Could caffeine supplements boost your golf game?


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Image: © iStockPhoto / alexsokolov
Image: © iStockPhoto / alexsokolov

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A caffeine-containing supplement may improve golf scores and longer drives, according to results of a new trial from Auburn University.

Data from a 36-hole competitive golf tournament indicated that a supplement containing 155 milligrams of caffeine (about the same as you’d get from a cup of coffee) resulted in total score of 77, compared to an average score of 79 in the placebo group.

The drive distance was also statistically greater following caffeine supplementation, with an average of 240 yards versus 233 yards in the placebo group, according to findings published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

“A moderate dose (1.9 mg per kg) of caffeine consumed before and during a round of golf improves golf-specific measures of performance and reduces fatigue in skilled golfers,” ​wrote the authors, led by Petey Mumford.

Study details

Mumford and his co-workers recruited 12 male golfers with an average age of 35 to participate in their double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. All of the participants had a US Golf Association (USGA) handicap of 3-10. The men were randomly assigned to receive a caffeine-containing supplement or placebo before tee-off and again after 9 holes. The next day they were crossed over to the other group.

Results showed that, in addition to improvements in total score and drive distance, the caffeine supplement was also associated with more greens in regulation, with an average of 8.6 in the caffeine group, compared to 6.9 in the placebo.

Mumford and his co-authors also reported that the caffeine intervention was associated with statistically significant increases in both energy and lower fatigue over the competitive round of golf. No significant effects were recorded for heart rates, or any of the other variables measured.

Golf © BenGoode
Image © iStockPhoto / BenGoode

‘Two strokes is huge’

Corresponding author Dr Kaelin Young of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine told Reuters: “For a skilled golfer who plays two days in a tournament just to get into the earnings rank, two strokes is huge.”

David Bishop of the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living and College of Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University in Melbourne offered a note of caution however, telling Reuters: “For those who have reached a plateau in their performance, and are confident their training or practice can’t be improved, they might want to consider it.

“I would however, recommend that athletes first speak with their doctor or sports dietitian.”

Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000753
“Effect of Caffeine on Golf Performance and Fatigue during a Competitive Tournament”
Authors: P.W. Mumford et al. 

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