Beat Golf Fatigue: 10 Tips to Help you Perform Better on the Golf Course

Although many people believe golf to be a somewhat leisurely sport, it actually demands a considerable amount of physical and mental energy, and golf fatigue can be a real problem. Whether it's an amateur golfer playing a Saturday medal or a PGA Tour professional teeing it up at Augusta, golfers often find themselves battling fatigue during and after a round of golf. Not only can golf be physically demanding due to the long distances walked and the number of shots played, but it can also be mentally draining thanks to the concentration required - especially when playing competitively. If you're a golfer who struggles with fatigue, read on because in this blog post, I'll be sharing 10 top tips and strategies that could help you beat fatigue, maintain focus, and perform better on the golf course.

1. Prioritise your physical fitness

It goes without saying that golf is a physically demanding sport, requiring you to use many of your body’s muscles when playing each shot. If you haven’t done so already, consider incorporating regular strength and flexibility training that focuses on your core, legs and back into your fitness routine. Doing so will not only significantly improve your endurance on the golf course but will also likely help prevent many common golf injuries. In addition to strength training, consider cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling and swimming to help enhance your overall stamina. 

2. STAY Hydrated

Dehydration can be a major problem on the golf course given that the game requires you to be physically active and outdoors for a prolonged period, often leading to a rapid loss of fluids. If you want to maintain high levels of energy and concentration then make sure you pack plenty of water bottles and take regular sips, even if you don’t feel thirsty. When packing for a round, I make sure that I have at least 2l of water in my bag (thankfully I use a trolley), and even more if it’s a hot and humid day. If you’re looking for a little extra boost, consider opting for electrolyte-rich drinks or adding electrolyte tablets to your water, which are scientifically proven to help replenish essential minerals lost through sweat.

3. Consider your pace of play

It’s essential to be mindful of your pace of play during your round, as it can have an impact on your fatigue levels. If you rush to your ball to play your next shot as fast as possible, you may end up feeling burnt out, while moving too slowly can cause your muscles to cool down and become tight. The key is to find a balance where you can walk and play at a pace that helps you conserve energy but doesn’t negatively affect your style of play. Conserving energy will also be helpful during long walks between the holes or tees. You can use this time and energy to focus on your breathing, which can help you stay calm and composed before your next shot.

4. Make Sensible Equipment Choices

One of the best golf-related decisions I’ve ever made was investing in a PowaKaddy electronic golf trolley about six years ago. Prior to owning the trolley, I used to carry my golf clubs using a stand bag, which would often leave me feeling exhausted by the midway point of my round, especially on the hilly course of my old golf club. However, switching to a cart bag and trolley lifted the weight off my shoulders, allowing me to feel more relaxed, loosen up, and play better golf. The trolley also enabled me to carry more supplies such as food, water, clothing, and extra golf balls, as all the heavy lifting was taken care of.

While I still use a carry bag occasionally, it’s usually only when I’m playing a few holes or carrying a half set. If you don’t plan to use an electric trolley, I highly recommend investing in a lightweight and ergonomic golf bag with dual straps. This will not only reduce the strain on your shoulders and back but also help you save energy during your round. Additionally, make sure to buy good quality and properly fitted golf shoes to ensure comfort and stability. Personally, I’ve been using FootJoy Premiere Series Packard golf shoes for over two years now, and I absolutely love them.

5. On and Off-course Nutrition

It’s tempting to grab a Mars bar from the pro shop as you head to the first tee, thinking it will give you a much-needed energy boost during your round. However, this is not the case. While it may provide a short burst of energy for a few minutes, it will soon be followed by a crash, which will likely negatively impact your performance on the course. Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully consider what you eat both before and during your round, as it can significantly affect your performance. Avoid consuming heavy and greasy foods like bacon rolls before playing golf, even though they may seem appealing at the time, they don’t provide much energy and may cause discomfort during play. Instead, it’s recommended to have a balanced pre-round meal that is rich in carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats, as it will help sustain your energy levels and repair your muscles.

For some on-course snacks to enjoy between holes, consider bananas, cashew nuts, and the occasional energy bar like these popular MGP Nutrition oat bars. These superfoods offer a slow release of energy, which will help you maintain your energy levels without experiencing the crash commonly associated with consuming a chocolate bar.

6. Plan and Play strategically

When playing a round of golf, it’s important to carefully consider your on-course strategy and the types of shots you play. Instead of constantly going for the most aggressive or heroic shot, try to minimize risks and conserve your energy. While power is great, accuracy is even more important, particularly when navigating a challenging course. Not only will this approach help you save energy, but it will also likely result in lower scores. I’ve recently started using Shot Scope’s new MyStrategy app feature to plot and plan my way around the golf course, with great success. If you’d like to find out more about it and see it in action, check out this short MyStrategy YouTube video I recently created.

7. Practise Mental Focus and Relaxation Techniques

One thing that has been really helpful for me while playing golf, especially during competitive rounds, is incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing between shots. I have made deep breathing a part of my pre-shot routine, which means that as I approach my ball to play my shot, I take three deep breaths. This helps to reduce my heart rate and release any tension in my body. If you’re ever playing a shot and feel tense or anxious, try taking a few extra seconds to breathe in through your nose until your chest rises up, hold the breath for a second, and then exhale through your mouth. You’ll feel the tension release from your body instantly.

It’s important to have a positive mental attitude (PMA) when playing golf, in addition to practising breathing techniques. Although golf can be frustrating at times, it’s essential to remember that you’re most likely not a professional golfer and that you’re there to enjoy yourself. Being hard on yourself after a bad shot not only shows weakness to your opponent but may also affect your decision-making and future shots. If you have a bad round or play a bad shot, try to forget about it immediately and move on. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, focus on the positives.

8. Warm-up and Cool-down

Although golf may not seem as physically demanding as other sports, such as tennis or football, playing a round of golf can still put a strain on your body. Therefore, it’s important to warm up before and cool down after your round. Unfortunately, many golfers, including myself, tend to neglect this part of the process. To be honest, I usually arrive at the tee with only 30 seconds to spare, leaving myself no chance for a proper warm-up. While I may have gotten away with this during my teens and twenties, now that I’m in my mid-thirties, I’ve noticed the negative effects of this habit on my body. As a result, I’m eager to address this issue and make sure that I properly warm up before and cool down after each round of golf.

It is recommended to properly stretch before starting your game to prepare your muscles for the movements that you’ll be making during your swing. If you’re short on time, you can warm up on the tee by grabbing two irons and making swings. This may not be as effective as a proper stretching session but it does help to warm up your muscles and provide some resistance due to the weight of the clubs. 

Once you’re done with your round, you can perform static stretches to increase flexibility and reduce muscle stiffness. You don’t have to go all out like Miguel Ángel Jiménez with your warm-up and cool-down routines, but doing something is better than nothing. Even a brief warm-up can help prevent injuries and manage fatigue.

9. Embrace wearable Technology

The advancements in golf technology in recent years have been remarkable. There are now several devices and apps available that can help you enhance your performance by keeping track of various metrics. For instance, the Garmin S62 golf watch provides GPS information on the course and also tracks heart rate, steps, and other useful data. Personally, I prefer using the Shot Scope X5 golf watch which not only tracks my golf performance stats but also provides GPS information and step count. You can save 15% on the Shot Scope website by entering the code ‘ANDYSGOLF‘. If you are more interested in health and fitness, the WHOOP fitness tracking bands are a great option. These bands are trendy and widely used by leading tour professionals like Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Scottie Scheffler.

Using a device or app to track your fitness data can provide insightful information about your physical condition, both on and off the golf course, and help prevent overexertion.

10. Sleep like a baby

To ensure both physical and mental recovery, it is essential to get sufficient and quality sleep. If you frequently play golf, participate in competitions, or spend hours at the practise range, prioritising enough rest is crucial. Insufficient sleep can cause increased fatigue, difficulty focusing and concentrating, and poor decision-making during your game. Try to establish a consistent sleep routine, aiming for at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. This will help you recover faster, perform better, and feel more alert on the golf course.

The WHOOP health and fitness tracking band is designed to analyse sleep cycles and indicate lack of rest and recovery and may well become your new best friend if you’re looking to become a better sleeper.

So there you have it, 10 top tips to help you beat that golf fatigue and perform better on the golf course. If there are any tips you think I’ve missed out or anything that you do personally that you feel could help other amateur golfers, be sure to drop a comment below.

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