By Steve Eubanks, Contributor, Golf Business ®
As seen in Jan/Feb 2021 Golf Business Magazine
Jenna Appel just wants you to play better. The certified nutritionist doesn’t scold golfers for their eating habits. If you want a beer and some nachos while watching a game after the round, she’s fine with that. But before and during play, she’d like for you to fuel up to lower your scores.
Appel isn’t some expert on the Food Network. She is a nutritionist and dietitian with Addison’s Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, Florida, where she not only gives advice to golfers, she also authors a newsletter that walks members through the practical benefits of better eating.
“Your nutrition on the course can change your game,” Appel said. “There are certain foods that are going to enhance the game. And there are those that are going to be detrimental to your score. The detrimental ones have excess salt, which is what you get with hot dogs, for example. Anything that has artificial ingredients or processed sugars is going to require more water intake. And most golfers don’t get enough water as it is.
“Before the round, adequate water along with a balanced breakfast is hugely important. Breakfast is really key. I have a lot of clients who have a morning tee time and choose to skip the meal. That’s terrible for your game. Good balance – proper proteins like eggs along with some carbohydrates for longer-lasting energy, as well as some healthy fats, like an avocado, as an anti-inflammatory will help. Then, at the turn, have some fruit or nuts, things that won’t spike your metabolism but will give you a longer burn throughout the rest of your round.”
Operators know that one-off programs like game improvement no longer meet the needs of the modern golfer. Members want a holistic approach, not just to golf but to their entire club experience. Workout routines that add distance and flexibility; relaxation exercises that calm nerves over an important putt; and nutrition that maximizes performance late in the round are all part of that holistic package.
Not every operator has a nutritionist on site. But as golfers start to expect more from their clubs than 18 holes and a beer and hot dog, the trend toward performance-based nutrition will grow. Smart owners should be ready.
Steve Eubanks is a contributor to Golf Business Magazine.