Don’t let the neatly tucked polos and tapered slacks idiot you. This present period of golfers are the fittest and most athletic the sport of golf has seen. From CrossFit coaching to touring with private cooks, reflexologists, and cellular gyms — the sport hasn’t modified a lot however the gamers teeing off now have advanced.
The PGA Tour season kicks into full gear this week with The Gamers Championship. It’s the game’s flagship occasion that mixes the strongest discipline at one of many tour’s most iconic venues in The Gamers Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Seashore, FL. With a handbag of $25 million, the $4.5 million for the winner is the most important payout on the tour.
With all the eye being targeted on the inexperienced, a brand new participant eating idea targeted on diet can even be unveiled. On the entrance of this transformation are efficiency dietitian Ryan Harmon and Chef Mohamed Azhar. The tour labored with Harmon to assemble suggestions from the participant’s final summer time to rethink how they’re fueled.
Beforehand working as an government and company chef for TPC Sawgrass, Azhar was not too long ago named as the primary Nationwide Culinary Director for your entire TPC Community, which consists of 9 PGA Tour occasions, together with the Gamers.
M&F spoke with the pair on their function in serving to guarantee the gamers are at their greatest with wholesome choices with out sacrificing nice style.
Not Your Father’s Manner of Golf
Ryan Harmon started talking with gamers on the tour final summer time to realize their perception into the choices on the totally different tournaments through the season and what they wished to see. With every athlete having totally different wants and objectives, there was a whole lot of info to absorb. What was constant in every of these conversations was the need for high-quality meals. And the gamers’ record was lengthy, from grass-fed and grass-finished beef and bison to house-made whole-foods, nutrient-dense snacks, natural non-GMO sourdough freshly baked from a neighborhood bakery to natural and seasonal native produce, and even house-made dressings—the tour execs’ theme centered round placing one of the best substances of their our bodies.
“Greater than ever, gamers as we speak perceive the meals they select for coaching and competitors have an effect on how properly they will prepare, recuperate, compete, and good diet offers a aggressive benefit for them,” Harmon stated. “The fashionable golfer is touring with a efficiency chef who’s making and making ready most of their meals. They journey with a full efficiency staff and it’s a really complicated operation. They’re additionally utilizing meals and diet to assist forestall accidents and lengthen their careers.”
Harmon had beforehand labored for the Tampa Bay Rays, the place she constructed and headed their first-ever efficiency and diet program from 2017-2021. That program spanned throughout the Ray’s minor league groups and their baseball academy within the Dominican Republic. It took her a couple of 12 months to totally construct this system out and implement it absolutely however as soon as it caught on, it appeared to pay dividends within the standings. The Rays have been on the backside of the AL East earlier than she got here aboard. In her final three years, the staff completed first within the division twice and second as soon as for 3 consecutive postseason appearances, together with a World Collection berth in 2020.
She credited the time being current full-time as the rationale this system was capable of work. Had she simply been in a advisor function and been somebody that popped out and in of the clubhouse infrequently, it’s unlikely the gamers would have been capable of set up the belief wanted to purchase into what she was implementing. There would even be no means a staff that doesn’t have the posh of a giant market price range would justify spending a premium on higher-quality meals.
Harmon was part of all of the highs and lows throughout her time with the Rays. In talking Spanish at an intermediate degree, she was capable of communicate with a whole lot of the gamers of their native language, which additional cemented the belief issue inside the ball membership. She additionally isn’t new to the golf scene having labored as the top golf sports activities dietician for IMG Academy from 2012-14. She’s labored with athletes throughout nearly each sport and is trying ahead to seeing the outcomes of this new idea throughout the tour.
“My purpose is to verify each single participant in that clubhouse’s dietary wants are being met,” she stated. “Whether or not that’s fueling alternatives, meals preferences, assist to navigate a brand new food plan, struggles with vitality ranges…I need to ensure that all the gamers really feel like their wants are being met one hundred pc. This diet program is constructed to try this and it doesn’t get any higher than what we’ve been engaged on for the final 9 months.”
Bringing The Eating Expertise As much as Par
Azhar got here aboard the PGA Tour in 2017 because the senior government chef at TPC Sawgrass. Given how extremely regarded the 9 PGA Tour occasions within the TPC community are, the meals and beverage program was in want of some reimagining to succeed in the identical acclaim. Azhar’s purpose has been to characteristic a menu that’s each innovative, fashionable, and capable of rival among the high eating places within the native markets of the programs.
With the Gamers Championship being the tour’s flagship occasion, his choices will take heart stage together with the motion.
“One of many major issues I began engaged on is ensuring the Gamers Championship is likely one of the greatest eating experiences within the space,” Azhar stated. “The previous couple of years, we’ve been engaged on innovating the Gamers eating idea as properly.”
Throughout Gamers week, Azhar could have his palms full overseeing the choices to the 144 competing gamers in addition to their households and visitor visiting TPC Sawgrass in search of a singular Gamers Membership expertise. Azhar says that these eating in can count on to take pleasure in a nutritious meal that doesn’t compromise nice style. That job is achieved from the sourcing of the substances.
“Our meat, fish, eggs, and produce are all regionally sourced,” he says. “If I’m not capable of supply regionally, then it’s all grass-fed or natural. All of the fish is wild caught as a result of they’ve a better degree of fatty omega-3 acids and that’s vital for anti-inflammatory properties with athletes. Our eggs are from pastured hens as a result of that enhances nutrient density, and all of our vegatables and fruits are natural and grown regionally.”
What’s on the Menu?
Born and raised in India, Azhar has additionally labored in varied areas of the world and the menus throughout the TPC community draw direct inspiration from his culinary journey. A few of his favorites on the menu are the TPC Pretzel with housemate queso, the butter hen with papaya chutney yogurt raita, the Tinga nachos, and the superfood bowl that features a poached egg, crispy brown rice, kale pesto, and the choice so as to add the protein of selection.
The menu modifications seasonally to make to make the most of the freshest native substances. About 30 % of the choices stay as they’re one of the best sellers and causes visitor return to dine on the clubhouses. Given the trouble and a spotlight on bettering the eating for the Gamers Championship, Azhar is aware of it would simply be an added bonus to this weekend. However he isn’t shy about what he desires from every one who might be eating at TPC Sawgrass this weekend.
“I need them to say this is likely one of the greatest meals I ever had and I need to come again to have this meal once more,” he says. “You need to hear that usually and I need to ensure that gamers and their households say that.”