Why does your game improve after a couple of beers?
(Psst... it has to do with your muscles relaxing)
If you’re like me, you probably have a couple of mates who play surprisingly better after a couple of adult beverages.
Me? I’m no tour pro but when it comes to playing golf after a couple of beers, I start making putts like Jordan Speith (on a bad day).
After I’ve had my first beer, I start to feel like Ty Webb was right… just be the ball Danny. The expectation is removed, I drop the pretence of a pro-like score and just get on with it. It’s more than a little weird and doesn’t make much sense because contrary to most things — like operating heavy machinery — a light buzz is often helpful to my success on the links. Why-so?
In the case of golf — and other sports that require hitting a target like archery, it’s likely because alcohol relaxes the body and slows movement. Archers require muscle endurance in addition to strength, just like golfers, and according to David Mottram’s book Drugs In Sport. “Any slight deflection could cause the arrow to miss the target so relaxed muscles are needed to foster a smooth pull and release — and alcohol loosens muscles, creating a relaxed grip that can hold steadier for longer.”
A 1993 study cited in Mottram’s book, physiology researcher Thomas Reilly observed similar effects in darts players who drank. He found that hand-eye coordination deteriorated immediately after a player’s first drink, but balance and accuracy improved at a BAC of 0.02 (roughly one regular drink for one regular-sized guy).
However, anything above a BAC of 0.02 resulted in a deteriorating performance.
While the study did illustrate how quickly someone’s reaction time would decline even at low BAC levels, luckily, in sports like golf — where the player can take time to get from shot to shot — the deterioration of a player’s reaction time is mostly irrelevant.
According to Department of Sport & Health at Carlow IT, another possible reason has to do with the way alcohol relaxes. “Alcohol decreases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which mediates anxiety and activates certain pathways that promote happiness.”
So, next time you’re trying to win that monthly medal, relax, book an afternoon tee-time, buy a new Seed and use the money you saved on a pre-game bevvy . In this case at least, the science is on your side.
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