Family Golf Month: Enjoy healthy eating and fun

David Donatucci, PGA Professional
PGA of America

Series: PGA Feature

Published: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | 11:44 a.m.

With July being Family Golf Month, more families are taking the opportunity to spend the day on the golf course. When on the course for several hours, maintaining healthy eating habits is crucial to staying healthy and having the most fun possible. Eating a balanced diet on a golf course comes with some challenges, but you can follow some simple rules to eat a little healthier on the golf course and off. The first step is to create a consistent eating pattern; this can be accomplished by eating every two to three hours. On the golf course, this can be every six holes.

The best start to creating a consistent eating pattern is to eat breakfast. This meal is often considered the most important meal of the day because your body has been in a fast for six to nine hours. The morning meal needs to incorporate fruits and vegetables and some raw nuts, as well as some lean protein. Incorporating fruits, vegetables and nuts in every meal is essential to help you build up your immune system and recover from activity.

Your meals also need to include healthy carbohydrates and protein, as well as quality fats. Healthy carbohydrates are your body’s energy source. The darker the carbohydrate, the better its quality, meaning the lower the glycemic index, which causes your blood sugar levels to rise. The lower the glycemic index, the more your insulin levels remain at a consistent level or keep you from the post eating crash. Lean protein incorporated into the meal will also keep the blood sugar levels consistent. Lean protein is important growth and rebuilding muscle tissue and helps strengthen the immune system. Eating protein also increases the amount of calories you burn. The body has to produce more energy to digest protein than carbohydrates.

The meal should also incorporate some good quality fat. Studies have shown that fat helps with brain function, repairs muscle tissue, speeds healing and is also good for growth and development. Good quality fats contain Omega 3 fatty acids which is found in walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and fish oils such as salmon, herring and tuna. But caution needs to be taken when consuming ingredients such as partially or fully hydrogenated vegetable or any kind of oil. This ingredient acts to suppress the good quality fats in your body.

With all this being said, how can a family create a healthy environment on the golf course together?

The first step is to eat a healthy breakfast prior to leaving the house. Prior to hitting balls, involve yourself in a warm-up routine of activities such as butt kickers, torso rotations, hip rotations and single leg balance toe touches – just to name a few. Then begin hitting balls 30-40 yards and build up to your longest club slowly. Take five to 10 swings with each of your wedges, mid-irons, high irons and metals.

Have a trail mix snack packed in your bag of walnuts, almonds and raisins to consume on every third hole. Purchase or bring your choice of a choice tuna salad, chicken salad or turkey sandwich on wheat with tomatoes and or cucumbers and mustard or very little mayonnaise.

During play utilize a pull cart or try and walk as much as possible if you have to take a cart. The more steps you can take, the more calories you will burn and the healthier your experience will be.

Family Golf Month activities occur throughout July at participating golf facilities nationwide and include Take Your Daughter to the Course Week (July 4-10), Bring Your Kids to the Golf Range, Family Golf Play Days, Family Golf Clinics, PGA Family Courses and special junior rates. For a list of facilities participating in Family Golf Month, visit