Alkohol och golf: En testning av effekterna på spelet

Alcohol and golf: An examination of the effects on the game

For centuries, golfers all over the world have sought the answer to the question: How does alcohol affect the game? The general belief is that one or two drinks act as "swing oil" and loosen up the muscles as well as reduce nervousness on the first tee. Others claim three to four drinks do the trick, while a vocal minority claim a six-pack is their Valhalla.

But just as important is knowing when enough is enough. Where is the line between feeling like Happy Gilmore - hitting long drives, taking risks, without a care in the world - to, pardon the expression, acting like Happy Gilmore?

It's a frontier we decided to explore. I joined my colleague Niklas and our volunteer friend Robert (we are withholding his last name to protect his family from further embarrassment) at a local golf club in Roslagen, to investigate the connection between alcohol and golf. And by "investigate" we mean we guzzled beer during a 3 hour training session. All in the name of science and the game. Honestly, we forgot the purpose after beer number three.

Our testing involved three golfers - one low, one medium and one high handicap - hitting six drives, six approach shots and six putts, with the results of each performance documented. To create a baseline, we completed each step sober. Given the results, we could be forgiven for thinking we snuck in Grandpa's cough medicine before the test.

After the first round we went to open the cooling pipe to start the consumption. I assumed that since this investigation was being documented we would be served nothing but the finest and smoothest lagers available. I was wrong, as two cans of Norrlands came sliding in my direction.

After two drinks

According to the National Institute of Health, heavy drinking is defined as a pathological response to unresolved grief. Maybe that's why many golfers seek solace in the bottle, I thought as my irons sailed away from their intended targets.

As part of the process we were breathalyzed before each new round to ensure we were at the correct level. My blood alcohol level after the first test: 0.04. On the scale.

Drink 3-4

One of the fellow players asks if I feel any positive effects of the alcohol on my performance. I confidently answer that it feels like I have added five meters in length. On reflection, it turns out that I have actually lost distance. I'm that guy at the bar who thinks he's in the zone on the dance floor, but in reality looks like he's having an epileptic seizure.

Dr. Ara Suppiah, one of the leading sports doctors on the PGA Tour, calls this - "it" which means being four drinks deep - the "excitement phase". The senses are dulled, sleepiness and erratic behavior take over, and coordination disappears. All illustrated to varying degrees by Robert, who in the middle of driving practice admits he's not sure if he's holding the right club and nearly hits another golfer with a side-swipe. This does not affect his enthusiasm in the slightest.

Suppiah also notes that a person who drinks tends to be more talkative in this phase, which may explain why Niklas gives a running commentary while playing.

Drink 5-6

According to Dr. Suppiah expected the pain to subside after six beers. "Expected to be" is the key phrase, because after three 3-putts in five putts, I suddenly feel a strong urge to throw my putter into the woods. But apparently there is something called "beer muscles", because despite the failure I try to hit the ball harder and faster.

So what have we learned? That alcohol is not the way to swing oil, but rather a key that can turn the symmetry of the golf swing into a Picasso painting. Or, in our case, a colorful and creative mess.

As we all know, that line we all feared is not so clear. So perhaps it is best to refrain from drinking alcohol on the golf course if you want to perform at your peak. But for those of us who want some relaxation and laughter during the round, a couple of beers can be a way to enjoy the game in the company of friends.

So the next time you're standing on the tee with a cold Norrlands in hand, wondering if you should take a sip before your first shot, remember that it can have an impact on your game. And regardless of the outcome, be sure to have fun and enjoy the moment at the golf club with your golf buddies - after all, that's what really matters.

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