Junior golf tournament nutrition is critical to kids being able to stay mentally sharp during a golf round and physically able to execute quality shots. What a junior golfer eats during a round is very important.
If your junior is playing in a 9 hole tournament, and definitely if he/she is playing in an 18 hole tournament, you will want to pack snacks into their golf bag or into a cooler that they can hang on the push cart. Golf rounds can last a long time and require a lot of walking, stamina and focus.
Nutritious snacks will help keep the player's blood sugar level steady, which will help guard against lapses in concentration and keep energy levels steady. When blood sugar levels drop the player will be more susceptible to becoming tired, irritable or shaky - none of these circumstances is at all helpful to a junior golfer trying to perform at their best.
The best snacks are low glycemic and high in protein. Our 'go-to' snack on the golf course is the uncomplicated peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We also pack fruit, nuts, Z Bars and biltong (which is a highly nutritious and delicious South African dried meat snack similar to jerky but a more healthy option).
Other simple and easy snacks, perfect for your junior's golf round, include : Cliff bars, Organic Trail-Mix, Almonds, granola bars and bananas. Some cubes of cold watermelon packed in a plastic container in the cooler are fantastic on a hot day! A bag of pretzels, yogurt covered pretzels and dried fruits are also a nice snack options but don't overdo the carbohydrates as this can spike blood sugar levels.
Water is the best drink to have on hand and should be sipped throughout the round to maintain hydration. Bringing your own water bottle, which can be filled up on the course, is essential. An insulated, stainless steel water bottle will keep water cold for hours which is helpful especially in the summer months - the Hydro Flask is a great option(keeps drinks ice cold for 24 hours) and is sold in PGA Superstore and other good golf shops. Most golf courses have water points at regular intervals and many tournaments will provide coolers throughout the course with waters and sports drinks. Juniors should not drink too many sports drinks as they are very high in sugar and we recommend diluting them with water or plenty of ice.
Many factors, far beyond the scope of a parents' control, influence the outcome of a junior golf tournament. As parents we can, however, make sure our players have solid nutrition and hydration while playing which in turn helps them to focus more on their game.