Golf nutrition is an often overlooked aspect of the game. As athletes, many take it as a given that they need to stay in shape. However, there’s a lot more to ideal fitness than simply maintaining a lean, muscular build.
The most common nutritional deficiency among competitive golfers may be costing you strokes!
One of our prominent PGA Tour clients made all the necessary commitments to improving his mental skills over a full year, doing everything we asked. He took his game to another level, and made significant moves up the money list. Then it started. We began seeing unexplainable periods when, even though he tried, he could not successfully apply the skills we knew he had. He was loosing strokes, sliding down the list and needed to find out why.
After a few questions we ruled out mental blocks, stress, or other “personal problems”. His life appeared balanced and free of conflict. Plus, he had recently gotten a good report from a medical check-up.
What next? We decided to try a nutritional assessment to see if we could find a nutritional deficiency or biochemical reason for why he was having these strange bouts of anger, poor focus and difficulty making decisions.
We used a unique test and report offered by an innovative medical doctor in Vermont. It would require some of the same blood-work he had gotten for his recent physical, but this holistic doctor would look at the results with very different parameters. She would be looking at wellness rather than illness.
We got the results and there it was! Dehydration due to a common nutritional deficiency. And in his case, it was more than mild, but –fortunately– less than extreme. It was considered moderate dehydration by holistic measures. Not enough to flag illness but definitely enough to cause the symptoms we were seeing.
We guided him in making the needed corrections and gave him tips for prevention. Within one week he began feeling like his competitive self. Within two weeks, he won a tournament!
We were not surprised when his long time caddie thanked us and said “the win was great, but what’s even better is that we are having fun out there again”. But we were a bit surprised when his wife thanked us for making him so much easier to live with!
Similar scenarios have since been repeated over the years with many of our other professional and top amateur golfers as they begin experiencing similar problems. When cognitive efforts fail, we look at the body chemistry and golf nutrition. And the results are always interesting. Golfers are usually surprised when they have proper fitness, but lack ideal golf nutrition.
Sometimes we find other nutritional factors to be out of balance, like a calcium or an amino acid deficiency, or adrenal fatigue, or high toxin levels, or hormonal imbalances. And sometimes, we find it is a combination of these things. But almost every time, we find some level of dehydration! Even with players who insist it cannot be a problem because they drink water or sports drinks during their rounds.
Why is even mild dehydration a problem for golfers… and what can you do? This is extremely important for multi-day tournaments and Q School.
Early symptoms of dehydration can mimic a poor mental game. What appears to be a bad attitude, poor concentration, impatience, or difficulty managing emotions, is sometimes actually low cell function from a nutritional deficiency! And it will definitely cost you strokes.
Electrolytes for Golf Nutrition
You need all 5 of these important electrolytes!
You must keep your body replenished with enough water and adequate electrolytes to keep your cells talking. Water alone will usually just keep you going to the bathroom rather than hydrate you. So without both water and electrolytes, the fluids within the your cells become diminished and as a result, will stop effectively working and communicating with each other, leading to these symptoms. Once you take the simple steps to hydrate yourself, your symptoms will be reduced and your ability to maintain mental toughness on the golf course will improve.
Before you ask, we do not recommend Gatorade or Powerade. While there are certainly worse things you could drink, these types of products usually do not have enough or all of the needed electrolytes that you need to replenish (especially if you get those little white sweat lines on your hat or the underarms of your shirt).
They have low amounts of only two electrolytes and loads of sugar. It has been said that the sugar or corn syrup used to sweeten them reduces the absorption of the electrolytes they do have, and can draw water into the intestines and away from the rest of the body, perhaps even increasing the risk of dehydration. More troubling than that is the effect of excessive sugar on your golf skills!
If you are in a tournament and feel you may be dehydrated, you can do what we have asked our clients to do for many years now: find a local grocery store or drug store, locate the baby products and purchase a supply of Pedialyte for the week. You will do best to choose the unsweetened formula for infants– if you can handle the taste–and drink several servings before and after your rounds.
Other Choices for Electrolytes
After considerable searching, and reading lots and lots of labels, we found a great product produced by Trace Minerals that is consistently formulated with a good balance of the essential electrolytes plus lots of trace minerals, and is consistently made with high quality ingredients to improve your golf nutrition.
We get them in tablet form for our players who already drink lots of water and just need the electrolytes. We also have a variety of fizzy, flavored powder packets to be added to a glass or bottle of water for those who want something with more taste than water (and that tastes better and is more convenient than the pedialyte).
More products are coming out all the time and with some checking, you may find a great one on your own. Just be sure you read the label to see if it uses quality ingredients and has adequate amounts of all the essential electrolytes, without the sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
Other Golf Nutrition Benefits of Using Electrolyte Formulas
You may be one of the players who will actually notice clearer thinking and more energy within minutes of taking the electrolytes! Or, a marked increase in stamina. Oh, and as a bonus, you may get fewer colds because a good electrolyte formula will increase your intake of antioxidants.
But best of all, with improved golf nutrition, you will no longer be loosing strokes to low electrolytes and dehydration.
So now you know the most common nutritional deficiency of competitive golfers and what to do about it!
[Important Note: If you have high blood pressure, heart or kidney problems please check with your doctor before increasing your intake of electrolytes.]
We have helped hundreds of competitive golfers, and have helped to win 31 Major championships. Contact us if you want to explore this aspect of your health and performance. Our online coaching system can help you improve all aspects of your golf nutrition and fitness, as well as the golf mental game.