Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic

Golf nutrition: what’s in your golf bag?

As a team from Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic heads off to take part in Sport Newcastle’s annual charity golf day at Matfen Hall (Friday, 18th September 2015), we examine nutrition: as important for golfers as it is for participants of any other sport.

Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic’s senior physiotherapist and resident golf fan, Steven Veitch, looks at golf nutrition in detail.


I am curious to know what food and fluid you put into your golf bag before you set out to play in a competition or practice round. Hopefully there is something more than just a bottle of water! Water may go some way to minimise dehydration – though in many situations it should not be your first choice of drink. In this blog, although hydration is equally important, I want to concentrate on what food you take out with you – hopefully you do take something, but are you making the best choices?

As a golfer you need to maintain your skills and concentration over several hours, and in some competitions, over more than one day. Once you start to run out of fuel and get tired, skills and concentration deteriorate and the quality of your play can plummet. Golf is not an enormously strenuous sport, compared to some sports. However moderate activity over a long period of time coupled with competition stress and perhaps unfriendly weather conditions can soon take their toll. The time spent out on the course will almost certainly mean that you will be missing a meal too. All this adds up to a possible fall in blood sugar level, increasing dehydration and a negative effect on performance due to the effect on brain function and skill.

Carbohydrate: the universal fuel source

Carbohydrate is the main fuel for muscle contraction. Unfortunately the body is only able to store a limited amount of carbohydrate so, apart from being well-hydrated, the most important things are:

You should try to have a meal before hand, even if it is only a bowl of breakfast cereal with a banana and a glass of fruit juice or some toast and jam/marmalade instead of the cereal. On cold, miserable, windy days if you prefer something warming then porridge, baked beans on toast, poached or boiled eggs with toast or pancakes, sliced bananas and syrup are all ideal choices. This may sound like breakfast but these choices are suitable any time of the day and could be eaten if your tee off time is late. The only problem could be if your tournament is not close to home.

So what will be in your golf bag?

Aside from the nutritional value, what you eat out on the course must be something you enjoy rather than something you feel you “ought” to eat. You will be much more likely to keep nibbling away on your refuellers if they are things you like.

Nutrition is not the only thing you have to consider – chosen items must travel well too. Bananas or sandwiches squashed at the bottom of your bag are not going to be very tempting. Nor will crumbling biscuits, melted chocolate confectionery (only suitable items of course) or a leaky pot of rice pudding encourage you to refuel. So in no particular order:


Happy refuelling!


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