Summer Junior Golf Tournaments: When to Use Sports Drinks

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we are looking at when to use sports drinks in summer junior golf tournaments. As we near the end of this hydration series we can narrow the choices for the best liquids for our youngsters. (photo by jenlefforge.com)

Let’s look at what’s available at most golf courses:

1. tea and coffee. Depending on your junior golfer’s age, he may not be drinking any black tea, as compared to green tea, or coffee. Black tea and coffee, while they can be delicious, are not helpful when it comes to hydration. Both have caffeine which can overstimulate the kidneys to make urine and can end up actually speeding dehydration. So no black tea or coffee on game day. Green tea can be very healthy but since there are hundreds of varieties we will not discuss them here. If you must buy green tea we recommend avoiding brands with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, Splenda, etc.

2. sodas. Frankly there are times that an ice cold soda really tastes great! Tournament day on the golf course is not one of those times. Caffeine, phosphoric acid and high fructose corn syrup are not your child’s friends and for now, please, take our word that soda should be avoided during competition.

3. good clean water. This has been addressed in my immediate previous posts and water should be your #1 choice for hydration in most circumstances.

image4. sports drinks. These along with water are your 2 choices for hydration. While we wish more sports drinks would be made with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup, there are still times that commercially available sports drinks are an extremely good choice for hydration. The general rule is that for normal workouts, conditioning and range time, water is your “go to” hydrater because in these situations sports drinks give you unnecessary calories and carbs and there is really no additional benefit compared to water. In tournaments, however, your kiddo may drink several sports drinks during 18-holes because of the length and severity of the tournament and conditions. While you are reading this, I will be caddying for S3 in a U. S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier, 36-holes walking in really pretty decent weather for this time of year in South Texas. I assure you we will be constantly sipping water and sports drinks and taking in proper  calories. (photo from itsourice.com)

So the bottom line on sports drinks is use them during competition, particularly in warm/hot weather when your kiddo’s body is losing fluids like crazy. Use water for normal workouts to avoid extra and unhelpful calories, carbs and high fructose corn syrup.

That’s is for now… See you on #1 tee… Sam

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