Staying hydrated is important for any type of physical exercise. You’re sweating a lot so you’re losing a lot of fluids and electrolytes which need to be replaced.
If you’re carrying out intense physical activity in warm weather, proper hydration is absolutely vital because you’re sweating more than if you had exercised in a gym.
Even losing as little as 2% sweat can have significant effects on the way your body controls its temperature and other functions. Hot, humid conditions are also more dangerous than dry conditions because the sweat doesn’t leave your skin. The sweatiness you experience is actually due to the water vapour in the air.
So, staying hydrated properly is even more important in sports like golf where you’re spending time outside for several hours and sometimes that means spending several hours in severe heat on a hot summer’s day.
For golf, you need good focus and concentration. Not only would dehydration significantly impede your concentration, it could also be dangerous since it can lead to quick exhaustion. In golf not only are you exhausting yourself mentally, but also physically.
To perform a good shot, you need to be fully focused on the movements and position of your body every time you take a shot.
Although it is tempting to gorge on hot dogs and sip on alcoholic drinks or sodas, these are not good sources for adequate hydration. You need to select drinks that are healthy and not full of refined sugar, which can ruin your performance.
What happens in the body during a round of golf
If you’re playing golf in hot weather for several hours, you’re losing a lot of sweat. When you’re losing sweat not only are you losing much-needed fluids, but you ‘re also losing important electrolytes such as chloride, potassium and sodium.
Considering that water is the biggest chemical component of our bodies, losing precious water can be detrimental to your physical performance if the lost fluids are not replaced.
Water is required for every process in the body, from transporting nutrients in the blood to removing waste products quickly during intense physical activity. It is also crucial in cellular metabolism.
So, it can directly affect your physical performance when the cells in your muscles and brain require quick transport of nutrients into them and waste products out of them. In fact, hydration losses of 2-3% will have a 10% negative effect on your physical performance, which could cost you almost 8 shots.
It’s also important to note that the electrolytes lost in the sweat during sports, such as sodium and potassium are also the ones that control your nervous functions.
A delicate balance of these minerals is needed for good nervous function. Your nervous function will determine how well you can concentrate and also controls the muscle contractions for your body. With golf, you need to perform precise physical actions to get a good shot, so poor nervous function could ruin your game.
Best Drinks for a Round of Golf
Before we get into some great drinks for playing golf in hot weather, we need to establish how much fluid to consume. The exact amount obviously varies from person to person but it is good to know an estimate.
So, these estimations are a great place to start:
Drink more than 8 ounces of water before a round.
During the round, aim for between 4 and 8 ounces every quarter or half an hour.
Once the round is done, aim for around 16 ounces of fluid.
When it comes to deciding which drinks are best during a round of golf, keep the following in mind:
Avoid diuretics which lead to extra hydration losses and will leave you needing the bathroom
Avoid carbonated drinks or those with a high refined sugar content. The load of sugar will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and crash and ruin your concentration.
Avoid drinks that are too high in caffeine which can leave you feeling jittery and restless. They will mess with your concentration.
Select drinks that have electrolytes as well as plenty of water. Don’t forget that important electrolytes are also lost in sweat!
Drinks to avoid:
Carbonated soft drinks
Most carbonated soft drinks are full of refined sugar. Sugar is ok if you’re doing intense physical activity for a short duration, such as sprinting. But golf lasts several hours, and you need endurance. Sugar doesn’t help this, and in fact, sabotages your concentration and endurance. It makes blood sugar levels spike and crash which will mess with your physical performance, leaving you fatigued.
Carbonated energy drinks like Red Bull
These are very high in caffeine and refined sugar. These will leave you feeling restless, jittery and ultimately very fatigued. None of those are good for an endurance sport like golf.
Alcohol is a depressant and a diuretic, a bad combination for all sports including golf. It will leave you feeling dehydrated quickly.
Store bought fruit juices
Although it can be tempting to drink a refreshing serving of fruit juice on a hot summer’s day, most store-bought fruit juices are high in sugars and cause the same problems as carbonated soft drinks.
The best drinks for golf on a hot summer’s day
Sports drinks such as Gatorade can be useful because they generally have little carbohydrate but contain crucial electrolytes lost in sweat. You can opt for natural sports drinks as well that use natural sources of carbohydrate.
Water or flavoured water are excellent drinks for a hot summer’s day outside playing golf. You can prepare your own flavoured water by using ingredients such as refreshing mint, or low-calorie fruits. This will replace the fluids lost, but they don’t have electrolytes. Hence you would need to take electrolytes separately, like in the form of a tablet.
You can also prepare your own ‘sports’ drink with added electrolytes and some low-calorie sweeteners like Stevia.
Protein shakes can be great drinks before a game of golf. They can give you much-needed protein and fluids to keep you satiated.