Golfers Get the True Competitive Edge
It becomes apparent then that the most important factors in the game of golf are actually the intangibles: sustained energy, clarity of thought and the ability to minimize and quickly recover from the physical rigors of training and competition. Playing consistently from the first tee to the 18th green depends heavily on mastering these intangibles in order to gain that competitive edge.
As Founder and CEO of Living Fuel, Inc. and author of the best-selling book Super Health: 7 Golden Keys to Unlock Lifelong Vitality, I have had the privilege of working with world class athletes in many different sports in order to help them gain a competitive edge. These athletes include J.D. Drew (Boston Red Sox Right Fielder and the 2008 All-Star MVP) and 41-year-old Olympic swimming sensation Dara Torres (who recently won 3 silver metals in a record fifth Olympics in Beijing). Their success is easily translatable to athletes in any sport where consecutive days of play are part of the competition. Golf certainly fits that description, since it requires maximum levels of fitness, endurance, focus and recovery.
The biggest problem is that a desire for increased energy levels often causes golfers to load up on energy bars, drinks and supplements comprised of cheap ingredients, high sugars and stimulants - which actually result in the dreaded crash after providing only a short peak in energy. Some of these same products can even disrupt a persons sleep pattern, which further decreases the amount of vital energy available to them throughout the course of the day.
Ultimately, the true secret to preserving your energy involves hydration, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and proper amounts of sleep - but the reality is its the combination of these keys that gives you a true competitive edge.
One of the biggest mistakes most golfers make is to load up on empty carbohydrates. Snack carts and clubhouse restaurants generally serve extremely unhealthy, pro-inflammatory filler foods that provide virtually no nutritional value. The menu at your favorite course likely includes sandwiches, baked goods, cookies, crackers, donuts, French fries, hot dogs, ice cream, pizza, potato chips, waffles and other processed foods that contain white flour and/or sugar and many other impurities.
These types of foods are actually the enemies of sustained energy, recovery and performance.
Regardless of your handicap, golfers at every level should beware of the foods and drinks offered on the snack cart and in the clubhouse. Instead of grabbing a beverage that contains sugar, alcohol or high levels of caffeine, opt for the very best sports drink out there: H2O.
Tournament players have the option of carrying 14 clubs in their golf bag during a competition - and no golfer in his right mind would carry any less. Likewise, science has identified over 50 essential nutrients that the human body must have in order to function at its peak. Since the body cannot produce a single one of these nutrients, each one must be obtained by food sources, dietary supplements and exposure to sunshine.
Thats why the most powerful way to accomplish peak performance is by using a system called The Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition.
The Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition
Listening to your swing coach is extremely important, but you can only perform well when you give your body everything it needs nutritionally. I call this approach the Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition.
1. Eat nutrient-dense foods. You should eat the most highly nutritious, nutrient-dense foods available while eliminating sugar, processed food and junk foods. This will naturally reduce your overall calorie intake and increase the nutrient value ingested by your body. Include a daily high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral/nutrient/antioxidant formulation for optimal benefits.
2. Maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Manage your glycemic response by minimizing grains, breads, starches, and sugar, which all quickly elevate blood sugar levels - setting up the dreaded back nine energy crash. This will also minimize excessive body fat, fatigue and blood sugar imbalances.
3. Consume high-antioxidant superfoods and supplements. Think of oxidation as rust on metal, the browning of a sliced apple, or as the process of aging itself. Antioxidants are anti-rust, anti-browning and anti-aging nutrients. Be sure to eat your greens, bright-colored vegetables and berries. These types of foods contain high levels of many types of antioxidants that protect every cell in the body and promote excellent health, vitality, recovery and longevity.
4. Eat and supplement with superfats. Superfats are essential fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fatty fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, some nuts, chia seeds and flax seeds. They are necessary nutrients for the health of your immune system, heart, skin, endocrine glands, brain function, nervous system and energy levels. EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid) are the omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish and fish oils. Superfats are also plentiful in almonds, coconut, macadamia nuts, olives and avocados.
So, go ahead and add the power of Superfood Nutrition to your game. Instead of relying on nutritional myths like carbo-loading with all kinds of carbohydrates, start the day with a satisfying and ultra-nutritious supersmoothie for a delicious pre-round breakfast and even lunch. A superfood smoothie is highly digestible, plant-based liquid nutrition with balanced amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fats and the full spectrum of essential nutrients. This includes vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are efficiently delivered into the bloodstream to boost performance, energy, mental clarity and recovery.
You can build a basic supersmoothie by starting with your favorite smoothie recipe using mostly water and ice but cutting the amount of high sugar fruits and juices by 75 percent. Now, add at least 25 grams of high quality protein along with 5-10 grams of a plant-based fiber supplement. The result is a low-calorie, low-glycemic, highly nutritious meal that will stabilize your blood sugar levels and help control your appetite. There are plenty of other healthy ingredients you can add later, but this is a super healthy start.
When you are out on the golf course, you can maintain that momentum by avoiding junk fuel and snacking on quality foods, including superfats (try almonds, coconut, chia seeds or macadamia nuts) during a round. It is a well-known fact in athletics that digestion competes with performance, so consider having another supersmoothie instead of a burger or deli sandwich at the turn.
Golfers, you now have the ability to gain that intangible, competitive edge both on the course and off by taking the Superfood Nutrition approach to health. Not only will your handicap go down, but even more importantly, your quality of life will skyrocket.
KC Craichy is the author of Super Health: 7 Golden Keys to Unlock Lifelong Vitality and founder of Living Fuel, the Leader in Superfood Nutrition. To learn more, visit www.livingfuel.com.
EDITORS NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Our priority is to maximize your potential, lower your scores, reduce your risk of injury, and extend your golfing years. Each issue has departments dedicated to men, women, seniors, and juniors along with tips, advice and simple exercise routines from GFMs team of experts. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site golffitnessmagazine.com for more information.
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.
Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.