Best Supplements for Golfers: Insight from a Physical Therapist


As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I understand the importance of maintaining optimal physical health on and off the golf course. In this post, I’m excited to share my expertise on the best supplements that can help boost energy, enhance performance, and improve recovery on the course. Drawing from my experience and valuable client feedback, I’ve handpicked the top supplements that will elevate your golf game to the next level.

The best supplements for golfers are creatine, protein, caffeine, BCAAs, fish oil, vitamin D, and a good multivitamin/mineral. These supplements have research and real-world results proving their effectiveness.

Read on to discover how each supplement can benefit your golf game, as well as how to incorporate them into your daily routine.

1. Creatine

Creatine is one of the most popular and well-researched supplements in the world of sports and fitness. It is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body and is used to produce energy in muscle cells. Here are the key benefits of creatine for golfers:

  1. Increases Energy: Creatine helps to increase the body’s energy stores, allowing for more power and endurance during golf swings.
  2. Enhances Performance: Studies have shown that creatine supplementation can improve strength, power, and speed, all of which are critical elements in golf performance.
  3. Improves Recovery: Creatine can help reduce muscle damage and soreness, leading to faster recovery times and improved overall performance on the course.
  4. Effective for high-intensity activity: Although you might think of golf as a leisurely sport, the golf swing is as high-intensity a movement as there is in sports. It is an almost purely anaerobic fast twitch muscle fiber movement which creatine has been demonstrated to improve performance for.

Incorporating creatine into your daily routine is easy to do. 5 grams per day is a safe and effective dosage. It is important to note that while creatine is generally considered safe, it is always best to consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.

In a study titled: Effects of a dietary supplement on golf drive distance and functional indices of golf performance by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 1, the researchers found that golfers who took creatine monohydrate for 30 days had an average driver distance 19.6 yards further than the placebo/control group.

If you would like more detailed information on the importance of creatine for golfers read this article: Should you take Creatine for Golf?

My Recommendations

1. BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate micronized creatine powder-unflavored

This is a no-frills creatine monohydrate powder from one of the most reputable brands on the market. There is nothing fancy here, just good old creatine monohydrate at a great price. 5 g per serving with 100 servings for the 1.1-pound option. At 5 grams per day that will last you over 3 months

2. Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder- Unflavored

Optimum Nutrition is one of if not the biggest sports and fitness companies in the world. This creatine powder is very similar to what you get from Bulk supplements above however, the cost is quite a bit higher. The reason for this is the quality control standards by Optimum Nutrition in addition to ON being the leader in the market and can set their own prices. They also offer a pill form for those who do not like the graininess of creatine powder.

3. BSN CellMass 2.0 Post Workout Recovery with BCAA, creatine, and glutamine

This is a total recovery post-workout drink which includes not just creatine, but also branched-chain amino acids, glutamine, and fast-digesting carbs which aid in recovery post-workout. This is for more advanced lifters and athletes who should have at least several months and preferably over a year of hard training under their belt. I say this not because this could be potentially more dangerous than the above options- just because you will be wasting your money on a more advanced recovery option if you aren’t actually putting in the work.

2: Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most widely used stimulants in the world, and it is also one of the most effective when it comes to boosting energy levels and improving physical performance. While you might think caffeine could make a golfer too jittery and play poorly there are several research studies that prove its efficacy.

In a study titled: Effect of Caffeine on Golf Performance and Fatigue during a Competitive Tournament2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26285020/, the golfers who took caffeine had lower total score: (76.9 ± 8.1 vs 79.4 ± 9.1, P = 0.039), hit more greens in regulation: (8.6 ± 3.3 vs 6.9 ± 4.6, P = 0.035), and had a greater driver distance: (239.9 ± 33.8 vs 233.2 ± 32.4, P = 0.047). For reference, the P is termed the P value. Anything less than 0.05 is considered statistically relevant. This means there is a strong likelihood that caffeine did in fact have a positive impact on these golfer’s performance.

Total ScoreGreens in RegulationDriver Distance
Golfers who took caffeine76.98.6239.9
Placebo group79.46.9233.2

When it comes to incorporating caffeine into your daily routine, there are several options available. The most common form of caffeine is coffee, but there are also caffeine supplements, energy drinks, and teas that contain caffeine. When selecting a caffeine supplement, it is important to choose a high-quality product that is free of added sugars, preservatives, and artificial colors. Additionally, you should always be mindful of your caffeine intake and not exceed the recommended daily amount of 400 mg per day.

Caffeine has been shown to improve physical performance in several ways, including increasing alertness and reducing fatigue, improving mental focus and concentration, and reducing muscle soreness after exercise. In a golf game, these benefits can help golfers perform better, stay focused, and recover faster.

It is also worth noting that caffeine can have some negative effects when consumed in excess, such as nervousness, anxiety, and jitters. Therefore, it is important to consume caffeine in moderation and to monitor your individual tolerance levels. Additionally, it is recommended that you avoid consuming caffeine in the evening to prevent interruptions in your sleep.

Recommendations

1. Genius Caffeine Pills 100mg, Extended-Release Microencapsulated Caffeine Pills

These aren’t just any caffeine pills. These are extended-release caffeine pills that provide a steady release of up to 6 hours of energy. The reason this is so advantageous for golfers is that the caffeine is released more slowly and at a controlled pace. This will help to avoid the typical jitters or nervousness that the typical caffeine may cause.

2. Prolab caffeine tablets

Cheap and effective. More useful for training and workouts than it would be for a round of golf. Extended-release caffeine such as the above will be more effective for golfers in a tournament/round.

3. CLIF BLOKS Energy Chews

These are energy chews that have 50 mg of caffeine in addition to some carbohydrates/sugar. These will be most useful for competitive/professional golfers who are in a multi-day tournament. On the third or fourth day into the tournament when energy is waning and the mind is no longer as sharp these could be the difference between winning and going home empty-handed. The carbohydrates are an added benefit in that they will provide a form of fast-acting energy which is much needed when at the tail end of a 4 to 5-hour golf round.

4. Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast Grounds

This is not your grandmother’s cup of coffee. This coffee has some serious kick to it and may be the perfect fit for those who love golf and coffee and want the performance benefits that caffeine provides. Be sure to increase tolerance slowly with this one however as it is quite potent.

3. Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient that is critical for building and repairing muscle tissue, and it also helps to support overall athletic performance. As a golfer, you need to have strong and healthy muscles in order to perform your best on the course. Here are some of the key benefits of incorporating protein into your daily routine as a golfer:

  1. Muscle Recovery and Repair: After a round of golf, your muscles may become fatigued, which can increase the risk of injury. By consuming adequate amounts of protein, you can help to speed up the recovery and repair process, allowing you to perform better the next time you hit the course
  2. Performance: Adequate protein intake can help to improve muscle strength, which is crucial for a strong golf swing. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that older golfers who increased their protein intake improved their club head speed, swing power, and overall driving distance.
  3. Satiety: Protein is known for its ability to keep you feeling full and satisfied, which can be helpful for golfers who need to focus and maintain energy levels throughout a long day on the course.

Incorporating protein into your daily routine is easy to do. The recommended daily intake for adult males and females is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. You may need higher amounts if you are also partaking in a strength and fitness routine with up to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight being potentially advantageous when looking to add muscle mass. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, beans, and legumes. Additionally, many golfers choose to supplement their protein intake with a protein powder, such as whey protein, which is a fast-digesting form of protein that can help to support muscle recovery and growth.

If you would like to read more about the importance of incorporating protein in your diet, read this article: Do you need Protein for Golf?

My Recommendations

1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder

Optimum Nutrition sets the benchmark for excellence in the protein powder industry. With a steadfast commitment to quality and a reputation for reliable results, it is no surprise that this brand is consistently considered the leading choice among fitness enthusiasts. With a straightforward approach to marketing, devoid of any flashy gimmicks, Optimum Nutrition confidently stands as the undisputed king of protein powders.

2. BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder

BSN Syntha-6 is a blend of different proteins that provides a slow and sustained release of amino acids, which can be beneficial for muscle recovery and repair. It is also a good option for golfers who are looking for a protein powder that is low in calories and easy to digest. This is in my opinion one of the best-tasting protein powders on the market with one of the widest ranges of flavors to choose from. I have used this powder many times in the past and still do.

3. Quest Nutrition Protein Powder

Quest Nutrition Protein Powder is a high-quality plant-based protein powder that is ideal for golfers who are looking for a vegan-friendly option. It is made with pea protein and is free from gluten, soy, and dairy, making it an excellent option for golfers with food sensitivities.

4. Ready to drink- Premier Protein and Fairlife Core Power

When you’re short on time or seeking convenience, reach for a ready-to-drink protein shake. Two of the top options are Premier Protein and Fairlife Core Power. While Premier Protein offers a more budget-friendly option, Fairlife Core Power packs a protein punch with 42 grams per serving. Although both options are exceptional, Fairlife Core Power is worth the splurge for its unbeatable taste. It’s not often you come across a protein drink that doesn’t taste like, well, a protein drink, but Fairlife Core Power defies the norm and truly delivers a delicious flavor.

5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein Protein

Casein protein is most optimally taken prior to going to bed. It is a slow-digesting protein that will continue fueling your muscles for the long period you are asleep. This is in contrast to the above proteins which utilize whey protein which is a fast-digesting protein powder and most useful after a workout or activity to quickly begin the muscle repair process. In short- use whey protein post-workout and casein prior to going to bed for optimal protein synthesis.

4. BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids)

BCAAs are the “building blocks of protein”

BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are a type of amino acid that are particularly important for athletes and active individuals. They are made up of three essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – which play a critical role in muscle growth and repair. For golfers, taking BCAAs can help enhance performance and improve recovery on the course.

BCAAs can help boost energy levels during a round of golf. These essential amino acids are metabolized directly in the muscle, which makes them a quick and efficient source of energy. As a result, they can help delay fatigue, allowing you to maintain focus longer. This is especially important for the back 9 and competitive golfers playing multi-day tournaments.

In addition, BCAAs can help improve recovery following a round of golf or a workout. Leucine, in particular, has been shown to play a crucial role in triggering muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which your body repairs and rebuilds muscle tissue. This can help speed up recovery after a workout or round of golf, reducing the risk of injury and allowing you to get back on the course more quickly.

Finally, BCAAs can help preserve muscle mass during intense physical activity. When you engage in high-intensity activities such as golf, your body can break down muscle tissue for energy. By supplementing with BCAAs, you can help preserve your muscle mass, making it easier to maintain your strength and power on the course.

In conclusion, BCAAs are a valuable supplement for golfers looking to boost energy, enhance performance, and improve recovery on the course. If you’re looking to take your game to the next level, consider incorporating BCAAs into your supplement regimen.

Recommendations

1. XTEND Original BCAA Powder

Xtend has always been the leader when it comes to BCAA supplementation. They have had increased competition in the past few years however they remain the top BCAA powder on the market.

2. Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAA Capsules

Did you think a list would be complete without Optimum Nutrition on there? Once again Optimum Nutrition brings to the table a fantastic no-frills supplement without fancy packaging or marketing. It is simply a great supplement. This is BCAA in pill form and is a much more budge friendly option compared to the XTEND above. It is also very easy to pop a pill or two during a round of golf.

3. BULKSUPPLEMENTS.COM BCAA 2:1:1 Powder

This is the most budget-friendly option and is in powder form. While this can be used during a round of golf, it will be best used as an intra-workout supplement. It may not mix as well as the XTEND and is flavorless however you can still “taste” the graininess of the powder. This might be something you would like to avoid on the course. Still, it is a fantastic option to have for those who are serious about their off-the-golf-course training.

5. Multi-Vitamin/Mineral

This is the part of the blog where we get to the not-so-sexy supplements. Does a multivitamin have the ability to boost your golf drives by almost 20 yards like that of creatine? No. Can it shave strokes off your score and improve your focus during the end of a 4-day tournament like caffeine can? No. Can it add slabs of muscle to your physique as it did for Bryson Dechambeau when he was pounding protein shakes left and right? No, it can not. That being said this may be one of if not the most important supplement on the whole list.

You see, the typical diet for golfers, and the general public for that matter is not very good. Combine this with our foods becoming less nutrient-rich and many people are deficient in vitamins and minerals. Being deficient in a particular vitamin or mineral or most commonly being deficient in many can leave your immune system weakened and more prone to getting sick. A solid multivitamin/mineral helps to fill in the gaps left by the modern diet to prevent you from getting sick. While getting sick for the general public might not be a big deal- you take a day off or two from work and all is well. The same can not be said for a PGA golfer who gets sick while they are playing a tournament with a $15,000,000 purse. Or perhaps a Korn Ferry player who has one last tournament to propel them to the PGA- the last thing any of these players need is to get sick. A solid multivitamin/mineral can prevent that.

Some of the key vitamins and minerals that are important for golfers include Vitamin B12, Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Zinc. Vitamin B12, for example, is essential for energy metabolism and can help improve focus and mental clarity on the course. Iron is important for oxygen transport, while Magnesium helps to regulate muscle function and can aid in recovery after a long day on the course. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, while Zinc is important for immunity and helps to reduce inflammation in the body.

Overall, a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement can help ensure that you’re getting all the essential nutrients that your body needs to perform at its best on the golf course. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to improve your game, consider adding a multivitamin and mineral supplement to your supplement regimen.

Recommendations

1. Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men and Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women

You can pick your jaw up off the floor after seeing how expensive these are. Yes, a quality multivitamin is expensive. We have been so conditioned by the likes of Centrum and other brands you can find at Walmart or other stores that most people don’t know what a good multivitamin is.

I like to think of a quality multivitamin as the equivalent of real food and a crappy multivitamin as being similar to ultra-processed fast food such as Mcdonald’s. If you leave out a McDonald’s hamburger it will take much longer than you think to decay. Heck, that baby might be good to eat after a week. The same can be said for crappy multivitamins. You could drop one out of the bottle and find it months later and it will be almost exactly the same. A good multivitamin will start to decay within a week or so just as a real burger with handmade ingredients and a fresh bun will go bad much more quickly than ultra-processed food.

These supplements are certainly going to be more geared toward the competitive golfer/athlete who is not only golfing but is also strength training, performing plyometrics, and aerobic exercise. If you are mostly sedentary and golf every now and then, this won’t benefit you enough to warrant it over your standard Centrum multivitamin. If you are serious about your health however and ready to get on a diet/fitness routine. This can be of great benefit.

2. Animal Pak

This is what many consider the ultimate multivitamin. A warning- each pack contains 11 pills of differing sizes. This is for the SERIOUS competitor/golfer who is also working out strenuously to improve his/her strength and power. This multivitamin is very popular amongst competitive bodybuilders and lifters. Someone who this could be potentially useful for would be a collegiate athlete who is looking to make a run at the PGA Tour or Korn Ferry Tour. This individual is an excellent short-game player with a great putting game but lacks driver distance.

These are the 11 pills in an Animal Pak

During the offseason, this golfer has a goal of packing on quality muscle and improving his/her power. To do this effectively this individual will utilize a workout program that will greatly tax the body. Think: Power cleans, deadlifts, squats, bench presses against band resistance, plyometric exercises including depth jumps, sprinting, and tire flips for general conditioning. If that doesn’t sound like you (although it should!), then this product isn’t for you.

6. Vitamin D

As a Physical Therapist, I highly recommend including Vitamin D in your supplement regimen. This important nutrient plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones and overall health, which is essential for golfers. In addition to its physical benefits, research shows that Vitamin D can also boost energy levels and improve mood, making it a valuable addition to any golfer’s supplement routine.

Here’s why Vitamin D is so important for golfers:

  1. Supports Bone Health: Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium, which is crucial for maintaining strong bones. With the repetitive motions involved in golfing, it’s important to keep your bones healthy to avoid injury.
  2. Boosts Energy Levels: A lack of Vitamin D can lead to feelings of fatigue and low energy. Supplementing with Vitamin D can help increase energy levels, allowing you to perform at your best on the golf course.
  3. Improves Mood: Vitamin D is also known to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. A positive mindset is essential for success in any sport, and Vitamin D can help keep you feeling confident and focused on the course.
  4. Decreases risk of sickness: Vitamin D has been shown to decrease chances of infection/sickness. This is vitally important for competitive golfers all the way from juniors up to PGA Tour players. As golfers travel to different locations even if it is local- they will be sleeping in a different environment, maybe drinking different water than they are used to, air quality will be different, etc… This all leads to an increased chance of getting sick which is the last thing you want when you are trying to win a tournament. Something as simple as a tiny vitamin D pill can go a long way in preventing that.
  5. Sunscreen blocks vitamin D from the sun: Golfers are exposed to a lot of harmful UV rays and should be using sunscreen/block to prevent the damaging aspects of the sun. That said, sunscreen not only blocks the bad but also blocks some of the excellent Vitamin D provided by the sun. This is why even if you are playing a lot of golf and exposed to the sun if you are wearing sunscreen as you should you won’t be getting as much vitamin D as you think.

When it comes to choosing a Vitamin D supplement, look for a formula that contains at least 1000-2000 IU of Vitamin D3, the most effective form of this nutrient.

Recommendations

1. Vitamin D3 5000iu (125mcg) with Coconut Oil ~

This is a high dose of vitamin D3 at 5000iu. 1 softgel is good for the whole day. Nothing fancy here. This is a solid brand with good quality control with an affordable form of vitamin D.

7. Fish Oil

Fish oil is a well-known supplement for promoting overall health and wellness, but it also has specific benefits for golfers. Here are a few key reasons why golfers should consider adding fish oil to their supplement regimen:

  • Supports Joint Health: The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help reduce inflammation and support joint health, which is important for golfers who put a lot of strain on their joints while swinging and walking the course. This is also vitally important for golfers over 50 as joint health begins to suffer. This also applies to younger individuals who have joint pain due to their occupation or other potential factors.
  • Improves Endurance: Fish oil can help improve endurance and reduce fatigue, allowing golfers to perform at their best for an extended period of time on the course.
  • Enhances Focus: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve cognitive function, including focus and concentration, which can be especially beneficial for golfers during intense rounds.
  • Supports Heart Health: In addition to the physical demands of golf, the sport can also be mentally demanding, and fish oil has been shown to support heart health and promote overall cardiovascular wellness.

In conclusion, adding fish oil to your supplement regimen as a golfer can have a significant impact on your performance and overall well-being. By promoting joint health, improving endurance, enhancing focus, and supporting heart health, fish oil can help you take your game to the next level.

Recommendations

1. Sports Research Triple Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil

This is a great Omega supplement made by SR: Sports Research. Each softgel provides 1250 mg of quality omega 3. This is also a once-a-day supplement which makes it manageable to only take once per day instead of needing to take it 3 times per day as is common with some omega-3 supplements.

2. Carlson – Cod Liver Oil

This is a liquid form of cod liver oil. Be warned that there is a fish taste here, having used this many times- the taste is not bad. This is a more expensive way to get fish oil but will likely yield better results. This is one of those supplements where it will take time to feel the benefits. There are also some people who will have significant benefits and others who will not notice as much. That being said the benefits of this supplement to overall health and well-being are too numerous to pass on this one.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as a Physical Therapist and golf enthusiast, I have seen the impact that supplements can have on performance, energy, and recovery on the golf course. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, incorporating the right supplements into your routine can help you take your game to the next level. From BCAAs to multivitamins, fish oil, and vitamin D, each of these supplements offers unique benefits that can support your overall health and golf performance. Of course, as with all supplements, it is important to consult with a doctor or healthcare professional before starting any new regimen. With the right combination of proper nutrition, exercise, and supplements, there’s no limit to what you can achieve on the golf course!

Table of Supplements

SupplementPurposeBenefits for Golfers
CreatineSupports muscle power and strengthHelps golfers increase their driving distance and shot accuracy by improving muscle power and endurance.
ProteinSupports muscle repair and growthImproves recovery time after a round of golf or workout by helping to rebuild and repair muscle tissue.
CaffeineEnhances mental focus and alertnessHelps golfers stay focused and alert on the course, leading to better concentration and improved performance.
BCAAsSupports muscle recovery and growthHelps golfers recover faster after a round of golf and reduces muscle fatigue, leading to improved performance on the course.
Fish OilSupports heart and brain healthImproves cardiovascular and brain health, which are both important factors in golf performance.
Vitamin DSupports bone and immune healthHelps golfers maintain strong bones and a healthy immune system, reducing the risk of injury and illness.
Multivitamin/MineralSupports overall health and wellnessProvides golfers with essential nutrients and minerals needed for optimal health and performance.

Citations

  1. Ziegenfuss, T. N., Habowski, S. M., Lemieux, R., Sandrock, J. E., Kedia, A. W., Kerksick, C. M., & Lopez, H. L. (2015). Effects of a dietary supplement on golf drive distance and functional indices of golf performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition12(1), 4. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-014-0065-4
  2. Mumford PW, Tribby AC, Poole CN, et al. Effect of Caffeine on Golf Performance and Fatigue during a Competitive Tournament. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016;48(1):132-138. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000753

Disclaimer

Although I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy by profession, I am not your Physical Therapist nor am I a Medical Doctor. All content and information on this website are for informational purposes only, do not constitute medical advice, and do not establish any kind of patient-client relationship by your use of this website. A patient-client relationship with you is only formed after we have expressly entered into a written agreement with you that you have signed including our terms to represent you in a specific manner. Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, legal, medical and financial, or tax-related decisions.

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