Golf Tip – Caffeine Free Wednesdays

Some of you may know that one of my favorite things to do is golf. I am participating in a company golf league and have done so for many years. Golf is a game which requires an interesting combination of concentration and relaxation, as you attempt to execute a challenging technique with power and precision.

The ability to have high levels of concentration, yet being relaxed as you hover over that stupid little ball, is something that I have pursued for a long time. Often in vain. I noticed a few weeks ago how much my mind was racing, and how tense my body was. Why was this going on so badly? Why couldn’t I control it as well as I thought I should. A possible answer came into my mind. I had drunk a Mountain Dew about an hour and a half prior to going to the course. Could that be it?

I decided to try a little experiment. The next Wednesday, I would not drink any soda with caffeine in it, and see how things would go. I didn’t drink any pop at all that day. I went out on the course and got a nine over 45 on the difficult back nine. My best score ever there. The next week I did the same thing, and got a seven over 42 on the front nine. Again a personal best. I have golfed this course many times – I would guess about 100 times in the last eight years or so. Is it just coincidence that I happened to get two personal bests during this two week experiment?

Was this a fluke, or is there something to this? Could the small amount of caffeine (along with the sugar) in a soda cause this much of a difference in the ability to concentrate and relax at the same time?

I think I will try the experiment a little longer. In fact, I vow that I will not drink any more Mountain Dew (or similar beverage) as long as my golf scores continue to improve. If you see me in next year’s US Open, you will know part of the reason why.

11 Responses to “Golf Tip – Caffeine Free Wednesdays”

  1. 1 Polly June 20, 2006 at 8:21 am

    What a fun way to test your hypothesis. “But honey, I have to play a full 18 today. It’s for science!”

    My game hasn’t improved since giving up caffeine 2 months ago, but I haven’t been playing as long as you.

    I’m curious that you refer to the beverage as both “soda” and “pop.” Usually people use one or t’other, with midwesterners typically drinking “pop.”

  2. 2 Eric Nielson June 20, 2006 at 8:35 am

    I live in the midwest, but was raised in the mountain west. I am trying to be all-inclusive.

    Thank you for visiting BofJ. I hope your golf game improves. Proper technique is more important than anything else.

  3. 3 Pris June 20, 2006 at 10:43 am

    My golfing buddy–and keep in mind that we’ve only been golfing for two months and play a real cheap par-3 course–often shows up after drinking about a pot of coffee. He says that it messes his game up (but that he keeps forgetting)–it could be the jittery-ness, or it could be the hightened probability of dehydration. It could also be that he doesn’t eat anything before the coffee.

  4. 4 Eric Nielson June 20, 2006 at 11:40 am

    I frequently golf a cheep par three course as well. I need the reps but don’t have much money.

  5. 5 Wade June 20, 2006 at 8:45 pm

    Tiger Woods has written a book about how to be a successful golfer. Part of the book discusses diet — Soda/Pop is a huge no-no! Tiger doesn’t dring soda; I’m thinking the sugar and caffine are terrible for being able to focus (even though most would argue they can’t fully concentrate without it in the morning).

  6. 6 Eric Nielson June 21, 2006 at 5:32 am


    Nice to hear from you again. I hope all is well.

    So, maybe I am on to something here. Tiger Woods and I have a lot in common you know?

  7. 7 Pris June 21, 2006 at 8:21 am

    Yeah, we do the par-3 because we suck. Our goal is to be good enough to play an actual course at the end of the summer without embarassing ourselves. My best 18-hole score: +41.

    Golf is truly a ridiculous game. But a lot of fun.

  8. 8 Bradley June 21, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    So… when you’re a rich and famous pro golfer, will you give all of us little people free autographs and photographs that we can sell on eBay?

  9. 9 Eric Nielson June 21, 2006 at 6:35 pm


    Yeah right!

    Lest any of you get the impression that I am some awsome golfer, keep in mind that my personal bests are only slightly better than bogey golf. Not exactly something to crow about.

    But an update. This evening was week three of the experiement. I had a below average round. A 16 over 52. My round went:

    double bogey
    double bogey
    quadruple bogey
    quadruple bogey
    double bogey

    So much for having it all figured out. The two holes with the quad bogeys are danger holes with hazard to the right and ob to the right. I tried both sides on both holes. The results were less than ideal.

    Most of the men in this league have a different beverage stratagy. It is something like – drink as much beer as you can in nine holes. Results are mixed. I can’t recommend this approach.

  10. 10 Eric Nielson June 21, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    That’s ob to the left.

  11. 11 Wade June 21, 2006 at 9:18 pm


    Sorry about my lack of appearance the last few weeks! Everything is going just fine. In fact, things are going so well, I have had absolutely zero time to blog. I managed to find a summer job at a nice law firm just 8 minutes away from my house; I’m swamped with Law Review work; and I’m moonlighting doing construction two evenings per week and on Saturdays.

    I’m going to at least try and post something once a week from here on out — We’ll see.

    As for the commonalities between you and Tiger: at this point I think I’d rather have something in common with Tiger than Phil Mickelson (even though Tiger missed the cut, I don’t think he would have choked as badly as Phil).

    Sounds like our golf scores would be pretty neck and neck 🙂

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