Golf Digest Videos

How Alcohol Affects Your Golf Game

In this influential study, three golfers of different skill levels try a series of golf shots after consuming more and more alcoholic drinks to see how alcohol affects their game. A semi-pro, an amateur, and a casual golfer progress through five rounds of driving off the tee, hitting with an iron, and putting on the green - first while sober then adding 2 drinks with each round of shots. Sports Medicine Physician Dr. Ara Suppiah MD explains what's happening to each golfer under the influence.

Released on 4/3/2018

Credits

Starring: Ara Suppiah

Transcript

00:01
I'm Joel and I'm pretty much a scratch golfer.
00:03
I'm Steve I would call myself a middle handicapper.
00:06
I'm Chris I'm a pretty high handicap golfer.
00:18
When you start drinking alcohol,
00:22
well it kinda helps in the beginning cause if you're a
00:25
little bit tight it can loosen you up.
00:28
[Golfer] I like to drink occasionally on the course I that
00:31
helps you free up from time to time.
00:33
[Golfer] Around 80% of the time when I'm golfing I might
00:35
have a beer.
00:36
[Golfer] It's gonna be a fun day,
00:37
well we'll see how it goes but I'm not expecting
00:39
good things to happen let's leave it at that.
00:43
[Doctor Suppiah] So when you're going from
00:45
being completely sober to kind
00:47
of being happily intoxicated what I would anticipate,
00:51
like if you take a driver for instance
00:53
as you start drinking,
00:54
you'll feel very confident
00:56
you'll have lost a little bit of inhibition
00:58
and you're gonna pound that ball.
01:00
Okay?
01:01
But as you drink more and more
01:03
you'll find that making contact with the ball is actually
01:06
gonna be becoming very difficult,
01:08
and you'll probably stop caring about where the ball goes
01:11
and so it's gonna go all over the place.
01:19
When it comes to the irons
01:20
I think that's where you're gonna get away with it the most.
01:23
Because there's a huge buffer range where you can kinda
01:26
lose a little bit of feel and a little bit of speed and
01:28
still get away with ya know a thirty forty yard shot.
01:32
The most important thing with irons as any tour player
01:34
will tell you,
01:35
is you gotta visualize the shot and you gotta commit to
01:38
the shot you cannot be distracted
01:40
that's key to hitting good crisp iron shots.
01:44
I think you'll maintain that while you're drinking and
01:46
eventually that will go too,
01:48
but that's the one that's gonna go last in my opinion.
01:55
When you're sober,
01:56
your putting should be good
01:57
as you drink a little bit more,
01:59
you might be a little bit looser
02:01
and it might actually help the putting a little bit
02:04
but certainly as you drink more and more and more,
02:08
the distance, the feel,
02:11
what you're looking,
02:12
how the putts breaking and stroking the putt accurately
02:15
cause it's such a fine movement.
02:17
That's gonna go pretty quick.
02:19
But once you do the same putt over and over again after a
02:22
few times the alcohol with actually help you little bit
02:25
cause you tend to be a little bit more relaxed
02:27
but you become more confident.
02:32
Boys, cheers.
02:38
0.45 we're on the board boys. Alright!
02:44
[Doctor Suppiah] Two drinks.
02:46
When you have two drinks in about ten minutes it really
02:49
kicked in.
02:50
I'm hoping it's better.
02:52
We're all gonna see a little improvement.
02:54
Oh yeah,
02:55
I'm seein at least probably five yards of carry.
03:05
[Doctor Suppiah] Two drinks in the first effect of
03:07
alcohol is called the Euphoric Stage.
03:10
You feel a little bit more confident
03:12
so it might actually help you,
03:13
and especially if you are with wedge and you gotta hit it
03:16
to a tight pin,
03:17
you might be a little bit more relaxed and so you should
03:20
play better at this stage.
03:26
Alcohol at that level can be a little bit of a sedative,
03:30
as you drink you go from sympathetic
03:32
to more parasympathetic.
03:33
You go from being totally tight,
03:35
to a little bit more relaxed a little bit more sleepy
03:37
and that's how you see the effects on the muscles.
03:48
Why don't we shotgun the next one?
03:54
Set, let's go.
03:55
I feel okay,
03:56
I'm a little discouraged after this rain session.
03:59
Feelin pretty good.
03:59
My body feels very fluid very relaxed.
04:01
Think I'm gonna do (beeped out) awesome.
04:03
[Doctor Suppiah] Four drinks,
04:05
this is called the excitement phase.
04:07
[Golfer] My game is definitely taking a hit.
04:10
[Doctor Suppiah] Now your mood can be up or down.
04:13
The golf balls are gonna go all over this range.
04:15
[Doctor Suppiah] This is where we cause loss of balance,
04:17
perception ...
04:18
You don't need launch monitor for that.
04:20
I think I hit one shank all summer.
04:22
I just hit two in five shots so ...
04:25
[Doctor Suppiah] As you start drinking you'll see that the
04:27
part of the brain that controls vision is also effected.
04:31
This is a driver right?
04:34
Steve you see my pitching wedge back there?
04:36
[Doctor Suppiah] You can be a little bit more sociable
04:38
a little bit talkative.
04:40
Boney maroney.
04:41
I think I'm gonna do a little bit worse.
04:45
[Doctor Suppiah] If you're at different targets
04:46
it's gonna throw you off.
04:47
(whispers) oh, sorry.
04:49
[Golfer] Acuracy gonna be all over the ball park.
04:51
[Doctor Suppiah] Judging distance gonna be effected
04:53
because that connection
04:54
is starting to be effected by alcohol.
04:57
That's what happens after you drink four beers,
04:59
you hit one fat,
05:00
then all the sudden it goes towards the hole you have
05:02
no idea why.
05:09
I didn't feel much of a difference in the putting last
05:11
time but I think I will definitely feel a difference
05:13
in putting this time.
05:15
[Golfer] I think I'm gonna make everything
05:16
that's the right mentality.
05:24
Cheers boys.
05:29
Six beers in I'm feeling like swinging a golf club might
05:33
be tough.
05:34
Wooh!
05:35
Well it's uh,
05:36
golf club serving as a nice cane.
05:38
Feelin rough man.
05:39
[Doctor Suppiah] Six drinks.
05:40
Just gonna send it.
05:41
[Doctor Suppiah] You feel a little bit more confident.
05:43
I think I'm gonna try it,
05:44
qualify for the US Amateur next year.
05:46
I'm gonna be right there in the final group of the masters.
05:48
[Doctor Suppiah] At this stage your balance is certainly
05:51
gonna be off.
05:52
Much harder to get the ball on.
05:54
I have a little bit more focus and a little bit more edge.
05:56
No idea where that went.
05:58
[Doctor Suppiah] Certainly lose a little bit more
06:00
inhibition.
06:01
Watch out Rory, Dustin,
06:02
I'm comin after ya.
06:03
That's how I'm feelin right now.
06:05
[Doctor Suppiah] This is why you shouldn't be driving.
06:06
If you get pulled over
06:07
you're gonna get in trouble.
06:12
Good to go.
06:13
[Golfer] I'm feelin it feelin it pretty hard.
06:15
[Doctor Suppiah] Distant judgment you know shadows,
06:17
all of that come in to play.
06:19
Sorry.
06:20
I'm buyin it all over the (beeped out) range right now
06:23
alright?
06:23
That's what I'm doin.
06:24
[Doctor Suppiah] As the alcohol level goes up you can't
06:26
track moving objects anymore.
06:28
I don't what you wanna call that but that's not very good.
06:34
[Doctor Suppiah] Speech is a demonstration of how much
06:37
control you have.
06:38
You know what putts are putts.
06:40
I felt like I was actually hitting the putts where I
06:41
wanted to last time but the feel was not quite there.
06:45
It's all a feel thing so I don't think I've lost that yet.
06:49
[Doctor Suppiah] It would be like you are seasick or you
06:51
are feeling terrible on a boat.
07:00
Definitely feeling it.
07:01
Feeling something.
07:02
In the face in the legs in the arms feelin it.
07:07
[Doctor Suppiah] Eight drinks.
07:09
This phase is called the confusion phase.
07:12
Is your name Jerry?
07:13
Cause I just wanna say,
07:14
feelin a little bit rough Jerry.
07:19
We're hitting the ball far
07:20
but we have no idea where the ball is going.
07:22
[Doctor Suppiah] Again we build on all the other parts.
07:24
Best one yet.
07:25
One more?
07:26
[Doctor Suppiah] You might have a headache,
07:28
out of balance,
07:31
it kinda lets go a little bit.
07:33
Boom.
07:37
[Doctor Suppiah] You are gonna be making bad decisions.
07:40
Probably something that's gonna put shame to my family,
07:41
I think we've long crossed that precipice.
07:44
[Doctor Suppiah] Your coordination is so bad.
07:46
Haven't topped one all day till now.
07:48
[Doctor Suppiah] The back of the brain is getting really
07:50
poisoned at this point.
07:51
Have you been drinkin too?
07:53
[Golfer] It's not gonna be good.
07:54
Let's be honest,
07:55
after seven beers you don't know where your balls are goin.
07:59
Thank God you weren't right there.
08:07
[Doctor Suppiah] Your putting should generally be effected
08:09
at this point because your eyes can't stand to stay over
08:11
the ball they're twitching.
08:13
But if it's something that you do all the time,
08:16
if it's putt that you're used to and you know the break
08:18
you might get away with it.
08:26
(frustrated groan)
08:31
(all cheer)
08:42
I don't know about you fellas,
08:43
but at least in terms off the driver I didn't see that big
08:46
of a difference.
08:46
Accuracy was not there but distance was definitely there
08:50
with the driver.
08:51
Overall I was actually surprised it wasn't worse.
08:53
If that makes sense.
08:54
I don't know what that says about us as alcoholics
08:56
or golfers.
08:58
Point 1.
08:59
Point 1 zero.
09:01
Point 3, 13.
09:05
Point 1 3.
09:06
I win? Again.
09:08
[Doctor Suppiah] With this much alcohol on board.
09:10
Drink a ton of water.
09:11
Take some ibuprofen for the headache and the body aches
09:14
that you're gonna get,
09:15
then eat something get somebody to come pick them up and
09:18
then take them home.
09:28
[Golfer] All good!
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