Swing & Sip: Staying Hydrated on the Golf Course

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Staying hydrated on the golf course is essential for maintaining focus and performance, especially during the summer months. Much of the United States experiences 100°F temperatures during the summer months.

There is no shame in using the restroom multiple times during your round, it just means you are staying hydrated! Just don’t go to the restroom in the bushes next to the old woman’s house. She is watching.

Why Staying Hydrated is Important

Staying well hydrated is not only important for your golf game, it is important for your overall health. The benefits are almost too many to list, but I’ll try:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Keeps joints lubricated (and less painful)
  • Delivers nutrients to cells
  • Allows organs to function optimally
  • Improved mental clarity and focus
  • Improved digestion
  • More energy
  • and on and on and on

The list doesn’t stop there. If you can think of a bodily function that hydration could possibly improve, it will improve it.

Golf is a sport that takes a lot of time. And all that time is spent outdoors in the elements, so hydration is absolutely critical. It’s not to say you can’t have a few beers during your round, but your body would pleased if you didn’t.

Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated on the golf course:

Drink Plenty of Water

Start by drinking water before you hit the course. The pro shop has a bathroom, so don’t be afraid to drink water on the way to the course. Showing up dehydrated is a surefire way to stay dehydrated for the whole round.

Figure out a way to carry a refillable water bottle and sip regularly throughout your game. Whether you are carrying clubs, using a push cart, or driving a golf cart, there is always a way to carry a water bottle. I haven’t been to a golf course that doesn’t have locations where you can fill up your water bottle.

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Using a refillable water bottle will also save you a few bucks. You won’t be asking the beverage cart for a $5 bottle of water (we’ve all done it).

Have a Hydration Schedule

Aim to drink water every few holes, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Waiting until you’re thirsty means you’re already somewhat dehydrated. This is hard because all you are thinking about is golf.

I try to get a drink every time I’m waiting for others to hit their tee shots. It keeps me from distracting them or talking in their backswing (guilty).

Sports Drinks

Electrolyte-enhanced drinks or sports drinks are great at replenishing lost electrolytes, especially if you’re playing in hot weather or sweating a lot. An electrolyte imbalance can really throw off your game, mostly your putting.

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07/19/2024 09:01 am GMT

This tip mostly applies to all those golfers playing in the middle of the summer, but electrolytes can help maintain hydration during any season.

Avoid Excessive Caffeine and Alcohol

*This tip does not apply if you are on a weekend bender with the boys*

Caffeine and alcohol are both great at dehydrating you, so try to limit your intake of these beverages while golfing. If you don’t limit them, you could feel like a raisin by the end of the round.

Do not drink alcohol on the golf course if you are trying to improve your golf game. A couple drinks might not hurt, but we all know what happens after a couple drinks: a couple drinks more. So it is best to just stay away. Your wallet will thank you as well.

Caffeine has been shown to improve athletic performance under proper conditions. Natural caffeine (tea, coffee) paired with plenty of water could actually improve your golf game. The problem is all the caffeine sources at the golf course are loaded with sugar and synthetic caffeine. So caffeine isn’t all bad, you just need to be careful.

Eat Water-Rich Foods

Snack on fruits that have high water content (melons, oranges, berries) to supplement your hydration. These fruits contain healthy fiber, nutrients, and sugars to keep you going as well. It’s difficult to keep these fruits on hand at the golf course, but not impossible with good planning.

Many snack bars will have fruit cups available than contain the same fruits listed above. See our list of other snacks that can help keep your energy up on the course.

Use Shade and Hats

Golf courses are extremely exposed. There are few places to seek shade and you are often in the middle of a fairway (hopefully). The only way to find shade is to bring it yourself.

Seek out any shady spots during breaks and wear a hat to minimize sun exposure. Dehydration will set in quickly if you aren’t drinking enough water and spend most of your time in the sun.

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07/19/2024 08:56 am GMT

Using an umbrella that attaches to your push cart or bag is an excellent way to keep the sun off. It’s too bad we don’t all have caddies to hold the umbrella for us.

Monitor Urine Color

The time tested method to determine if your are dehydrated: urine color.

Each time you use the restroom, be aware of your urine color. If it’s darker than a pale yellow, it’s a sign you need to drink more water. Before you do anything else, go get a drink of water from your water bottle.


Dehydration does not happen suddenly. It takes a series of events to cause dehydration.

Hydration starts before you pull into the golf course parking lot. Ensure you’re well-hydrated the day before and on the day of your round. If you wake up hungover and dehydrated, you don’t really stand a chance of getting rehydrated before the round is over.

Final Thoughts on Hydration

Remember, staying hydrated is crucial for your performance and well-being on the golf course. Don’t ignore these hydration tips if you are trying to improve your golf game. It is a simple concept that can change your game with little effort.

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