What should golfers eat during a round?

Are you loading your bag with the correct snacks? We’ll let professional nutrition coach Phil Holmes be the judge of that

The traditional pattern for golfers is to wait until the halfway house to refuel. As I’ve covered before, loading up with bacon butties and coffee isn’t the best way to set up a strong back nine. So what should golfers eat during a round?

The body will use glycogen stored in the muscles as we play. Remember we will also be out on the course for 3-4 hours and most will walk the course. We want to retain energy throughout the round. Carbohydrates are therefore going to form the basis of most snacks and you want to regularly drip feed. Protein and fats require more work for the body to break down and empty from the stomach at a slower rate.  

So, what should golfers eat during a round? Here are the seven best snacks with which to load up your bag…

1. Fruit. Along with vegetables should be a big part of our daily intake. In a round it’s good to start with a banana, apple or pear in the first third of the round. We don’t need to carry a fruitbowl as we play but as fruit will digest easily and provide a suitable energy release, eating this early will help.

2. Nuts & raisins. Just a handful will add a quick release of energy from the dried fruit plus a feeling of being nicely satisfied with the nuts. Whilst the latter are protein and fat dense, the small quantity won’t inhibit future fuelling. 

3. Flapjack. Homemade would be preferable but shop bought is easy to carry and suits busy people. The oats are a great source of carbohydrate whereas the sugars will provide a faster release of energy. Choosing yoghurt or chocolate covered bars will add unnecessary calories and slow down the release from the stomach given the extra fats.

4. Sandwiches or wraps. Splitting this into halves and eating with a 6 hole gap can help spread the wealth. Chicken or tuna provide protein sources that are readily digested. Adding lots of salad will possibly cause bloating or gas due to the slower moving content in the stomach so avoid this until post round. 

5. Malt loaf. You won’t need a huge quantity but for those who like sweet food this is easily transported and has a high glycaemic index rating which means, down the back nine, it can help boost your energy levels.

6. Nairns oat & fruit biscuits. For the vegans or gluten-free golfers out there, these are tasty, packed in fours and carb rich. You can spread the intake across the last 12 holes if you go with fruit as a starter. 

7. Water. Not always regarded as a snack but the one vital nutrient for all golfers. Keep hydrated. Keep switched on and try to set a plan to drink on every even tee or at least on holes 4, 8, 12 and 16 if you find this switch a challenge! Adding squash will increase the carbohydrate content and thus increase energy.

If you have any golf nutrition questions for Phil you can get in touch via his website or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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