here are some tips on how to stay hydrated while playing golf:

  • Carry water or a sport drink with you. Some courses may be limited on the beverages they carry and you may have trouble finding beverages while on the course.
  • Drink by schedule, not by thirst cues. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
  • Pouring water over your head does not lower your body temperature – you need to consume the beverage to help lower body temperature, if needed.
  • Don’t gulp water, have small sips throughout the round for proper hydration.
  • Colder can be better. To support the management of core body temperature in hot environments, keep drinks extra cold or even half frozen.
  • Avoid alcohol on the course. Alcohol can contribute to dehydration by making an individual urinate more and does not provide essential electrolytes.
  • Avoid flavored, sugary beverages. Try a water infused drink with fresh fruit or a sports drink to encourage adequate fluid intake.

How to Get Enough Fluids

Ideally, try to get enough fluids in before a round. The goal is to make sure the body is fully hydrated prior to hitting the course. One mouthful is roughly the equivalent of one ounce. Try to consume 2-4 milliliters per pound of body weight (so, for a 150-pound person, that would be 300-600 milliliters, or 10-20 fluid ounces) about two to four hours prior to a round of golf. Sodium-rich foods or fluids prior to round may help with fluid retention during the round itself. Immediately before round, consume 2-16 fluid ounces, every hour during the round, get 13-27 fluid ounces, and after the round, replenish with 1.25-1.5 liters for every kilogram of body weight lost.

How to Replenish Electrolytes

While water is helpful for fluid intake in the beginning of the round, you'll most likely need to have either some sort of electrolyte snack or beverage in the middle of the round to replace electrolytes. Sports drinks can replenish fluids, electrolytes, and carbohydrates if you've been exercising longer than 30-45 minutes, especially if you are sweating. After the round, you can use sports drink, gels, or salty foods, such as pretzels or salted nuts, to help restore electrolytes.

Interested in making your own sports drink? Check out our Golden Citrus Sports Drink for a delicious, hydrating recipe.


Thomas, D. Travis, Erdman, Kelly Anne, Burke, Louis, M. (2016). Nutrition and Athletic 2016 Performance Position Paper. Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, (pgs 543 – 568).

Trangmar, Steven J., Gonzalez-Alonso, Jose. (2019) Heat, Hydration and the Human Brain, Heart and Skeletal Muscles. Journal of Sports Medicine (69-85).

Bergeron, MF, Bahr, R., et al. (2012) International Olympic Committee Consensus Statement on Thermoregulatory and Altitude Challenges for High-Level Athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine (770-779).

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