Golf

Golf is a sport you can play at your own pace
Golf is a sport you can play at your own pace

Golf is not a hugely demanding sport and requires minimal intensity, which makes it a very manageable sport for people with diabetes.

Food be can carried on your person and blood glucose testing can be done at any time, although certain variables will still influence the way you control your diabetes.

Courses with greater hills and longer holes will require greater energy. It is wise to study the course you are playing on, be it nine holes or 18 holes, in advance to prepare for how your blood glucose could be affected.

Celebrity golfers

Scott Verplank was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at nine years of age, and has since gone on to become a five-time PGA Tour winner.  He uses a Medtronic MiniMed insulin pump to control his diabetes.

Playing golf with type 1 diabetes

Playing nine holes of golf with type 1 diabetes will require less management than 18 holes, which demands twice as much time and energy to complete.

Managing your diabetes for 9 holes can be adapted to playing 18 holes - blood tests and snacks should be doubled in volume, while quick acting insulin can be further reduced with meals, or perhaps not given at all. [111]

Golfers playing in the morning will probably not need to alter their long lasting insulin dosages, but reducing your quick acting insulin by 25 per cent with breakfast will account for the walking you do. [111]

A healthy breakfast designed to keep you full and your blood sugars low may not even necessitate an injection of quick acting insulin. If you are to start playing in the afternoon, you can reduce your quick acting insulin by around 25 per cent with your lunchtime meal, which again should provide energy but not risk high blood sugars. [111]

Carrying glucose and snacks with you on the golf course, as well as regularly checking your blood sugars will be important to managing your blood glucose levels throughout.

If you find, when playing regularly, that you are continually having low blood sugars, you could reduce either your morning long lasting insulin or your evening dose from the night before.

Type 2 diabetes

Your normal dose of metformin, or other hypoglycemic agent, will be fine before a game at any time of the day, but extra snacks should be taken if you notice your blood sugar is falling.

If you are on hypo causing medication such as sulphonylureas or glinides, be mindful of hypoglycemia and test your blood glucose levels if there are any signs your blood sugar levels could be low.

Tips for golfers

Playing golf on your own can be dangerous if you were to suffer a hypoglycemic attack. You should always alert someone close to you what time you are playing and carry medical identification on you at all times.

You should also remember to take special care of your feet when playing golf, which will require a substantial amount of walking. Your choice of golf shoes should be comfortable throughout your game. Playing regular golf will also require consistent foot care.

Playing golf with an insulin pump

Wearing your insulin pump when playing golf should not cause you any problems, and will allow for flexibility wherever your pump is positioned as it should not face any interference.

What does the Diabetes Forum say?

Members of the Diabetes Forum have previously discussed issues with diabetes when playing golf. daveosman, wrote: “Hi everyone. I’m newly diagnosed type 2 and I have found that since going on a low carb diet I have lost weight but when I go and have a round of golf, which I do every weekend, I now feel really tired half way round. Is there any food I can eat the day before that will give me more energy?”.