The ideal diet for a golfer, according to a PGA Tour rookie
Golf is a sport that has a reputation — in the recreational ranks, at least — as a “sport.” Many would argue (incorrectly, I might add) that golf isn’t really a sport, but rather a glorified hobby.
“You just ride around in a cart and drink beer. Is is really that hard? How can that be considered a sport?”
Yes, you can ride around and drink all day. And yes, golf is unique in that regard. However, when playing the game competitively, alcohol and buggies are not compatible with high-level play. In the upper echelons of the game, fitness and nutrition are essential.
The PGA Tour has undergone a transformation in that regard over the past several decades. Pro golfers, now more than ever, are top-tier athletes. Trainers and nutritionists are now as common on Tour as swing coaches — it’s that important.
To learn more about the fitness and nutrition of a Tour pro, GOLF.com got the chance to chat with Tour rookie (and MyFitnessPal ambassador) Dylan Wu. The Northwestern grad is midway through his inaugural Tour campaign, and he’s laser-focused on keeping his body in the proper condition to compete at the highest level.
“I want to make sure my nutrition isn’t negatively affecting my performance,” Wu said. “I want to control what I can control. That’s the biggest thing.”
Below are some of his tips for proper nutrition throughout the day to perform your best on the course.
Keep it light in the morning
Wu said that when he’s on the road, he typically eats at the course each morning. The spread is normally diverse, but he tries to keep his diet light for breakfast.
“I make sure I have a lot of fruit in the morning,” Wu said. “Eggs as well — nothing super heavy.”
Wu said he normally eats some sort of meat around lunchtime, but the key for his midday meal is getting plenty of greens.
“During lunchtime they usually have a big salad bar,” he said. “I make sure I eat a lot of greens. Whether it’s salad, spinach, kale, or any of those things. And then usually some lean meat, like chicken.”
Staying fueled during the round is a huge point of emphasis for Wu. Four to five hours in the sun can sap all the energy from a pre-round meal, so it’s important for him to continue eating throughout the round. Wu said he tries to eat a snack every four to five holes when he’s competing.
“I put a lot of nuts and almond butter and light protein bars in my bag,” Wu said. “I just don’t want to have any reason to believe that my nutrition or what I’m putting in my body is [negatively] affecting my performance.”
Quick and healthy dinner
A Tour pro’s schedule is pretty packed from sun up to sun down, so going out for sit-down meals is not in the cards. However, there is one particular “fast-food” option that is popular among pro golfers.
“If I just finished a late round and it’s dark, I’ll usually make a quick Chipotle run,” Wu said. “You probably see more professional golfers at Chipotle every single day after a round than any other restaurant. I get a bowl every time with chicken, rice, veggies, guac and lettuce.”
At last month’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the healthy fast-food chain was catered each day in caddie dining. Naturally, it was a popular stop for the players each night before they headed home for the evening.