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Putting Fatigue - does such a condition exist?


Getting tired affects your concentration as well as leading to a fall-off in performance. Fatigue is not just physical, it is also mental.

Getting Tired

Fatigue itself is caused by physical and mental exertion without enough time to rest and recover.

It is cumulative in that it builds up leading to a progressive loss of alertness, poor judgment and a fall-off in performance. Can Fatigue really affect your putting?

It is not usual to associate fatigue with putting. After all it is not a strenuous endeavour requiring great physical effort.

Yet increasing fatigue is normal during a round of golf and this has a flow-on effect on your putting.

Putting Fatigue

It is a well-known fact that fatigue leads to a decrease in motor control performance - a major cost in industry. Any state of tiredness, whatever the cause, will therefore have an adverse affect on your ability to do well. This is because golf in all its facets of play is to a large part a motor skill.

To combat any putting fatigue you need to look carefully at how you manage your energy over the 18 holes.

The goal is to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Assuming normal fitness, you should be able to counter a major loss of energy and mental alertness by taking a few simple steps.

Water Bottle

Stay Hydrated

Your body runs on water to function effectively.

  • You need to be hydrated to perform optimally in sport. Unless you constantly replace your fluid loss while you play, you will become dehydrated.

  • It is a good idea to carry your own water to be on the safe side as on-course drink fountains and beverage carts may be few and far between.

  • Start drinking from the first hole since you can become dehydrated well before feelings of thirst set in.


Keep Snacking

Nestle Nutrition Booklet Fit for Golf makes the following suggestions:

  • Before the Round you should eat foods that are high in carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (GI) to give you the sustained energy you need – foods such as breakfast cereals, pasta, apples, green vegetables and nuts.

  • During and After the Round you should have foods with a high GI to give you a quick energy boost and enable recovery – foods such as bananas, dates, raisins, chocolate and energy bars.

  • Remember that, because you will have a limited digestive capacity during exercise, you should stick to those foods that are easily digestible.

Fuel Gauge

Conserve Energy

Exercise draws on your energy resources.

  • Your body only holds so much energy and once it is spent, it takes time to replenish. For example, don't waste your energy on unnecessary practice swings.

  • It also helps to switch off between shots and smell the roses. Avoid over-taxing yourself mentally.

  • Finally remember to pace yourself as best as you can to prevent an energy melt-down on the closing holes.

Be Prepared

Most literature on minimising the effect of fatigue covers endurance sports. Golf is not in this category, yet a round of golf can be both physically and mentally draining. Weather conditions too can place significant demands on your body.

The secret is to be pro-active and have a plan so that your energy levels remain consistent throughout your round. Should you need it, a sports nutritionalist or dietician can help you to build a proper plan.

Putting Fatigue is a by-product of general fatigue. To keep your putting game sharp you have to stave off tiredness. Once you start to lose focus, you run the risk that errors will creep in - errors that will show up in your score.

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Image Source
1 = Patrick Campbell - How to become a Scratch Golfer (1963)
2 = Image of Water Bottle www.newhopelasvegas.org
3 = Image of Banana www.allfreeclipart.com
4 = Image of Fuel Gauge www.golfdigest.com

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