Everyone has heard it at some point in their golfing lives, “The more you play, the better you will get.” While this is true to an extent, a vast majority of golfers overlook an important aspect of their weekly routine.
So how long should you rest between each round of golf? Is playing 72 holes in a weekend like the pros a good idea? Or, would you benefit more from 36 holes split up with some light short game work?
For the average amateur golfer, it’s a good idea to take one day of rest after every fourth round of golf played on consecutive days. This will help make sure you stay fresh and are able to perform at the highest level.
That said, there are a few factors that might influence how many rounds in a row you will be able to play before performance begins to suffer.
For example, do you walk the course or ride in a cart? Are you in peak physical shape or could you use a little time in the gym? What do you do to prepare for each round? (Strech, warmup, etc.)
Below we’ll look into solid guidelines and things to look for in your own body when you’re booking tee times for the week.
Table of Contents
- The Effects of Playing Too Much Golf (and How to Prevent Them)
- The Take Away – How many days off should you take between rounds?
The Effects of Playing Too Much Golf (and How to Prevent Them)
Let’s dive into the reasons why it’s essential for you to get the proper rest and implement sufficient methods of recovery in between golf rounds.
Negative Effects of Playing Too Much Golf
- Physical Fatigue
- Mental Fatigue
How to Properly Recover In Between Golf Rounds
Negative Effects of Too Many Rounds of Golf in a Row
While every golfer dreams of getting out of the office and playing 18 holes every day, it probably isn’t a good idea. Amateur golfers frequently experience a dip in form towards the end of rounds, or during rounds later in the week.
A dip in form can look different depending on your game. Losing accuracy with the driver, chunking long irons, poor decision making, and three-putting can all be proof that you’re playing too much.
These mistakes can be caused by either physical or mental fatigue, both of which are lessened by effective rest periods.
Physical Fatigue is often the most noticeable cause of the decline in your game. It can be caused by your frequency of play, extreme temperatures, or dehydration.
As your muscles start to get tired, it’s extremely easy to get out of sync. The first signs of physical fatigue almost always show up with the big stick.
At first, your nice draw may look more like a hook but stay on the fairway. Fast forward three holes and now you’re finding the rough and starting to doubt yourself. From there your long irons will become less predictable and you will go from making pars to making bogeys or worse.
Mental Fatigue is often harder to identify than physical fatigue but it can have a march larger negative influence on your score.
It can show its ugly face in the form of poor decision making around the green, an inability to control your emotions, or taking aggressive lines out of the rough that result in you having to play from tricky lies for your next shot.
But don’t stress! Proper preparation between rounds will help both your mental and physical fatigue while on the course.
Using your muscles past the point of fatigue and not starting a round with ample flexibility can both result in injuries on the course.
Everything from your core muscles to your finger and wrist ligaments can easily be damaged while golfing if you go into a round unprepared.
How to Properly Recover In Between Golf Rounds
If you’re diligent about your recovery between rounds, you will give yourself the best possible chance of playing good golf. Doing specific things to get your body and mind right will help you head to the first tee feeling prepared and confident.
Everyone’s recovery period is going to vary, but the following guidelines are a great way to start actively helping your body and mind recover and repair.
The single most important aspect of recovery, both mentally and physically, is hydration.
Dehydration is proven to increase muscle glycogen use, leading to muscle fatigue. It can also lead to enhanced soreness, headaches, and other health issues.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine active men in temperate climates should consume 124fl oz (3.7L) of water a day, while similarly active women should consume 92fl oz or (2.7L) a day.
While these are just average guidelines, they are a good number to shoot for on a typical day. However, after a long and hot round in August, you should probably add a few extra fluid ounces to combat the water you lost through sweat.
To ensure you get properly rehydrated after a round, you should start weighing yourself before and after golfing. For every 2.2lbs (1 kg) you lose in body weight you should drink 34oz (1L) of extra water.
A quick and easy way to check on your hydration levels is by looking at the color of your urine. You want something that resembles lemonade or light beer, anything darker and you should make sure to get some more water in your system.
Along with all that water, your body needs a few more things to make sure your muscles recover, your mind fires on all cylinders, and everything gets back to normal. The food you eat directly after a round can either increase or decrease the time off you need before your next round.
I’ll admit, hot dogs and beers after a round with your playing partners is a great time, but shockingly it may not be the best thing you can do for your body. Opt instead for a high protein and carb meal to replenish your body and help your muscles recover.
Eating protein provides your body with amino acids that enable it to repair muscles, getting them back to their peak efficiency. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, give your body glycogen, the same thing you just burned away to use as energy over the last four hours.
Additionally, you should make sure to include a little extra sodium and drink something with electrolytes to replace everything that escaped in your sweat.
Whether you prefer doing toe touches and lunges or down dog and child’s pose, you need to make sure you stay limber after a round. This will help you limit injuries and maintain a repeatable and powerful golf swing.
According to Harvard Medical School, stretching is proven to make muscles more powerful, healthy, and flexible. Focusing stretches on your core, hamstrings, back, and shoulder muscles will help you keep a full range of motion in your swing.
This flexibility will also help you hit the ball more cleanly when you have a weird stance or a tree partially in your backswing.
Also, a proper golf strength training program can be very beneficial for increasing flexibility and building strength for those looking to hit bombs off the tee.
Now that the emotions of the round have worn off it’s a great time to look back through your round and evaluate your decision making and execution. Think about that driver out-of-bounds that could have been a 3-wood down the fairway, or that 9-iron into a tucked pin location that would have been easy to land in the middle of the green.
Where can you shave strokes?
This not only allows you to think about flaws to fix but lets you think about all the good shots you hit, something that is often overlooked when your score is higher than desired.
Picturing yourself hitting successful shots both past and future is a technique that benefits many golfers. Seeing yourself hit good shots inspires you to hit those shots in real life.
Finally, relax and take the negative thoughts out of your mind. It doesn’t matter how you relax, just take the game out of your mind and stop stressing over missed shots. Some people find meditation can help with this, others might simply watch their favorite TV show for a couple of hours.
Regardless of what your relaxation activity is, be sure to follow it up with a good night’s sleep.
The Take Away – How many days off should you take between rounds?
Most amateur golfers will benefit from taking at least one day off after every fourth round of golf played on consecutive days. There’s a reason even pro tournaments only last for four days!
However, individual factors can also come into play here. For example, if you’re in peak physical shape, you might be able to get away with golfing five or even six days in a row before fatigue will begin to set in.
The best things to do on your rest days are:
- Hydrate with plenty of water
- Refuel with healthy foods
- Stretch to maintain flexibility
- Reflect on how you can progress
- Relax to clear your mind and start fresh
These are the keys to getting yourself ready for a round.
Hopefully, the above information will help you prepare for your next round so you can play to the best of your ability and go low!