Post-Round Recovery: Nourishing Your Body After a Day on the Course



The game of golf is magical, rewarding and challenging. Being a sport of precision, it requires a combination of skills, strategy, endurance, and occasional moments of power, when hitting long clubs like a driver.

While golf is not traditionally associated with the need for high levels of physical fitness, there are many reasons that the modern-day golfer is going after their fitness.

The complexity of the golf swing, the high level of musculoskeletal forces involved, and the repetitive nature of practice can predispose players to injury risk unless they have various fitness attributes.

The golf swing is a highly athletic movement. To execute safely and effectively, golfers require good levels of mobility, core stability, neuromuscular control, strength and speed (Hume and Keogh 2017).

A stand-out example is the driver. How much force do you think you put through the body when swinging the driver at full speed?

Research shows vertical compression equating to six times your body weight going through L4-L5 in the lumbar spine with each swing (Lim, Chow and Chae 2012). That is about half a ton of force going through the lower back for most adult players.

For this reason, golfers need to be good athletes. They need to be able to alleviate this joint compression by using the right teams of muscles at the right time and in the right way.

However, there is more. The cognitive side of golf is also huge. The best players in the world are rewarded for better cognitive function – whether you are talking about the ability to focus, their ability to make better decisions under pressure or problem-solving (Chen, Wang et al. 2022).

In this way, golf is an amazing all-around sport and both the brain and body need the right fuel to get the most out of our game. Get nutrition right in the round, and you can bring your best mentally and physically. Get it wrong, and your energy and results can suffer.

Post-workout recovery is also really important. Golf presents unique demands to the body and you want to be set up to play well the next day with simple but science-led strategies in your nutrition. In this post, I will share a series of solutions you can use. 

Having worked with players on the PGA Tour and European / DP World Tour since 2009, I have seen the evolution of thinking here and witnessed firsthand how recovery is becoming as important as strength and conditioning as a theme in sustainable high performance. Some of my players like Justin Rose, invest in themselves in this respect. For example, he has a dedicated recovery bus we designed several years ago, following him on the PGA Tour. This recovery bus contains cutting-edge regeneration tools to help him care for his health and performance on the road. 

Recovery and Amateur Golf

Let’s look a little more closely at what recovery looks like for those of us competing at an amateur level.

Let us start with activity levels. The average amateur golf course is 6700 yards long. By the time you traverse the left and right off the fairway on each hole, that typically equates to a four or five-mile walk each round, but it could potentially be a fair bit more (Kasper, O'Donnell et al. 2023).

Research shows that the average golfer burns about 700 calories per round, whether they carry a bag or push a trolley (Kasper, O'Donnell et al. 2023). This insight can help you think about in-round fuelling strategies and the level of calories you need to take on to perform your best.

Hydration is also a big deal. One recent study found that even mild dehydration can reduce the distance you hit the ball, the accuracy with which you hit it, and the quality of your judgement on the course on particular golf shots (Smith, Newell and Baker 2012).

As we alluded to at the start, certain muscles in the body in the golf swing also produce a high level of muscle force. Research using electromyography (EMG - a measure of muscle response to a stimulation) has found certain areas of the body, such as the hamstrings, reaching over 70% activation in the downswing (Marta, Silva et al. 2016).


Post-Round Nutrition

How can you use this to guide your post-around recovery? Let us frame it through three lenses so it feels easier: macronutrients, micronutrients and rehydration. Tick these three boxes, and you will be set up for success.


The first thing you want to think about post-round are the big rocks: your macronutrients. The body needs certain building blocks to thrive: proteins, carbohydrates and dietary fats. Each serves unique but complementary functions in recovery.

Protein is a priority for any golfer post-round. As we just described, the body has to absorb and produce much force in the swing. Similar to resistance training, in the short-term, reps of the golf swing can have a catabolic effect on the body as we stress tissues (Marasingha-Arachchige, Rubio-Arias et al. 2022).

You want to take on adequate protein throughout the day and post-round for muscle repair. You can do this through food or supplementation. However, it makes sense to consume protein within 30-60 minutes of play to optimise recovery and promote maximal protein synthesis as soon as possible (Jager, Kerksick et al. 2017).

What should your overall protein intake be? Total daily protein matters most, and then you can think about timing. A simple recommendation here is to eat at least 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight each day (Phillips, Chevalier and Leidy 2016).

For example, if you weigh 90kg, you will need 108 grams of protein daily for optimal health. To put this into context, a typical chicken breast will provide about 30 grams of protein. Many people do not hit their protein needs, so this is a number to watch – especially if you are active. If you find it hard to hit your daily recommended protein intake then supplementing with a whey or plant protein powder can be beneficial (Boirie, Dangin et al. 1997). These are absorbable sources of amino acids and can help with optimising peak force, maximal load, reps and work performed (Davies, Carson and Jakeman 2018). Alongside Kinetica’s Clear Whey, Whey protein powders and plant protein options, other convenient sources include Kinetica’s Ready to Drink Protein Shakes and protein bars.

High Protein Milkshake Chocolate pouring Shot

Carbohydrates are also important post-round. Many amateur players will go overboard during the round with simple carbs, like chocolate bars. This can cause blood glucose dysregulation and negatively impact energy whilst playing.

While it is helpful to eat complex carbohydrates during the round alongside protein and healthy fats (such as a chicken salad sandwich with avocado), it is common for players to focus too much on carbohydrates in the round. When you look at the energy systems used in golf, this does not make too much sense.

The body has three energy systems: your aerobic engine (which uses fat to make energy), your glycolytic lactate system (which uses carbohydrates to make energy) and your creatine phosphate system (which uses neither).

Why does this matter? In golf, you usually walk at a low to moderate intensity and pull on the aerobic system therefore, pulling on fats predominantly as a source of fuel. The golf swing is explosive and lasts under two seconds, so you pull on the creatine phosphate system.

In other words, you use the aerobic and creatine phosphate system predominantly and will not pull on the glycolytic system that relies on carbohydrates to fuel movement.

With this in mind, you certainly do not need to avoid carbohydrates, as the brain is a hungry organ and will require glucose for energy. But at the same time, you do not need to eat it exclusively with grain bars, chocolate and fruit.

For example, a recent study kept players topped up with glucose using gummies and found no statistically significant performance enhancement (Nagashima, Ehara et al. 2023). This makes sense when you look at it physiologically.

In short, a balanced approach to eating in-round and post-round will help ensure you have the macronutrients and energy you need to play well. Dietary fats are also essential here – especially omega-three fats, which you can get from sources such as salmon, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and chia seeds.

Omega-three fats help to balance inflammatory processes in the body (Vors, Allaire et al. 2021). This is important post-round because players can be exposed to many different sources of stress, which can promote inflammation, such as tree pollen, pesticides, heat, muscle stress and cognitive load (Galli, Tsai and Piliponsky 2008). Mitigating against chronic inflammation can, therefore, be helpful for both health and performance.

In all of this, whether you are talking about protein, carbohydrates or dietary fats, ensuring that you get adequate overall calories in your day is vital to consider in terms of recovery.

As we have said, you will burn around 700 calories per day. We see many tour players who do not get enough energy on board during the day, which leads to fatigue at the end of the round and can delay post-round recovery. So, keep an eye on your overall calorie intake to ensure you can recover sufficiently. This is especially important if you are training and looking to build strength or mass (Slater, Dieter et al. 2019).


Supplementation can be helpful to ensure you onboard specific nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are required for optimal performance. This includes:

Caffeine: Supplementation like Kinetica’s PreWorkout can help by giving you a blend of energy-supporting nutrients, including low-dose caffeine, which has been shown to help golf performance (Guest, VanDusseldorp et al. 2021). Use this pre-round.

PreFuel Citrus Nutritional Information

Creatine: Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule produced in the body that helps you successfully replenish the creatine phosphate system. Creatine has been shown to help athletes with muscle gain, strength, power, work capacity, recovery and training tolerance (Kreider, Kalman et al. 2017).

Collagen: Using a high-quality collagen product can help facilitate recovery from golf. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has issued a consensus statement on dietary supplements for high-performance athletes and concluded that collagen with vitamin C could potentially help with training capacity, recovery, muscle soreness and injury management by increasing collagen production, thickening cartilage and decreasing joint pain (Maughan 2018).


Electrolyte: The final supplement worth considering to ensure you have the micronutrients required for recovery from golf is an electrolyte. Taking on an electrolyte tablets during your round and post-round can help with the mental and physical demands of play, especially in the heat (Cousins, Young et al. 2019). It also encourages you to drink more water, supporting your overall hydration status.

Test these strategies and let us know how they help you in your game!



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