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Get Into Golf: Hydration can help on the back nine

Each week, Get Into Golf hopes to increase your enjoyment of the game by providing pertinent information that will expand your knowledge of the game and hopefully assist in the improvement of your golf score.

In addition, Get Into Golf endeavors to bring items to your attention that not only will be applicable to the game, but valuable to your life as a whole.

During these “dog days of summer” (when the ancient Greeks believed that the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad) it is very important for your body and, in turn, your golf game to stay hydrated. More than once, I have seen the helicopter swoop in, then carry out a languid and listless golfer.



I’m sure everything turned out alright, but apart from the cool ‘copter ride, who wants to miss out on any portion of a round of golf?

Let’s find out; Are sports drinks the way to go? If so, which one is best? Or, is water the best thing to drink? How much do we need to drink? The two basic elements are … what should we buy and how much of it should we drink?




Of course, I’m not a doctor (although I have used a stethoscope with a few volunteers), however, please accept this general information.

For those of whose minds immediately flashed to beer, the answer is no. Certainly, a popular choice following a round of golf, but this adult beverage will actually dehydrate your body. Try to avoid alcohol during the heat, unless you’d like a helicopter ride.

What about fruit juice? On balance, most juices are nutritious, but they are not the best choice to hydrate your body. The natural sugars (fructose) in the juice reduce the ability for your cells to absorb water. Remember, fruit is a food. It has carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes (cell water absorption), but probably not the best thing for hydration.

Soda? The problem, again, is sugar, as well as caffeine. Caffeine and sugar will slow down your body’s ability to absorb water or hydrate.

Knowing all of this, our best choice will most likely be a “sports drinks” or water. Water really is the best, natural hydrator. Drink it early and often.

However, if you’re like me, a little pizzazz is nice. Sometimes one will not drink enough water, because it’s not as flavorful.

Enter the Sports Drink. We’ve heard the brands, Gatorade (inspired by the University of Florida football program), Powerade, Propel, etc. They’ve got minerals,

carbohydrates, and other nutrients that we lose during exercise or in the heat.

The only problem is that some of these drinks contain a lot of sugar, as many as 20 or more grams of sugar. You might as well drink a donut. Make sure you find one that has less than about 5 grams of sugar.

How much should we drink? First off, start hydrating before you play. Then, as a rule of thumb, we need about 4-6 ounces of fluid for every 15 – 20 minutes of exercise. Using my NASA level math skills, this would be about a pint an hour or perhaps a gallon over the course of your average round of golf.

My favorite, low sugar sports drink is Propel Fitness Water. Propel has vitamins, carbohydrates, and tastes great. It’s not water, but the key is to get the right fluid into your body when you’re exercising and in warm temperatures.

Enjoy the game, enjoy the nice, warm weather and make sure you drink a few bottles of your favorite sports drink or water during your round to help you shoot those low scores!

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@pga.com.


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