Hydration Basics For Golfers
Are you a golfer looking to get the most out of your body on & off the golf course…
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
I help golfers just like you improve their mobility, get strong, lose weight, and get in the best shape of their lives. Oh and did I mention all of this helps them on the golf course too?
In this article, I’ll share with you the hydration basics for golfers:
- What Is Hydration & Dehydration?
- Why Electrolytes Are So Important?
- Hydration & It’s Effects On Golf Performance
- What I Recommend My Clients Do For Better Hydration
Hydration & Dehydration Basics
Let’s get into some real basic definitions before we go any further into this article about hydration basics for golfers.
Hydration: The state having an adequate amount of fluid in the body & tissues
The human body is made up of around 75% water and about 25% solid material. The brain itself is made up of at least 85% water and we’ll talk about why that’s so important later. Being adequately hydrated throughout the day is important to keep joints lubricated, deliver nutrients throughout the body, keep your body cool, and help organs function properly, among many other things. When you’re hydrated, urine should be light yellow (looking like lemonade) and you’re probably emptying your bladder anywhere between 5-8 times per day.
Dehydration: The state of having a lower than normal amount of fluid in the body & tissues.
Dehydration occurs for two reasons or a combination thereof. Those reasons are not having adequate levels of water, electrolytes, or both throughout your body.
How can you tell if you’re dehydrated? An easy way to recognize that you may be dehydrated is when your urine is dark in color, such as looking like apple juice. Other signs and symptoms that indicate that you may be dehydrated include: headache, stomach cramps, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, muscle cramps, weakness, confusion, and/or dry mouth.
Why Electrolytes Are So Important?
I’m sure you’ve heard about them at some point and are usually well-known for being in Gatorade. But before we start talking about why they’re important, what is an electrolyte? Electrolytes are minerals / substances in the body that can help the body perform it’s normal functions.
Some examples of how electrolytes the body perform include:
- Help move nutrients in and out of cells
- Remove waste from your cells
- Perform various electrical functions in the body such as muscle contractions & brain functions
Some of the specific electrolytes your body relies on daily include: calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride. As we now know, if any of these are low that can affect how your body performs certain functions throughout the day.
Hydration & It’s Effects On Golf Performance
It can be quite easy to lose a significant amount of water and become dehydrated during your round of golf. Playing in the heat and humidity can increase your risk of becoming dehydrated and possibly result in dangerous core body temperatures such as heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. There are other risk factors that can increase your risk for dehydration:
- Drinking alcohol or coffee
- Insufficient water consumption during your round
- Poor sleep
- Low fitness levels
In a 2012 study by Smith et al., they found that mild dehydration in golfers resulted in decreased muscle coordination and decision making, resulting in decreased shot distance, lower accuracy of shots, and a poorer ability to judge distance.
Also, let’s not forget to mention that the golfers in the study mentioned above were young, healthy golfers with low handicaps!
Need help building your own golf performance plan? There are two options…
- Keep scouring the internet and golf magazines for tips and tricks to help you.
- Alternatively, I can do all the heavy lifting for you except for the literal lifting of the weights. I can create a custom plan just for you and all you’ll have to do is login to our app and follow what’s on the schedule.
What Can You Do To Stay Hydrated On The Course?
Here is what I recommend to my clients…
Drink Enough Water
Well, how much is enough? An easy guide is to take your body weight in pounds and drink half of that in ounces. So, if you weighed 180 pounds, you would want to aim for 90 ounces of water per day. You should also drink about 25% of your water intake the first thing in the morning, because you become dehydrated when asleep. From our example above, if you need to drink 90 ounces of water per day, you should drink about 23 ounces of water when waking up.
Drink 4-8 Ounces Every 2-3 Holes
The amount for this tip will vary depending on a lot of factors including your perspiration rate, humidity, how much water you drank before your round, what you ate before your round, etc. I always try to remind my clients to drink some water every 2-3 holes.
If you think that will be hard to remember, you can make a mark on your scorecard for every 2-3 holes to take a drink. So when you look at your scorecard to write your score down from the previous hole, you’ll see the mark and be reminded to drink some water.
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Eat More Fruits & Veggies
Eating whole foods that have high a water content before your round and during your round is a great way to help you stay hydrated. The entire list below is not all-inclusive and not all of these keep well when playing a round of golf. Choose wisely when out on the course!
Use An Electrolyte Supplement In Your Drink
Now you might ask why not just drink some Gatorade or Powerade. Well, there are 2 problems with those types of sports drinks.
First, they have added food dyes. Various food dyes are known to affect your body’s ability to absorb water. So if you want maximal hydration you don’t want something silly like a food dye limiting your intake.
Second, there is a good amount of sugar in those types of drinks. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sugar, but what it does to your blood sugar levels can wreak havoc on your game. Having something sugary will quickly spike your blood sugar levels. When you blood sugar spikes quickly, it must come down quickly. When it comes down quickly, you start to feel tired and feel like you’re losing steam. This won’t be so good if it happens on hole 4 or 5…
I recommend using a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt for every liter of water your drink. Celtic Sea Salt is a naturally occurring salt, is minimally processed, and has all of the electrolytes we need and more! Put that into your water and you’ll be good to go!
Hopefully this article on hydration basics for golfers has been helpful and you can start playing better golf starting tomorrow!
If you’re looking to go a little bit further, I have 3 options for you:
- If you want step by step guidance creating a workout schedule to get more mobile, stronger, playing better golf, and in the best shape of your life, click here to schedule a call to learn more about 1-on-1 coaching.
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1. Smith, M.F., Newell, A. J. and Baker, M.R. (2012). Effect of acute mild dehydration on cognitive-motor performance in golf. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(11), 3075-3080.
2. Yang, Robert. (2013). Hydration basics. https://www.mytpi.com/en/articles/health/hydration_basics?search=Swing%20Basics
Hand holding water photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash
Female golfer drinking water photo by Jopwell from Pexels
Man hitting golf ball photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash
Watermelon photo by Floh Maier on Unsplash
Gatorade bottle photo by John McArthur on Unsplash