Carb Crazy

By Golf Fitness MagazineNovember 15, 2010, 6:58 pm

Athletes and golfers alike have always known that carbohydrates are essential to producing energy. In the late 90’s our society was overtaken by the low carb diet trend, causing athletes of every sport to scratch their heads and wonder if maybe they too were eating too many carbs.

As a nutritionist, I totally agree with many of the proponents of the low carb diets. I believe as a society that we eat too many carbs. To be truthful, we could stand to cut back on all food – the calories we are eating as a society are exceeding the calories we are burning, which is leading to the obesity epidemic we are facing around the globe. Even professional golfers are faced with the challenge of preventing obesity from happening to them. What I don’t agree with is cutting out carbohydrates completely from anyone’s diet.

Low carb diets gained in popularity after the low fat diet trend started to fade. Back in the 1990’s, we thought that fat from food was what was causing us to be overweight and causing high levels of heart disease. Food manufacturers became obsessed with the “fat-free craze,” coming out with everything from fat free cookies to fat free margarine. We thought that as long as it was fat free, we could sit down with a whole box of fat free cookies and not gain weight. Alas, we still gained weight. Then came the revival of the low carb trend that was so popular in the 1970’s. Instead of demonizing fat, we starting thinking carbs were the evil foods making us so fat. We lost weight, only to gain it all back as soon as we went off the impossibly low carb diet.

Research studies have proven that it is not the carbs that make us fat—it is total calories. People on low carb diets lose weight because they are eating fewer calories than they were before. A lot of the weight lost is also water weight because our glycogen stores (carb stores in our body) are very water rich. When we reduce carbs, we lose water weight. It is physiologically impossible to lose 5-10 pounds of fat in a week, yet the scale would reflect weight losses of that magnitude for some people when embarking on a low carb diet.

Cutting Back

The differences between cutting back and cutting out are two totally different approaches. In order to meet your body’s energy demands, you need to ensure that you are getting enough carbs in your diet. If you do not get enough carbohydrates in your diet, your body will use the protein in the diet for energy. Using protein for energy prevents the body from using protein for building and repairing the muscles that you are using and abusing during tough workouts, rounds of golf and just daily life. This ultimately leaves you left with low energy and greater potential for injury on and off the course.

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy. Carbs come from sugar, starch, and fiber in our diet. Sugar and starches are broken down into glucose, which is energy for our cells. Our bodies need glucose every second of the day to keep our brain functioning, to tell our heart to keep beating, and our lungs to keep breathing.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that everyone over the age of one year get a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrate daily. In terms of percentage of calories, the IOM recommends that 45-65% of our calories should come from carbs.

For an active male eating 2500 calories, that equates to 281-406 grams daily. For an active female eating 2000 calories, that equates to 225 to 325 grams daily.

Low Carb Foods

Even though the low carb craze is fading, I still sense a fear of high carbohydrate foods. I often hear from clients, athletes and non-athletes alike, that they avoid bread, pasta, and potatoes because they are concerned that eating them will make them fat. Instead, many people are opting for the low carb varieties of these foods. While some reduced carb foods can be healthy, many have ingredients in them that can cause some unpleasant side effects, and often, more times than not, low carb foods have just as many calories as the original food, so read labels carefully!

A common way to reduce the carb content of food, is to replace sugar with sugar alcohols. These sugar alcohols read on a food label with words like maltitol, mannitol, lactitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol. With the exception of erythritol, these sugar alcohols are not absorbed in the small intestine. Because they are not completely digested, the large intestine produces gas when the bacteria come into contact with these sugar alcohols. The result is gas, bloating, and potentially diarrhea in people who eat these sugar alcohols. So if you have been eating low carb candies and other treats and not feeling so good afterwards, now you know why. Check labels for sugar alcohols and avoid them if you find that they give you these unpleasant side effects.

All carbs can fit into a healthy diet, so the idea of some carbs being “good” while some are “bad” is not the best way to think. Classifying foods as “good” and “bad” promotes guilty feelings when we “give in” to the “bad” foods. Instead of trying to find low carb versions of your favorite high carb foods, enjoy the original version in moderation. Refined carbs such as cakes, cookies, and candy should be limited in our diets. Use these high sugar foods as treats in small quantities. Just because something is white does not mean it is bad, though. White potatoes often get lumped into the “bad carb” list, but white potatoes are actually one of the highest antioxidant foods in our food supply and a great source of complex carbs, especially for a golfer.

Choose whole grain varieties of bread, pasta, rice, cereal, and other grains whenever possible. Whole grains are hot in the marketplace right now, so it is not hard to find whole grain varieties of your favorite foods. There is more to whole grains than whole wheat bread and brown rice. Experiment with whole grains you may not use often or have not tried before. Quinoa, spelt, and millet are whole grains that are extremely versatile and can be used in salads, soups, or as a side dish. Don’t forget about barley, rye, popcorn (yes, it is a whole grain!), and corn.

Fruit and vegetables are rich in carbs and also rich in very important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. All fruits are good, even if you hear that they are too high in sugar. They are indeed high in sugar, but it is natural sugar and along with that sugar comes a nice package of fiber and other nutrients.

All vegetables are good, too – even the starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes. Starchy vegetables will be slightly higher in calories than non-starchy vegetables, but both are high in nutritional value and should be a part of your diet.

Another source of carbohydrates that many people don’t think about is milk. Milk has 12 grams of carbohydrates per 8 oz glass. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all foods that have significant healthy attributes and should also be included daily in a healthy diet.

Just because you are eating “good” carbs doesn’t mean that you can eat them in unlimited quantities. Remember that all calories, regardless of whether they enter your body as carbs, protein, fat, or alcohol, have the potential to cause weight gain when eaten in excess of the calories burned..

Carbs are necessary in your diet to provide energy to fuel your brain and muscles, prevent injury and help maximize your time on or off the course. Without carbs, you will be low on energy and your golf game will suffer. Examine what you eat to determine whether you are getting the right balance of carbs, protein, and fats in your diet. If you are gaining weight and don’t want to, cut back on your portions of all foods in your diet, not just carbs. Look for opportunities to have high quality carbs such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to replace high sugar and refined grains.

Tara Gidus, is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a nutrition consultant and a member of the Golf Fitness Magazine Advisory Team.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: