[Editor's Note: The following article was written by Todd Casabella, Director of Instruction at Grey Hawk Golf Club in Lagrange. Todd is a member of the Professional Golfers' Association of America and a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor.]
A round of golf traditionally takes about 4 to 4 ½ hours. During that time of the golf course, you’re actually only swinging the club and hitting the golf ball for about 2 minutes. That leaves a lot of down time and is one of the reasons it’s difficult to play your best golf for 18 holes. If you’re consistently having trouble finishing the last 4 to 6 holes of a good round, try these simple fixes to achieve your best performance.
It’s impossible to stay tuned in to your golf game the whole time your on the golf course. The best players have an ability to tune in to the shot they are going to hit, then after hitting it, tune out to something else. Jack Nicklaus used to hum the song “Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head” to himself giving his mind a break. This is why it’s important to develop a pre-shot routine. It signals your mind for when it’s time to re-focus on the shot at hand. Tiger Woods begins his pre-shot routine by closing his eyes for a second when he opens them; he’s focused and ready to go.
Staying hydrated is extremely important to finishing a good round. When the body loses water it can cause a loss of focus and muscle fatigue. Obviously, this would make it difficult to play your best golf. To stop from getting dehydrated not only do you need to be drinking plenty of water while you play but before you go out to play as well. Nutritionists are now recommending that you drinking 25% of your daily water intake with breakfast. Your daily water intake should be half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 180lbs, that’s 90oz. of water for the day and 22oz. should be consumed at breakfast. Don’t wait until you get thirsty to start drinking either. You should be moderately sipping water through out the entire round. If you’re properly hydrating you should have to go to the restroom at least once during your round. Also, avoid alcohol until you settle your bets in the clubhouse. Alcohol increases the dehydration rate.
What you eat on the golf course will definitely affect your performance. Eating a hot dog at the turn can be a killer to your score. They are loaded with sodium and fat which can quickly change your mood on the golf course. Definitely avoid eating candy or anything that creates a spike in energy. The amount of food you eat at one time can be detrimental as well. Avoid eating your lunch at the turn. If you do have to eat your lunch on the golf course take your time and eat it over several holes. Energy bars should be consumed slowly over numerous holes as well. The most effective food on the golf course are nuts. Not packaged salty peanuts, stay away from those. Try a mix of almonds, walnuts and pecans. This will give you the sustained energy you need to finish your round strong.
Finally, to sustain a good round through the 18th hole, breathe. Focus on your breathing. Pay attention to the rhythm of your breaths. Take your time with deep breaths. As you exhale slowly, allow any tension in your body to be dismissed. Finish strong.