Very few supplement products exist specifically tailored for golfers. (see one here: http://www.ezgolfoutings.com/supplies/strong-drive)
StrongDrive has creatine, caffeine, and a few other ingredients along with a catchy name. Notice the claims: A university study found that golfers increased their drive distance by 14 yards, and got 6% stronger in a bench press. Sounds like a no brainer, right?
Well…..I read the actual study. It was only 14 men in the study group, with an average age of 30. Their handicaps were between 5 and 15. If you are a golfer, you’d recognize how big of a range that is in ability. The study was also funded by the company, which is quite common and ethical, but it’s something to note.
So these results only apply to 30-something-year-old men, decent golfers, yet there wasn’t enough of them to really get applicable, definite conclusions. My point here is that very few studies exist on supplements for golf performance, and the ones that do are really pilot studies for further research. In StrongDrive’s case, even if the results are repeatable, which supplement out of 4 or 5 actually helped? Given how much money goes into golf, I’m a bit surprised how little study there is regarding nutrition.
I’m not a huge advocate of supplements. I think they are overused, over marketed, and generally only offer small benefits IF you are already doing everything else right. That being said, caffeine and creatine may be the two most well researched compounds.
Creatine does help increase power endurance (the ability to get an extra few “reps” in at a higher power output), and caffeine does seem to help alertness and mental performance.
Perhaps the two of them does increase performance. I can’t say definitively, but both are generally safe in moderate amounts. If you aren’t a coffee/tea consumer and aren’t used to caffeine, it could be powerful. Creatine, which our body does produce naturally, could potentially help out.
Here is the thing: some people just simply don’t respond very well to these two supplements. Either they don’t work, or they have side effects. For others, they may work amazing.
Besides creatine and caffeine, protein powder/shakes could be beneficial for recovery and an easy digestible “meal” during play. Protein helps rebuild muscle and other tissue, can keep you fuller longer, and in liquid form is easy to grab and go on the course.
Outside of those 3 (creatine, caffeine, protein), I would tread cautiously through the supplement water. There are some things that may have potential benefit, but studies are scarce, especially in female and elderly populations.
IF you wanted to try a few experiments (and you have no medical reason not to), you can do something like this:
Make your own pre-golf shake.
1 Frozen banana
½ cup Ice cubes (if you want it very thick, skip if you don’t)
¼ cup instant oats
1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
1 scoop whey or vegetarian (usually brown rice/hemp or pea mix)
Try it out for 3 to 5 rounds. See if you notice better energy throughout the round, and feeling better recovery after the round, like reduced soreness or stiffness.
After that, try adding in creatine monohydrate, about 5 grams. This won’t give you an immediate effect, but if you do it for a week straight, it will begin to saturate your muscles and PERHAPS offer a performance benefit. Again, give it at least 3-5 rounds of consistent intake to see if you notice a difference.
Last, try adding in caffeine to the shake. Simply brew 1 cup of green tea and add into the shake. Add more ice if you want to keep it thick. This would give a relatively immediate impact for keeping mentally sharp, especially if you are not used to caffeine or are sensitive to it. Green tea would be a bit less caffeine than a cup of coffee, so it’s a good place to start.
If you notice a difference with 1, 2, or all 3, you now have a super shake! Besides that, making sure you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, eat consistent and balanced meals, exercise regularly, and staying hydrated are A LOT HIGHER on the totem pole than anything in a jar.
Oh, and try to enjoy the rest of the summer! I’ll pick up playing a lot more when it isn’t 115 degrees here in Vegas!