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In Depth: What I learnt from golfers' pee

HYDRATION during golf is key in ensuring you don't suffer from a lapse in concentration late in your round, but how do you stay hydrated correctly?

YEP, I’m talking urine! You might be wondering what that has got to do with someone’s golf performance.

Well your urine tells you a huge amount about your level of hydration – specifically, how much fluid you take on board and absorb.

Your level of hydration has also been proven to have a large effect on physical performance and especially endurance.

There are plenty of examples of this in sport; marathon runners grabbing water cups mid run, football players guzzling water or sports drinks at regular intervals.

Whilst a round of golf is not a hardcore endurance event, you still walk on average 10km per round and have to make good quality, dynamic swings right to the very end of a 4-5 hour round.

So we know that hydration is important for golf performance from a physical point of view, but did you know that it is the mental side of golf that really gets affected by how much fluid you ingest?

Switching off in the last few holes (usually the toughest) due to poor hydration can lead to all sorts of mental errors such as poor club selection, playing overly aggressive, not sticking to pre shot routine and errors of judgment around the green.

OK, back to the pee! I recently carried out the sports science role at one of the biggest elite amateur tournaments in Australia.

It involved gathering all sorts of information on a select group of players including weight, food intake, fluid intake and the all-important urine sample.

I tested the pee with a high-tech piece of equipment and got a reading that told me whether the player was dehydrated or not and to what scale – from moderately dehydrated to dry as a bone in some cases!

All of the players were elite golfers, plus figure handicaps and all of them state or national representatives.

They had been receiving good quality information regarding nutrition and hydration for months and years, through involvement with development programs.

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These kids were not novices and knew what they needed to do and for the most part they were pretty good.

They drank plenty before their round and up to four litres during, yet still some of them would come back the next morning and be dehydrated.

This puzzled us at the time so at the end of the week I sat down with the data and had a good look through.

There turned out to be a very strong correlation between the amount of fluid consumed after the round and how well hydrated the players presented the next day.

The average intake post round was 600ml (between walking off the 18th green and bed).

This turned out to be about one litre too little – one and a half litres seemed to be the amount that the players needed to drink if they were to present decently hydrated the following day.

Unfortunately, you can’t just guzzle as much water as possible and restore your hydration levels.

It takes hours of consistent and gradual fluid intake to restore a dry person back to a hydrated state.

So by the time you realise you’re dehydrated, it’s already too late.

So, what I learned from golfer’s pee was that if you want to be mentally switched on and focused for your round of golf then you need to be hydrated.

If you want to be hydrated then you had better start thinking about it the day before, not simply stocking up on Gatorade in the pro shop whilst picking up your scorecard and pencil.

Try to consume three litres of water during the day and at least one and a half in the afternoon/evening (based on 75kg of bodyweight).

Do this and you shouldn’t get dehydrated.

You will have more energy for longer and be less likely to make those silly mental errors on the last few holes.

Photo: Shutterstock

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nick RandallNick Randall is a qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter, Rehab Expert and Therapist.

Nick works with a number of professionals on multiple tours and is also contracted by Golf Australia and Golf Queensland to work with their elite amateur players.

Nick also works on an individual and group basis with club level golfers of all ages and abilities.

Based in Brisbane, Queensland, Nick trains and treats golfers at his private facility in the suburb of Milton.

He also has a range of online services including the world leading golf fitness app  "Golf Fit Pro". Click here for more info.

Nick's passion for golf started at age 13 and quickly developed into a complete obsession that only seems to be getting stronger with age.

He began his strong interest in fitness aged 20, pursued the relevant qualifications, decided to mix his two passions to form a career in 2010 and hasn't looked back!

To keep up to date with Nick's social media activity, click here

 

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