The Holiday Splurge Diet for Golfers

By Golf Fitness MagazineDecember 4, 2008, 5:00 pm
The fact that the professional golf season has come to a close can mean only one thing: the holidays are upon us. Even as we look back on another exciting year of golf memories, most of us are already anticipating office parties, school functions and family gatherings.
 
But, by the end of the holiday season, do you usually have trouble buttoning your favorite pair of golf pants? Those buffet tables and holiday sweets can be bigger land mines than a pot bunker at the Old Course at St. Andrews links. This weeks article offers some practical strategies that can help you survive the holiday food free-for-all. My name is K.C. Craichy, and I specialize in performance nutrition and super health. Like a swing coach for your diet, Ill tell you how to avoid the Holiday Five and sail through the season fit and trim.
 
Before you step up to the tee box and start swinging, here is your holiday season pre-shot routine:
 
Staying hungry isnt always a good thing.
 
You wouldnt play a round of golf without eating something first, would you? Well, skipping meals during the day and thinking you are saving calories for the big splurge doesnt make much sense either. By the time the evening meal arrives, hunger pangs and low blood sugar can drive you into a feeding frenzy of sweets and carbs.
 
Chew your food!
 
Dont gulp down all your meals like you are just grabbing a snack at the turn. Chewing your food thoroughly can greatly assist your digestive system -- with the added bonus of helping you eat less. Savor your foods taste and enjoy!
 
Consume a nutrient dense whole meal supersmoothie for breakfast and lunch.
 
A Big Bertha driver may be your secret weapon off the tee, but a supersmoothie is truly the secret weapon in navigating those holiday eating land mines. Enjoy a satisfying and ultra-nutritious supersmoothie for breakfast and even lunch before your holiday meal gathering. You can turn a traditional smoothie into a supersmoothie by starting with your favorite smoothie recipe and using mostly water and ice but cutting the amount of high sugar fruits and juices by 75%. Now, be sure to add at least 25 grams of high quality protein and a fiber supplement. The result will be a low-calorie, low-glycemic, highly-nutritious meal that will stabilize your blood sugar levels and help you control your appetite. There are plenty of other healthy ingredients you can add later, but this is a super healthy start.
 
Eat the treats but cut the calories.
 
Cutting strokes off your score can lower your handicap. Likewise, cutting calories and sugar from your holiday meals can lower your chance of weight gain. If you decide that youll be eating holiday treats and desserts, be sure to first load up on salads, vegetables and turkey.
 
Make a Commitment!
 
When you stand over a putt, you make a decision about what line to follow and stick to it. Similarly, you should make a decision about what you are willing to consume prior to getting into any eating situation ' and stick to it.
 
Have a party plan!
 
If you have a tendency to slice the ball, you can create a plan to deal with that. You can do the same thing with your personal trigger binge foods. Is it chocolate cake, onion dip and chips, or pecan pie that sets you off? Consider bringing along your own healthier alternatives like nuts, seeds, raw veggies, cut fruit, chips that are baked and not fried, and dips made of humus, avocado or yogurt instead of hydrogenated oils.
 
Go nuts!
 
Youre already nuts about the game of golf. During the holidays you can go nuts about well, nuts. Certain nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, coconut (not a nut but very beneficial), and chia seeds are extremely healthy and often offered as an alternative to chips, breads and sweets.
 
Think before you drink.
 
Just like after a round of golf, drink in moderation. Alcoholic drinks contain a surprising number of calories that leave you feeling empty but pack on the pounds. The bottom line: if you are going to drink alcoholic beverages, consider each drink to be a dessert and govern yourself accordingly.
 
Water, Water Everywhere!
 
Drinking water makes you a winner on the golf course and everywhere else. You cant beat water for no-calorie, rehydrating refreshment. Water is your bodys favorite drink and your secret weapon in the fight for the right to a low-calorie party.
 
Avoid Portion Distortion.
 
Keep your portion sizes small -- just like the number of strokes you use on each hole. If you cant stay away from high sugar/starch foods that make your mouth water until you start to feel full, make your portions smaller so that you take in fewer calories. When eating from a buffet, start with larger portions of greens and non-starch veggies with some hi-protein foods such as turkey. Now, take your time eating before going back for seconds. This time gives your brain the opportunity to let your stomach know that its had enough.
 
Use the 3-hour/6-hour rule.
 
Stop eating three hours before bedtime. This allows your body to use precious sleep time to renew, replenish, rebuild and regenerate, rather than digest that second piece of pumpkin pie. You may find your sleep quality improve, too! Allow at least the time it takes to play a full round of golf (4 ' 6 hours) between meals so your metabolism is allowed time to function optimally.
 
Avoid grazing.
 
You find a favorable spot to tee up your ball, dont you? Do the same thing at parties. Dont stand right next to the buffet or the snack bowls to socialize ' find a spot thats inconvenient to the food but comfortable. Otherwise, if you start a conversation right next to the chips, before you know it, the bowl may be empty.
 
Restrict calories on alternate days.
 
You can still become a better golfer even if you arent able to practice every single day. In fact, it will improve your game if you occasionally take time off. Well, it turns out that the same thing is true with restricting calories. In fact, according to a recent study from the Louisiana State University Medical Center, not only can alternate day calorie restriction help you maintain your weight, it may even help prolong your life. So, plan to eat less on non-splurge days.
 
Dont take a break from your exercise program.
 
Just because its the holiday season doesnt mean you should take a holiday from exercise. When the weather outside is frightful, working out indoors is delightful. By keeping up with your workouts, you lower the risk of putting on holiday pounds of body fat. Try to be active every day; this will help you burn off calories and reduce holiday stress. If you arent somewhere warm enough to play a round of golf, you can always swing a club in the garage or basement. In my book Super Health: 7 Golden Keys to Unlock Lifelong Vitality, I write about a wonderful indoor exercise system that requires no equipment and can be finished by just about anyone in about 15-20 minutes.
 
Manage holiday stress.
 
The holiday season brings its own special brand of stress. Injected into already busy schedules comes holiday functions, gift buying, family gatherings ' all of which can lead to feelings of panic, anxiety and stress eating. Prayer, meditation, exercise and other forms of relaxation can help alleviate holiday stress and lower your risk of overeating to eliminate stress. Weather permitting; you can always squeeze in a round of golf. Or at least a trip to the driving range!
 
Focus on faith, family and friends.
 
Food doesnt have to be the focus of your holidays; it is only one of the many pleasures of the season. The heart of the holidays is family, friends and community. It is a time for gathering in good company, a time to share stories, catch up on family news and be active in community functions. Plus, theres lots of special programming to enjoy on The Golf Channel. So take time to relax, give thanks and remember what the season is all about.
 
From my family to yours, our Living Fuel Team wishes you love, joy, peace and super health this Thanksgiving and throughout the 2008 holiday season! And, best wishes with your golf game, too!
 
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.
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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.