Can you still play well hungover?

In our biggest questions answered series, we decided to find out whether you can still play well after drinking the night before!

We’ve all been there. The banging headache; the bleary eyes; and the unmistakable nausea that only comes from ordering that greasy kebab in the early hours. It always seems like a cocktail for disaster when you’ve got to negotiate that tight opening tee shot just a few hours later.

And now, there’s evidence from Keele University to prove it. Research looking into the effects of alcohol on cognitive functioning shows that a hangover reduces information-processing ef ciency and increases response caution.

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And that’s not all. Roseanna Leaton, golf mind coach, says that as well as feeling tired and below par, too much alcohol can “impair coordination, increase your heart rate and trigger hormones which induce tension, jerky movements and rushed tempo”. Hardly a recipe for good golf.

“Essentially, being hungover exaggerates your emotional state and means you cannot think clearly,” adds Leaton. “And everything in life starts with a thought, including your golf game.”

Nevertheless, we all know someone who swears by having a tipple before or during a round. So can alcohol ever help you to play a more relaxed game of golf?

“If you are the sort of person who worries too much about your golf, having one or two pints before a late tee time may allow you to swing freely without overthinking things,” says Leaton.

“If, on the other hand, you are a calm and focused golfer, alcohol can hijack your logical thought process and obstruct your ability to make sensible shot choices.”

In other words, everyone reacts differently. But if you are nursing a hangover, don’t expect to play anywhere near your best golf. “The symptoms simply do not allow you to do so,” warns Leaton.

Better get the beers in after your round has finished, we say!


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