Personally, I do not like drinking coffee right before playing golf. And I love coffee.
Every time that I have it on the way to the course, I do not like the way that it makes me swing.
I feel like I rush, swing too hard, and move too quickly with the club. The battle then becomes about slowing myself down.
I actually find it almost beneficial that I need to drive about 30 minutes to get to my course. This gives me a good amount of time to relax a little bit.
I am also someone who is no stranger to coffee. I have been drinking it for more than half of my life and am not that sensitive to it. I really only notice the affects of it with my golf swing.
I obviously found this interesting because I can see caffeine having an adverse affect on golf. Golf is a sport of patience, requiring control.
Caffeine can have the tendency to raise heart rate and stimulate the nervous system. Two things that could have bad results on the course.
But I wanted to take a look and see if any researchers had looked into this. I found two research articles and a Masters dissertation.
The effect of a carbohydrate–caffeine sports drink
on simulated golf performance
Emma J. Stevenson, Philip R. Hayes, and Sarah J. Allison
This article looked at putting performance after taking a carbohydrate-caffeine drink.
They found that experienced golfers improved performance and alertness from the caffeine-carbohydrate drink.
Effect of Caffeine on Golf Performance and
Fatigue during a Competitive Tournament
PETEY W. MUMFORD1, AARON C. TRIBBY2, CHRISTOPHER N. POOLE3, VINCENT J. DALBO4,
AARON T. SCANLAN4, JORDAN R. MOON5, MICHAEL D. ROBERTS1, and KAELIN C. YOUNG1,6
This article looked at 12 golfers during a 36 hole competitive tournament. They were given caffeine before and after one of the 18 hole days.
The golfers who took the caffeine reported more energy and less fatigue. There was no difference in heart rate, breathing rate, trunk acceleration, or posture.
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE ON GOLF PERFORMANCE WITH FOCUS ON THE DRIVE
(A Research Project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Chester for the degree of M.Sc. Sports Sciences (Nutrition)
This article looked at driving the ball and 18 holes simulated. Caffeine was given 30 minutes before and after hole 9.
This article found that driving fatigue was reduced but there was no significant change in performance.
So from these three sources, it does not appear that caffeine helps you play any better. It may work indirectly by reducing the effects of fatigue but that might be limited.
Most of the benefits come from a feeling of alertness or energy.
It does not appear that a moderate dose of caffeine will adversely impact your golf game.
But just like anything, it depends on you. I personally don’t like drinking coffee within 30 minutes of playing so I probably will continue to avoid it.
If it does not bother you, then you can feel free to have some.
You will have to learn some things about how you interact with it. If you need an hour before then take it. If you are unaffected then it does not really matter.
Just like everything, you need to be as comfortable as you can. I am most comfortable without it right before or during, but you are not me. Do what makes you play your best.