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Better Golf through Better Fitness

February 2011, Issue 2
The Golf Guru Newsletter

Golf Guru Quiz:

Whatís one of the quickest, most effective ways to improve your golf score and performance on the course?

A. Drink enough water.
B. Consume the right fuel.
C. Improve your overall fitness level.
D. All of the above.

The answer is D!

Addressing A, B or C could make a big difference in how well you play through the entire round, how fast you recover and how well your body feels the next day. Just imagine what could happen if you work toward all three!

Letís take a brief look at each point.

Have you ever sucked down a cold beer after playing golf and got quickly and unexpectedly buzzed beyond normal for one beer? You were probably dehydrated and your lowered blood volume made the alcohol more potent than usual.

Your golf swing relies on muscular strength, endurance, balance and coordination. During a round of golf your body loses water through respiration and perspiration. If fluids are not replaced in a timely manner, you may soon dip below a fully hydrated state.

You probably wonít even notice or feel this at first, but just a 1% drop from your full water tank causes a 10% decrease in muscle performance. This multiplies out to poor performance with each drop of moisture lost.

I suggest drinking at least 8 ounces of water per hour out on the course or 16 ounces for each 9 holes played. More if itís hot and sunny. It takes a few minutes for water to be absorbed and itís important to stay ahead of water loss. Itís too late if you are already thirsty and dehydrated when you begin to drink, so start drinking before the third hole. Itís also very helpful for recovery to drink an equal amount of water after the round. Beer is NOT a substitute, only an addition to proper fluid intake!

Your muscles typically burn a combination of glycogen (stored glucose) and fatty acids during a low intensity, but fairly constant activity like golf (especially if you walk). If your liver and muscles are fully stocked with glycogen from your excellent diet :), you probably have enough immediate-use fuel for about 90 minutes of this type of activity. If you are out swinging longer than that, you will experience a significant drop in muscular performance and mental concentration.

Again, like fluids, you canít wait to begin snacking. Food takes even longer than water to be available for fuel, so I suggest eating something after one hour on the course. Your best snack choices have some simple and complex carbs, quality fat, protein and fiber.

Nuts, especially almonds are an excellent choice along with fruit or raisins. A good quality sports bar or a small amount of dark chocolate can also give you that needed boost. The idea is to snack on small amounts of nutrient dense foods that are easy to carry and deal with on the course. Eating about 200 calories per nine holes played will suffice for most people to feel energetic and well-fueled throughout the round.

Overall Fitness Level
In May 2008 the American College of Sports Medicine studied the impact of walking 18 holes on a golferís game. A brief summary of this complex studyís results showed that there was a noticeable deterioration in swing speed and accuracy of the swing as the round went on. In fact, this gradual breakdown of the swing began early in the round, and by the 6th hole this effect is measurable. So those who usually play only 9 holes will also be affected.

Of course one answer is to walk the course more often. Although in the short term, your swing will suffer some, the result will be that you quickly get into much better shape. You will then take longer to fatigue and delay any swing deterioration, perhaps resulting in a better score whether you walk or ride!

I will offer some practical suggestions for golf-specific fitness training ideas in another newsletter. Meanwhile this is food for thought about ways to improve your golf game for MORE fun and enjoyment! Happy swinging!

Rule School

Rule School
What happens if you hit the wrong ball on the course?

Under Rule 15 - Wrong ball; Substituted ball
Definition -A "wrong ball" is any ball other than the player's:
a. Ball in play
b. Provisional ball

15-3 Stroke Play
If a competitor plays a stroke or strokes with a wrong ball she shall incur a penalty of two strokes, unless the only strokes played with such ball were played when it was in a hazard, in which case no penalty is incurred.
The player must correct her mistake by playing the correct ball. Strokes played by a competitor does not count in her score. If the wrong ball belongs to a competitor, it's owner shall place a ball on the spot from which the wrong ball was first played.

Thanks for reading the Golf Guru Newsletter! I welcome all feedback, sugestions, etc.I would love to add an "Ask Golf Guru" section, so please submit any golf swing or golf fitness questions you may have. Please check back as I add info and develop my new Golf Guru website.

Please forward this link to any golfers you know who may be interested. Tawny

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