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Fueling Your Game: The Need to Snack During a Round

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on

Thomas Pieters eats during the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links Golf Course.Getty Images

The idea of golfers being athletes has become widely accepted in the Professional ranks, but maybe not as much in the amateur game. Regardless of how you see this idea, or what physical shape you or your golfing buddies are in, the fact remains that playing golf indeed requires these few things to be successful: flexibility, strength, endurance and stamina.
As most know, your body is basically a machine. You take in calories to help the machine run. While you work, exercise, play, or do the vast majority of regular, everyday things you do, you burn off calories. So, making sure you fuel up, at times when you are burning more calories than you normally would is important and will allow you to perform the activity you are doing and be able to do it well.
How many calories are burned playing golf?
Calories Burned Playing 18 Holes:
  • Carrying your bag- 1,000 to 1,500
  • Using a Pushcart- 1,000 to 1,500
  • Playing with a Caddie- 900 to 1,200
  • Riding a Cart 18 Holes- 700 to 800
It is a great idea to use things like an Apple Watch, Fitbit or other similar device while playing so you can track your output from a fitness standpoint. After a while, you will see your patterns and know exactly how much you are burning. This information will allow you to plan better on what you need to snack on and will tell you how much of it you need to eat, to keep you charged up during a round.
Great Things to Eat While Playing
  • Fruits including Bananas, Oranges, and Apples.
  • Almonds, or even a snack mix with different kinds of nuts and granola. If you have peanuts, remember to drink enough water too…peanuts will provide energy but do have a dehydrating element to them if you are not drinking enough.
  • Simple sandwiches, on whole grain bread…Peanut Butter and Jelly, Turkey and Cheese, or even Tuna or Grilled Chicken Breast. Stay away from the mayo.
  • Beef Jerky is a great snack, but be careful of your sodium intake…look for lower sodium varieties and again, make sure to drink plenty of water.
Avoid foods with high levels of sugar which may perk you up, but you will crash soon thereafter. Some foods that are marketed as great snacks for fueling up the body, like some “Power Bars” are high in sugar, so check labels. Most importantly, make sure that you never show up to play 18, especially if you are competing, without having stuff to snack on. I promise you, you will definitely see the negative impacts that this has, both on you physically, and on your scorecard.