August is Golf Month! While the origins of the sport are hotly debated (most claim the modern version of the sport originated in Scotland during the Middle Ages), for those of us who’ve played the game there’s no debating the fact that you need to fuel up before you hit the golf course. If you don’t, you could find your game fading fast on the back nine.
While golf might appear to be a rather leisurely pursuit, it does demand a lot of energy. According to the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA):
• The average round of golf lasts 227 minutes.
• During that time, golfers walk at least 5.5 miles.
• On average, golfers lose 2 pounds and burn 2,000 – 2,500 calories.
So, when should you eat and what should you eat before you head out to the course? Because it takes 3 – 4 hours for your body to digest a large meal, be sure to fuel up in advance. And bring healthy snacks so you don’t lose steam at the end of your round — remember, you’ll be on the course for about 4 – 5 hours.
Before a round of golf, the RCGA recommends eating a high-carbohydrate, low-fat meal with moderate proteins to supply you with the energy you need. Think of carbohydrates as your energy source — they help your body maximize your stores of glycogen. A low-fat meal helps your body digest the meal quickly without bogging you down. According to the RCGA, stocking up on quality carbohydrates and water can help your performance. If you want to get scientific about it, the RCGA recommends 30 – 35 grams of carbohydrates per hour of golf.
What if you have an early morning round of golf? Fuel up with high quality, fresh carbohydrates the night before.
It’s just as important for you to eat well after a round of golf because exercise breaks down proteins in your muscles and depletes your energy stores (carbohydrates in the form of glycogen). For this reason, the RCGA feels it’s important to replenish with proteins and carbohydrates within about two hours of finishing your golf game while your body is working to replenish these nutrients and rebuild muscle.
And that’s where potatoes come in. Potatoes are great sources of carbohydrates for energy (37 g per average potato) — and they’re rich in potassium (which you lose when you sweat). In fact, potatoes are the largest and most affordable source of potassium of any vegetable or fruit. Potassium plays an important role in brain, kidney and heart function, cardiovascular health, maintaining blood sugar levels and healthy blood pressure. Potassium helps regulate body fluids, builds muscle, helps your body run efficiently and can help prevent muscle cramps.
Potatoes also help improve your circulation. The average potato provides 614 mg of potassium and 35% of your daily vitamin C needs — nutrients that help maintain blood pressure. And potatoes help you recover from exercise because of their antioxidants. Red and purple potatoes are especially rich in antioxidants.
Looking for some fun golf trivia? Visit http://www.usgamuseum.com/researchers/faq/. Looking for some great Wisconsin potato recipes? Visit http://eatwisconsinpotatoes.com/recipes/ or try these great breakfast recipes: