Drinking alcohol is a part of playing golf.

Don’t let drinking alcohol ruin your round.

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Golf is a social sport, best enjoyed in good company with a cool glass (or flask or can) in your hand

However, drinking alcohol the night before a tee time can have serious consequences, not least of which is a nagging headache that makes it hard to focus let alone swing a club. Worst case, you feel so awful you swear off alcohol for good — a familiar experience for a lot of us. 

This doesn’t mean a sip of alcohol should never pass your lips. It just means that you should be smarter about the type of alcohol you consume and how you consume it. 

Last month, WHOOP encouraged users to participate in its Sober October to see how their performance improved when they stopped drinking. From this event, WHOOP examined users’ data and spoke to professional athletes and data analysis experts to help you be smarter about how you consume your alcohol. 

Here’s what they learned and how you can apply it to your life. 

1. Stick to pure, clear alcohols

As Scott Stallings put it, “The purer the tequila, the better your body metabolizes it.” This is because hard alcohols like tequila are distilled numerous times which eliminates the sugars from the fermentation process. Sugar is what really contributes to a bad hangover, so sticking with clear alcohols is a no-brainer if you have an early tee time. 

2. A little bit of red wine goes a long way

If you like red wine, WHOOP’s VP of Data Science Research Emily Capodilupo recommends decreasing your intake. A normal glass of wine is 3 ounces, but Capodilupo suggests having a sip to a half a glass with your dinner. “It can help you relax,” but you need to drink a lot more wine than you think to get the health benefits from those antioxidants. All that alcohol adds up and results in poor rest and performance later on. 

3. Be prepared

Drinking is part of the fabric of our social interactions on and off the golf course. So if you know you’re going to have a big night out, WHOOP’s VP of Performance Kristen Holmes suggests you “front load and back load your sleep by 30 minutes on either end” leading up to it. Alcohol messes with your sleep patterns, so you want to make sure you are well rested before your night out to compensate for the lost sleep a late night with poor rest will result in.

Being prepared also applies to staying hydrated. If you know you’re going to have a few drinks, make sure you’re well fed and hydrated before you go out. This will help you avoid that pounding headache as you stand over your tee shot the next day, 

You don’t have to stop drinking to avoid the negative effects a night out can have on your golf game. With a few simple changes, you can drink smarter and play harder on the course. 

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