Smash factor, left-hand low, inside-to-in, conservation of angular momentum… golf’s full of confusing terms and techniques but there’s one part of the game I’ll never understand, no matter how hard I try: the eating habits of players.
Why do Aussie club golfers fork out hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on equipment and lessons with coaches in a bid to play better, and then go and undo all that hard work with poor nutrition the day they tee it up?
I know what you’re probably thinking, What’s nutrition got to do with anything? Well, what makes what we eat and drink out on the fairways even more critical than other sports is the amount of time you are actually outside playing. Golf can take up to five hours and requires a high level of mental and fine motor skills to perform at your peak. Without the necessary nutrition in your body, those mental and fine motor skills can’t function at the level required.
Think about it, that run of three-pointers on the back nine was going well until – BAM! – out of nowhere you lost concentration and got an attack of the yips. You had no idea where it came from and the uncertainty clogging the space between your ears made getting back in the zone impossible, particularly standing over those slippery three-footers. Little did you know that the chocolate bar and sports drink you grabbed at the halfway house had kicked in, throwing your body into a full-blown low blood sugar crash. Yep, there was a reason you started yawning between shots and felt light-headed. Not exactly conducive to good scoring, eh?
The same thing happened the week before when you skipped breakfast, denying your body the necessary nutrition it needed to complete the seven-kilometre trek over 18 holes error-free. I liken it to not filling up your petrol tank before driving the Nullarbor … it’s just a bad idea.
So I’m sorry to break it to you, but there’s nothing wrong with that new $500 putter in your bag. It’s the sweet-toothed sucker at the other end, and those back-nine blunders are going to keep haunting you until you make a change.
My advice is simple – make better food choices not only at breakfast time before you play, but with the snacks you put in your golf bag. The Rules of Golf state you can only have 14 clubs in the bag, but you can cheat the system and play a ‘15th club’ with smart nutrition.
Firstly, ditch those sugar-packed cereals and breads covered in more sugar on the side. And stop washing it down with even more sugar in the form of fruit juice. Instead, eat a balance of protein, like a couple of eggs or Greek yogurt with some slow-burning carbohydrates such as beans or oats. Get some good fats like avocado or almond spread on sourdough or rye bread to ensure you have the energy and mental focus to play for a full round.
If you’re short on time in the morning, I understand. It’s why I created The Man Shake, a meal replacement drink that’s perfect for breakfast on the go or as a golf-course snack. It has all the nutrition, is high in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and low in sugar. In fact, it has 84 percent less sugar than other meal-replacement shakes. That’s up to 88 fewer teaspoons of sugar per week. Think of the weight you’ll lose eliminating that crap from your system, let alone the shots on your scorecard through better concentration and stamina.
When you’re on the course, give the sugary drinks the flick and save your game (and back pocket) by simply drinking water with a pinch of sea salt. Swap the chocolate bars for some nuts or fruit and I’ll bet you’ll avoid those nasty sugar yips and see more of those three-pointers.
Why more golf is doing you good
A lot of people find it hard to get moving, as their office jobs have them sitting down for long periods of time. However, you don’t have to overthink it or worry about gyms; you just need to get moving as our ancestors did.
How? Play more golf.
Build the movement back into your day by walking a few extra holes each week. Research has found men who did “other essential daily activities” for about 30 minutes a day burned more calories and lost more weight than men who ran up to 56 kilometres a week and didn’t do much other activity.
Amazingly, one study found that people who walked for a total of 30 minutes a day experienced a 47 percent reduction in their level of depression. Walking has the lowest dropout rate from any other exercises because it is so easy to do. So come on guys, pick yourself up, grab your clubs and start moving.
• Former NRL star Adam MacDougall is a qualified health, nutrition and fitness coach plus a two-time best-selling health and fitness author. Read here for more nutrition advice from Adam.