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.
Paisley (61) leads Web.com Tour Championship
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.
The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.
''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''
The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.
''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''
Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.
''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''
Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.
McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year
ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.
Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.
Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.
“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.
McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.
“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”
Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist
ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.
After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.
He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.
“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.
Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.
“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”
Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead
ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.
Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.
Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.
“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”
Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.
“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.