Nutrition is vital for golfers, just as it is for any other athlete. That means that golfers should have a nutritious diet to help support them. Your golf course’s restaurant or clubhouse should provide the quality of food golfers need to stay healthy and play their best game.
Why Proper Nutrition Is Important for Golfers
Golf is a sport, but it’s different from many others. Going through a golf course can take hours, and it takes both physical and mental energy to complete a game successfully. In one round of golf, it’s easy for a golfer to burn over 2000 calories – which isn’t an amount that many think to eat before stepping onto the green.
Hydration is also key to maintaining energy levels during a game, as well as for overall health. When people begin to feel thirsty, they’ve already become dehydrated. When weather conditions are hotter, and sweating is prominent, replacing that water in the body becomes even more critical.
Golfer Nutritional Needs at Each Stage of the Game
Meals pre- and post-game are just one factor golfers need to consider. While it’s unlikely that a golfer will eat throughout the entire round, taking snacks along can help maintain energy and focus levels as the game progresses. Golfers should choose the right food suited to what stage of a round they’re at:
Pre-Round: Proteins, healthy fats, low-glycemic complex carbohydrates, and small portions of whole-grain starches all provide essential nutrients for the long-stretch of a round of golf. A nutritionally balanced meal the night before and the morning of heading to the course provides a strong foundation.
First Six Holes: Low-carbohydrate foods will help stabilize a golfer’s energy levels to prepare them for the game ahead. Pairing fruits with nuts provides both sugars and fats that digest slowly, providing a consistent amount of energy throughout the round.
Second Six Holes: Proteins, carbohydrates, and fat are all essential in the mid-game to maintain a golfer’s ongoing energy level. Protein bars, balls, and shakes are excellent choices, or even a whole grain sandwich with tuna, chicken, or peanut butter can provide that needed energy boost.
Final Six Holes: By the end of the game, a golfer’s concentration has likely wavered, so higher carbohydrate snacks give that instant boost of energy to bring focus back. Dried fruit and low-sugar sports drinks can do the job. Caffeinated beverages can stimulate the brain, but shouldn’t have too many additional sugars in them.
Post-Round: This meal should be like the pre-round one, though higher portions of starchy carbohydrates can help restore energy levels. Water is the best drink, as alcohol can promote dehydration and weaken muscle recovery.
Without proper nutrition, a golfer won’t have the energy and focus to play their best. Proper food before, during, and after a game are all necessary to maintaining a golfer’s heath.
Incorporating Golfer Nutrition into Your Restaurant Menu
When you start to consider the nutritional needs of golfers, you can focus your menu options. You also should consider the social needs of your golfers, as well as the image you want your course to portray. Consider these food trends for any addition to your menu:
Proteins are an essential part to pre- and post-round meals, so incorporating them into your menu with a signature sandwich is one option you can’t pass up. Since this sandwich will likely become your cornerstone food, you should make sure your restaurant or clubhouse prepares it to perfection every time, giving your golfers a delicious option to return to.
Your signature sandwich is also an opportunity to reflect your golf course. Putting a unique twist on this food will also help to draw in business – after all, it won’t be available anywhere else. When golfers want your sandwich, they’ll come to you.
Fresh produce is essential to creating delicious meals and providing a variety of essential nutrients to your golfers. Whether it comes in the form of to-go fruit options before golfers head out on the course or additions to your other menu items, no one can deny that fresh produce is better than ones purchased from a supplier.
You can also take local produce a step further and grow your own garden right on an unused area of your golf course. This helps with savings on food costs and benefiting the environment, which are both positive associations to have with your business. You can also create seasonal options for your menu based on your garden.
Meeting Special Dietary Needs
Many golfers need gluten-free foods or prefer vegan and vegetarian options. Don’t make it difficult for these golfers to meet their nutritional needs while they’re at your course. Create different sections on your menu or clear icons that indicate which food choices meet these requirements.
Meat and fish can pair with vegetables and unique carbohydrate sources for gluten-free meals, and beans are an essential protein for any vegetarian or vegan eaters. Additionally, promoting heart healthy foods that are low in sodium, fat, and sugar can help those with conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly for the golfers who fall into a higher age bracket.
Golf’s social aspect makes it likely that your golfers won’t just play together, but they’ll eat together as well. Pub fare can help boost that atmosphere after a long day on the green. You likely already have some variations of hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks on your menu, but it’s how you customize these items that really helps make your restaurant or clubhouse stand out.
Create custom condiments and toppings, make use of fresh produce, and use high-quality meats. Even a simple hamburger can become decadent with the right preparation – and it’ll be healthier for your customers as well.
Food and beverage sales can easily account for a quarter of a golf course’s entire revenue, so you shouldn’t neglect your restaurant or clubhouse menu. Meeting your golfer’s nutritional needs can be a strong place to start, as they’ll appreciate easy access to what helps them play their best, and recover from a day on the green. Likely, they’ll enjoy their time more as well.
Keeping up with food and beverage trends can help your course restaurant menu remain an appealing option for your golfers, for both new and returning customers alike.