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Golf teaching and playing articles > Don't wait to quench your thirst

20 May 2004


Golf is an endurance event, especially when a tournament spans several days.  What you do before and during your rounds will make a huge difference in your performance.


Hydration is one area I stress to my competitive golfers.  If they take care of their bodies by being properly hydrated, they have the potential to perform at their top level.


De-hydration contributes to loss of energy, concentration, and mental focus.


De-hydration leads to low blood sugar, which impairs brain function, and poorer performance.


During a round of golf on a hot summer day when you are perspiring, you can easily drop 1 – 2 % of your body’s weight.  This is water loss and needs to be replenished.  This amount of fluid loss will drastically affect your performance.


Sports nutritionist suggests you drink 16 ounces of water prior to performing and 5 – 10 ounces every 15 minutes.  This means drinking a cup of water every hole.  If you wait until you feel thirst, it will be too late.


Electrolytes need to be replaced as well, in hot weather.  Sports drinks are great for this, but they do contain high amounts of sugar.  If you are sensitive to sugar, this could cause a drop in blood sugar later, or the back 9 blah’s. 


Alternatives you can use are to dilute the sport drinks, or consider a powder alternative, which replaces the lost electrolytes, but does not have the sugar content.


Alcohol also causes de-hydration.  If your golf performance is important to you, be careful of how many cocktails you consume the night before, and avoid drinking alcohol during the round.


Watch the professionals play on TV and you will see that they are constantly sipping water.


Rest is equally important in order to perform at your top level.  You need 6 to 7 hours of sleep for proper spinal regeneration.  The fluids in the spine must regenerate at night for the spine to function properly.


Alcohol again, interferes with this as it reduces the quality of sleep.


I recommend to my students to get a good night’s sleep and sip your way around the golf course.