How often should you snack on the golf course? Heed Michael Phelps’ advice

Michael Phelps watches a tee shot during the WM Phoenix Open pro-am at TPC Scottsdale on Feb. 7, 2024.

Michael Phelps watches a tee shot during the WM Phoenix Open pro-am at TPC Scottsdale on Feb. 7, 2024.

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While the on-course menu for most buddies trips’ consists of six-packs and hot dogs, there actually is a proper way to eat and fuel up on the golf course, and that’s true for pros and amateurs.

It’s important, too. Watch your favorite professionals on TV or in person and you might notice them snacking between holes. They all have their go-to foods and drinks as well. Tiger Woods has his crunchy peanut butter and banana sandwiches; Rickie Fowler prefers protein balls.

A healthy, consistent diet on the course can actually help you perform better. Don’t believe it? Let’s have Michael Phelps explain. The 23-time gold-medal-winner-turned-golf-junkie recently sat down for a lengthy interview with that covered a ton of topics — you can check out the entire thing here — and one of them included his snacking habits while on the golf course.

His input is important because as a world-class swimmer, what you put into your body (and at what times) is crucial to peak performance. You want energy and reserves — and you definitely don’t want lulls.

Here’s Phelps’ answer, in full:

When you were back in your swimming prime, eating right, preserving and using energy, that was super important. It’s also big on the golf course. Do you have a go-to meal or snack or something you used when you were swimming you might use on the golf course now?

I was trying to get as many carbs and calories into my system as I possibly could. Just racing that much over eight days, I had to maintain my racing weight. But on the golf course, the first year or so I never would eat, and I would always crash at the end of the round. I’m like, “What the hell is going on? This is really bizarre.” And I started having a conversation with Jon Rahm and some of the other players about that and asking them what they do and how often they eat. And it makes sense, right? Like, those guys are trying to keep their levels at an even plane. They don’t want the spikes and the lows. They want them all consistently through the round. So naturally Rahm eats his sandwiches and so on.

For me, we have little halfway houses at Silverleaf. And they always have peanut butter and jellies or some kind of chicken salad sandwich. And I’ll grab something every three or four holes. I always have bars or like pretzels in my bag, or almonds, some kind of snack. And I know that if I’m not snacking throughout the round, then my game is going to be affected by that. So I’ve gotten to the point now that I’m just conscious of it like I was when I was swimming. I knew that I had to feed my body like a racecar if I wanted it to perform like a racecar. And it’s the same thing on the golf course, right?

We agree, Michael. So do the experts, most of whom say snacking on quality foods every three to hour holes and drinking plenty of water is the best way to keep your body right to help you perform during an 18-hole round. It also helps your blood sugar stay steady, because spikes there lead to spikes in your performance — and scorecard.

Looking for more inspiration for a healthy, impactful on-course diet? You can read here or here.

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at