Let's have a scenario based discussion!

Based on the below scenario, how many grams/kg AND total grams of CHO’s Ned ingest each day?

Client: Ned M.
Weight: 145lbs/65.79kgs

The client participates in competitive golf about 20 hours a week and practicing about 5-6 hours a day when not in tournament play. Golf is considered a low/moderate intensity exercise as most of the time is spent below 50% VO2max1. Based on the current carbohydrate recommendation range for athletes of 6 to 10g/kg, Ned should consume approximately 395 to 658g of carbohydrates per day2.

This equates to 1,580 and 2,632 calories respectively from carbohydrate consumption per day. Obviously with the increased activity that occurs during tournament play, Ned is going to be consuming the higher end of that range especially since the days of tournament play are consecutive. During practice days where Ned is playing only 9 holes or simply hitting the driving range and putting green the carbohydrate consumption need not be so high.

This is a great area of concern as some studies have shown that as little as 19% of intercollegiate female athletes and 10% of intercollegiate male athletes consume the recommended 6 to 10g/kg of carbohydrates.3

Again based on the literature how would you suggest that the above individual obtain the CHO’s- liquid vs solid, simple CHO vs complex CHO (or both) and meals/snacks/ingestion during exercise. Be as specific as possible. The idea at the end of the course is to be able to look at your answers and have a good idea what the active athlete should be ingesting in the way of macro nutrients.

At the recommended 0.7g/kg of bodyweight per hour Ned should consume 46g/hr during a competition round2. Many golf fitness web sites recommend 30-35g/hr. A couple of thing with just generically prescribing 30-35g are bothersome. First, golfers tend to vary in body size and weight greatly. Secondly, there is no scientific evidence to support that specific range. Anecdotal evidence exists of some golfers feeling lethargic or having stomach issues with higher level of consumption.

The easiest way for golfers to achieve the recommended carbohydrate intake levels is through sports drinks or water supplemented with granola bars, trail mix, or dried fruit. Even with prescribed hydration protocols golfers were found to still have a negative fluid balance. Great attention should be paid to hydration strategies especially in the hotter, more humid climates.1,5,6

Recent research has shown that consuming a carbohydrate sports drink at specific intervals in the round significantly improves putting performance during the final 6 holes versus those who consumed a placebo drink.4

An active individual (average of 10 hours of exercise each week- combo of aerobic and resistance training) asks you to explain to them why a low CHO diet is probably not the best way for them to eat- how do you respond?

I would actually provide them with bits of research and discuss the risks of low carb diet versus the benefit of consuming the appropriate amounts. Especially with high intensity exercise such as aerobic and resistance training it is important to consume proper levels of CHO to maintain health and maximize training effects. Poor nutrition (including low CHO) can results in loss of muscle mass, increased fatigue, and injury just to name a few.1,2,4


1. Dotson C, Iso-Ahola S. Walking vs. riding and performance among professional golfers. International Sports Journal. 2003;7:100-110.
2. Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dieticians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009; 109: 509-527
3. Hinton P, Sanford T, Davidson M, Yakushko O, Beck N. Nutrient Intakes and Dietary Behaviors of Male and Female Collegiate Athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. 2004;14:389-405.
4. Stevenson E, Hayes P, Allison S. The effect of a carbohydrate-caffeine sports drink on simulated golf performance. Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism. 2009;34:681-688.
5. Hayes L, Pheasey C. The effect on hydration of consuming hypotonic, isotonic and water beverages during an 18-hole round of golf. British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences.2009:20.
6. Farrally M, Cochran A, Crews D. Golf science research at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Journal of Sports Sciences 2003;21:753-765.