Diet of Champions: What do Golf Pros Eat and Drink?

It is understandable that golfers need to be fit, but what level of fitness is required to reach the dizzy heights of success on the professional circuit, and how strict must your diet be? Arguably the world’s best-ever golfer ‘Tiger’ Woods, used a no-nonsense regime on his way to the top.

Obviously, a diet might give you the edge over your opponent, but it does win tournaments. Ideally between food at home or the hotel and the start of your round, it pays to practice and the optishot 2 golf simulator is good for that.


The Diet

“When it comes to eating right, I’m pretty easy to please, said Woods. “I stick to lean meats and seafood, lots of fruits and vegetables, and no junk food. My typical breakfast is an egg-white omelet with vegetables. Lunch and dinner are usually grilled chicken or fish with salad and vegetables. Protein ranks high in my diet because it helps build muscle tissue. I also take daily supplements for bone protection and nutritional support.”

Woods also has favorite on-course snacks that revitalize. His favorite food whilst playing is a peanut butter and banana sandwich and almonds. He can also be seen regularly consuming fruit between holes, specifically apples, and bananas.

Sports nutritionist Matt Jones worked with golfers on the European Tour. He said: “Before a round begins, you should consume a meal rich in protein, healthy fats, low-glycemic complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and beans, and small quantities of whole-grain starches such as potatoes, quinoa, rice or whole-grain bread.”

He developed a special diet as he insists golfers need change as the round goes on. He calls it his “Super 6 Strategy.”  For the first six, he gets golfers to stabilize their energy requirements by eating fruits like apples and oranges and snacking on nuts. For the next six, they eat foods that include protein, fat, and carbohydrates such as peanut butter and tuna sandwiches made with whole-grain bread. On the final six, Jones gives them an energy boost with high-carb snacks such as dried fruit that enable the golfers to lift their blood sugar for the final stretch. Lots of water throughout the day is compulsory.

Director of Golf Emeritus at Maroon Creek Club, Aspen, CO Scott Erwin insists avoiding sugar and fried food is essential.

“I played a round of golf at the Maroon Creek Club in Aspen with British Open and TPC Champion Justin Leonard, recalled Erwin. “I observed Justin order an Ahi Tuna cup without the Ahi, which I thought was strange. When I asked why Justin he said he prefers healthy snacks and avoids protein and fats during a round of golf. As I recall, Justin shot 64 that day!

“Just observing what Justin and his wife Amanda eat inspired me to change my diet. I do not eat as pure as they do but I lost 30 pounds three years ago by eating primarily healthy foods and avoiding sugar and fried foods.”


Meal Plans

Looking at what golf pros eat from a different angle is Michele Trimarchi, a PGA/LPGA Golf Fitness Yoga Professional. Her meal plan is similar to many meals taken by the soccer team’s pre-game.

She said: “Several hours before your round, have a carb-rich meal. Then about an hour before your round, have a small bite to eat – maybe half a whole-grain bagel and light cream cheese, or some oatmeal, fruit, and nuts. If you usually have a cup of coffee, have a cup and a little more; recent research is indicating that caffeine can help with alertness and decision making. Then, on the fifth hole, at the turn, and on the 14th hole, have one of the following healthy snacks; walnuts, almonds, preferably organic raw nuts. bananas, celery carrots,  cheese, or yogurt. The energy bar is all fruit and nuts, a healthy combination.

“At every even-numbered tee, have a few sips of water. Small amounts, but a steady flow of fuel to keep the swing sweet, the legs limber, and the joints well oiled. After the round, treat yourself to more carbs and even some salt. If you ever crave a French fry, now is the time you can get away with a few. For best health, keep drinking water; for fun, now is the time for the adult beverage you didn’t order at the turn.”