Nutritionists like to say that what we put in our bodies is important. While eating healthy food can help us be more productive, unhealthy eating can lead to a loss of productivity. For golfers, this can mean the difference between a good round and a mediocre or poor one. If you look at the professionals on the PGA, European, LPGA and Web.com tours you certainly see a lot of fit athletes engaging in healthy eating habits. Many have nutritionists and fitness experts they work with to help them maintain peak performance.
I am not one of those people.
The reality is that most of us on the public courses have full time jobs and are trying to balance this wonderful game of golf with…well, these people I live with…do they have names or something? I should write this stuff down.
Heck, you’re probably busy right now. In fact, you might be reading this before you go hit the links (if you do, can I take a moment to compliment you on your world-class taste in golf blog reading?) and worse, you might be hungry and/or thirsty and you’re not sure about what to do, and the idea of taking a $10 Nassau off of that asshole coworker of yours is the only thing keeping you from committing homicide so any advantage would be more than welcome.
Or, you’re reading this on the can on your mobile at work. Again, you have great taste reading material in bathroom category (and really, this is much better than Cousin Sally’s latest post on Facebook on LOLCats).
So in the interest of helping you, my fellow public course golfer, I did an experiment of all the popular pre-round food and drink options. If this was on Bleacher Report I’d make a slideshow, but even a blogger like me has some standards. So on this post I’ll go over drink options, and in Part 2 I will cover food.
Item: Airplane Bottle of Whiskey
Size: Smaller than a sleeve of balls. You “could” throw more than one in your golf bag and not be overly taxed.
Cost: A few dollars depending on how rich your taste runs
Taste: Scotchy scotch scotch…in my belly. At 6:00 a.m. this isn’t for everyone, but greatness comes in many forms. To the uninitiated, a bit like room temperature gasoline, but I like Scotch. I’m having my (none of your damn business) ‘nth one now if you must know.
Performance: Initial reaction was “oh fuck yeah!!!” which a few holes later turned into me thinking that I need another. Luckily they’re small so you “could” (I should note that I don’t encourage drinking to excess nor underage drinking) have another. And another. And…well, who’s counting? Have another. I can’t say that I played as well as I could have (doesn’t help when the course puts 3 goddamn flags on every hole…like I’m supposed to know which one to aim at), and maybe, just maybe, removing my pants on the 18th hole may “not” have been what you might call a good idea.
Best for: People who think “hair of the dog” is a good hangover cure, people who are functioning alcoholics, bachelor/stag events, late day rounds when there’s nobody behind you.
Worst for: People who don’t drink.
Item: Diet Cola/Diet Coke
Size: 12 ounces of cola goodness…fatter but a bit shorter than a sleeve of balls so easily fits in any golf bag.
Cost: varies…one can bought from a grocery store can be less than 50 cents.
Taste: Tastes like…well, cola. A cold can of pop on a warm morning…not a bad way to go. And, if things go sideways, I’ve been told that you “could” throw a few fingers of Jack Daniels, Crown Royal, or similar beverage in your cola and that this “might”, in some circles, be pretty good.
Performance: Most cola has caffeine so you get the stimulant of caffeine. Always good to help you get going. If you’re sensitive to caffeine (and I’m not) then maybe not a good idea. Might make you jittery. One of John Daly’s food groups. May or may not lead to a desire to buy LoudMouth golf pants.
Best for: Warm weather rounds if coffee and golf don’t mix.
Worst for: People who don’t drink cola/soda or caffeine.
Item: Electrolyte/Isotonic drink
Size: Varies from 12-32 ounces. Pictured is a 20-ounce bottle of PowerAde Zero. Bigger and taller than a sleeve of balls.
Cost: Most courses I play at charge $2.50-$4.00 for a 20 ounce bottle. I bought an 8-pack of PowerAde at Target for $4.00. Just saying.
Taste: Opinions vary. Ask 20 golfers about this and you could end up with 30 opinions. I happen to like them in certain flavours. Other people think they taste like crap. I think other people are wrong. They come in a litany of flavours. Experiment.
Performance: Mixing with booze could induce vomiting so best not to. For those that like them you get electrolytes and flavour and you get rehydrated. On a warm summer day when I’m not half in the bag, it’s a great way to get energy. For those concerned about sugar, PowerAde makes a zero-calorie version that has no sugar or calories. Gatorade makes a version with half the calories. You can dilute by pouring over ice in the heat.
Best for: Warm weather rounds when you need something more than water and aren’t looking to make a mixed cocktail mid-round.
Worst for: People who don’t like sports drinks. They can be spotted wearing wool slacks in July.
Cost: Free out of the tap but who does that? Anywhere from $1.00 to $5.00 depending on how badly you’re getting gouged.
Size: A 16 ounce bottle is similar in size to a sleeve of balls. A bigger bottle is bigger.
Taste: Bottled water tastes like water. If you can honestly tell the difference between a bottle of Deer Park and some other brand…then start a blog devoted to water and never speak of this again. An icy cold bottle of water on a hot humid day…yeah, that doesn’t suck.
Performance: If you’re not thinking about how good a warm bucket of your saliva would taste come July, you’re probably less likely to get the nervous twitches on that 6-foot putt for par. If you’re hydrated maybe you’ll perform better. Probably.
Best for: People who want to appear in a commercial for one of those “I have trouble urinating” commercials (without sharing too much…I’m like a fire hydrant). Or people who want water and don’t want a soda, alcohol, or a sports drink.
Worst for: Everyone else.
Cost: All over the board, but anywhere from $4.00 and up depending on brand, course, and how much of a pervert you are to the beverage cart girl. Seriously, egregious hitting on the beverage cart driver should be a fine.
Size: A 12-ounce can is similar in size to a sleeve of balls. Fits perfectly in your hand. Has restorative powers.
Taste: Ideally it’ll taste like beer and not one of these fruit-infused “micro-brews” that the beer snobs trot out. Give me a Molson Canadian if at all humanly possible, but among the American macro-brews, on a hot summer day I find it hard to say not to a Miller Lite. Even a Coors Light (known in my parts as “sex in a canoe” (because it’s fucking close to water)) on a hot day can be refreshing. Cold beer can rescue a round going off the rails. Experiment- after your next birdie, crack open a cold one that’s icy cold. That first sip? Yeah, you’re welcome.
Performance: Mixed would be a nice way to put it. There’s alcohol which, according to “science” can dehydrate you (which by my reckoning means…that’s right- time to have another beer and ward off that dehydration!). And alcohol “does” impair judgment (see “goggles, beer”), but is there a such thing as “beer putting”? Methinks not. When in down, aim at the middle flag/hole/fairway. If you’re going to decide to hit the barley shakes like it’s going out of style, just keep moving it along. It is possible to play fast and drunk- I’m living proof. However, a beer can relax the nerves, so if you’re going off the rails a cold one might do the trick. Or it might be putting gasoline on a fire.
Best for: People who like to have fun and like the taste of beer. My people.
Worst for: People who go from 0 to raging asshole after they have a few pops, recovering alcoholics, people who bet completely blotto on one beer.
Item: Energy Shot
Cost: $2.00-$6.00 depending on brand and where you buy it.
Size: Smaller than an airplane bottle of scotch.
Taste: Red Bull is nectar of the gods by comparison. Fruit punch? Worst damn tasting fruit punch I’ve ever had. I imagine this is what “Thunder Muscle” from IFC’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret would taste like but legal in more countries.
Performance: Sort of like drinking a few espressos, it’s a hit of instant energy and will certainly get you going. And by going, I mean your heart rate will be up there with marathon runners and 15-year old boys driving there dad’s Porsche trying to buy beer with a fake ID.
Best for: Feeling completely sans energy and not having any other options. Best not used if Nicotrol gum or patches are a part of your daily diet. Seriously. Use in small doses. Or shit, just drink a few of them. I’m sure your playing partners will enjoy a newly-energized you.
Worst for: Anyone who’s already hopped up.