Is the 19th Hole Ruining Your Game


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Typical 19th Hole Fare
Just a Drink
cup mixed nuts: 407 calories, 35 g fat
2 Whiskey Old Fashioned: 306, 0 g fat
Damage: 713 calories, 35 g fat
Order of nachos with cheese: 550 calories, 46 g fat
16 oz regular soft drink: 233 calories, 0 g fat
Damage: 783 calories, 46 g fat
Quick Bite
6 chicken wings: 376 calories, 24 g fat
2 T blue cheese dressing: 150 calories, 16 g fat
1-12 oz light beer: 100 calories, 0 g fat
Damage: 626 calories, 40 g fat
Cheeseburger: 535 calories, 29 g fat
2 oz potato chips: 305 calories, 19 g fat
1-12 oz regular beer: 150 calories, 0 g fat
Damage: 990 calories, 48 g fat
'Being Good' with Salad
Cobb salad (w/out dressing): 730 calories, 47 g fat
cup Ranch dressing: 300 calories, 31 g fat
Whole-wheat roll, plain: 95 calories, 1 g fat
16 oz diet soft drink: 0 calories, 0 g fat
Damage: 1,125 calories, 79 g fat
The famous 19th holethe one that everyone makes, right? Even if you shoot poorly in the previous 18, the 19th hole is one that not many people miss.
Loading up on the wrong foods will not only prevent you from recovering properly, but it could ultimately affect your waistline and health. Even though you are expending energy on the golf course, it doesn't take much food or drink to put a lot of calories right back in. When you eat high calorie foods, you end up with excess calories and the potential to store fat.
Hopefully, you ate a healthy snack and drank plenty of water or sports beverages while you were on the course to keep you fueled. After an 18-hole round of golf, you should be hungry, thirsty, and ready to eat a solid meal. The best way to get optimal recovery from a round of golf is to eat a nutrient-rich mix of foods within an hour after finishing.
Important Components of Post-Game Fuel
1. Hydration
Even if you drank while on the course, it is likely you are still at least slightly dehydrated from the sun, sweat and exertion. Alcohol and caffeine both act as diuretics (dehydrating), so neither are a good choice after a round of golf. The best choice is water. However, since iced tea and soft drinks dont have very much caffeine, you could also choose those in addition to a glass of water. Be aware of the calories if you choose sweet tea or regular soda. If you have a beer, mixed drink or glass of wine, simply order a tall glass of water along with it for hydration.
Optimal 19th Hole Choices
Snack/Light Lunch
8 oz yogurt (protein, carbs)
2 T chopped walnuts (antioxidants, omega-3, protein)
1 cup fresh berries (antioxidants, carbs, hydration)
16 oz unsweet tea (hydration, antioxidants)
Energy Restored: 370 calories
Nutrient-Rich Salad
2 cups spinach and other green salad with
artichokes, tomatoes, peppers (antioxidants)
5 oz grilled salmon (omega-3, protein)
2 T light Italian dressing
whole-wheat roll (complex carbs)
16 oz water (hydration)
5 oz red wine spritzer (antioxidants)
Energy Restored: 545 calories
Handy Lunch
4 oz lean roast beef (protein)
Whole-wheat pita (complex carbs, antioxidants)
Spinach, tomato and shredded carrots in sandwich (antioxidants)
Mustard and 1 T canola oil mayonnaise (omega-3)
Fruit cup (antioxidants, carbs, hydration)
16 oz diet soft drink or sparkling water (hydration)
Energy Restored: 465 calories
Crunchy Lunch
Nutty chicken salad sandwich with chicken breast, halved grapes, walnuts, and canola-based
mayonnaise on whole-wheat wrap or bread (protein, complex carbs, omega-3, antioxidants)
Apple (carbs, antioxidants, hydration)
16 oz water (hydration)
Energy Restored: 615 calories
Liquid Lunch
Smoothie: 1 cup fresh or frozen berries, 8 oz vanilla yogurt, scoop of protein powder, 2 T ground flax seeds (carbs, protein, antioxidants, omega-3, hydration)
Energy Restored: 425 calories
2. Antioxidants
Even though you used sunscreen (right?), that sun can still have damaging affects. Sun exposure causes our body to create free radicals in large quantities. Heavy exercise and pollution also have the same effect. The best defense against these free radicals are antioxidants! Load up on fresh fruits like berries, apples and plums; vegetables such as artichokes, beans, broccoli, spinach, and potatoes; as well as whole grains, and nuts such as pecans or walnuts.
3. Carbohydrates
You just worked really hard out there on the course, using a lot of energy. Your body's preferred source of energy is carbohydrates. The energy you have stored for short-term use is called glycogen. While on the course for so many hours, you dipped into that glycogen, and now that you are finished you need to replenish it. Eat complex carbs like bread, potatoes, rice, beans or pasta within an hour after you finish, for optimal replenishment of glycogen.
4. Protein
Protein is vital to building and repairing all of those muscles you just used during the game. Protein is rich in amino acids, which replenish muscles to prevent injury. Protein-rich foods include beef, poultry, pork, eggs, cheese, milk, soy and beans.
5. Omega-3's
Many golfers suffer from various levels of inflammation, and omega-3 rich foods can help reduce inflammation. Omega-3 rich foods include fatty fishes such as salmon, sardines, rainbow trout, herring, flounder, and ahi tuna. You can also get omega-3's from flax, walnuts and canola oil, but they are not as powerful as the fish-based omega-3's. If you don't like fish, get a fish oil based omega-3 supplement.
Tara Gidus, MD, RD, CSSD, is a Board Certified specialist in Sports Dietetics, a nutrition consultant and a member of the GFM Advisory Team. For further information on Tara, log onto
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