Golfing with Diabetes

Diabetes and Golf Checklist:

The best way to prepare for low scores and lots of birdies,

And avoid low (or high) blood sugar!

Safety first!                                                         

  • Test Blood sugar 30 minutes before tee off, as well as at beginning of round. Test after 4th,9th,13th
  • Golfer should have all diabetes equipment (insulin, glucose meter, etc.) at ALL TIMES on golf course. Make sure to have plenty of test strips.
  • Golfer should have SNACKS in bag AT ALL TIMES on golf course. Both fast acting carbs (fruit juice, fruit snacks, etc.) as well as longer acting carbs (granola bars, protein bars, etc.) should be in ample reserve.
  • If a person is taking Insulin therapy, there is always the risk of the side effect of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) no matter how experienced or well prepared.
  • Always inform playing partner of diabetes condition. Trusted friends can notice signs of hypoglycemia (missed putts, errant tee shots) and offer support and encouragement.

Getting Started:  Safe Blood Glucose Levels!

  • Below 100 mg/dl : Caution! It may be unsafe to Tee off, consume a healthy, fast acting carb
  • 100 – 250 mg/dl: Green Light! For most Diabetics, this is a safe range for starting Golf
  • Above 250 mg/dl : Caution! It may be unsafe to Tee Off, consider making an adjustment and talk with your Doctor
  • Above 300 mg/dl: Red Light! Your number may be too high to Tee Off!  Consider making an adjustment and talk with your doctor if this is a consistent problem
  • #glucosezone: 100-140 mg/dl

Time of Day: 

The time of day can have a big impact on glucose management on the golf course.  Here are some general guidelines:

  • Early Morning: Golfer may experience the Morning Dawn Effect (high blood sugar)
  • Mid/Late Morning: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur if Insulin is peaking and metabolism is not producing glucose or food has not been eaten.
  • Afternoon: Personal experience dictates strategy. If experiences high blood sugar, make sure to account for breakfast (oatmeal)
  • Evening: Avoid night time post golf hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) by understanding the relationship between glycogen depletion and increased Insulin Sensitivity.

Insulin and Energy Metabolism: Golf is a low intensity, long duration exercise requiring a high ratio of fat burning and a low ratio of glucose burning.  The presence of Insulin must be low in order for fat burning to occur. Many diabetics experience crashing glucose levels on the golf course because they have too much Insulin present and cannot metabolize the source of energy their body is naturally designed to use.  Too often, diabetics make the mistake of eating more carbs before golf, which causes a spike in glucose levels, requiring more insulin, instead of reducing the presence of insulin by eating food that requires less insulin.

Prior to Teeing Off, consume foods that are high in vitamins minerals, nutrients and /or protein, and low in carbs, so that you can reduce the presence of Insulin, reducing your risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) on the course.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]