“Golf is 95% mental and 35% psychological”. 

– Chi Chi Rodriguez

Chi-Chi’s math may have been a bit off, but he had a point. Success in golf – perhaps more than any other sport – relies primarily on maintaining mental clarity and focus.

Considering this emphasis on mental control, and the research indicating CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety and promote a calm state of mind, it’s no surprise that CBD has become a popular supplement among players, both amateur and professional. It’s physical benefits, like reduced inflammation and muscle soreness, make it even more desirable for anyone looking to improve their performance on the golf course.

This article will explore why golfers are increasing advocacy for CBD use, and the issues affecting its acceptance into the PGA.

Professional Endorsers

CBD’s rise in popularity among golfers – as opposed to other pro sports – is largely due to the recent endorsements by professionals on its effectiveness. Bubba Watson, a long-time crowd favorite for his flair, credits CBD for managing his inflammation. He plans on using it to extend his playing career. He explained to Golf Digest, “There’s no bad stuff in it, there are no chemicals in there that will mess you up or make you fail a drug test.” 

Scott McCarron, an ex-PGA pro, explained in an ESPN article that his sleep has never been better than while taking CBD oil.

He elaborated, “I think there was a misconception of what it really was, a hemp oil. I think there was a lot of buzz about it, but people weren’t really sure. I wasn’t really sure what to think of it. But when you find out what’s really in it, what isn’t in it, that it’s natural and that the levels of THC are so minute, I think it’s going to continue to take off.”

We hope he’s right, because golfers (especially aging golfers) stand to benefit enormously from CBD. Whether it’s an oil to relax the nerves or a topical to reduce pain, CBD is a no-brainer for golfers.

PGA and WADA Have No Ban on Hemp-CBD

These endorsements are no doubt due to the the open-minded approach that the PGA has taken to CBD, making it less of a taboo issue than the NFL or NBA. Instead of ignoring the subject, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, Jay Monahan, has publicly clarified that CBD is not a banned substance. This stance is in conformity with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Andy Levinson, Senior VP of tour administration, also came out to clarify that CBD falls under the same category as permitted supplements, like a multivitamin or protein powder.

“CBD in its pure form is not prohibited”, Levinson stated. Though he also reminded in an ESPN article that due to regulation issues, “the use of CBD in any of its currently available forms would be at a player’s own risk… because there is very little FDA regulation over the industry.” He advised “There is no guarantee that what is on the label is actually contained in the product.”

This risk is likely why some golfers are hesitant to try or endorse CBD. Even though CBD is not on WADA’s banned substance list, THC still is. You can be sure of what you’re using by checking Certificates of Analysis like these ones. Nuvamed products are derived from THC-free hemp and tested for impurities.

Use Caution: Read Labels and COA’s

Elevated THC in a players body can result in a failed drug test that would be a violation of the WADA regulations that the PGA adopted in 2008. Since then, several golfers have been punished for testing positive to marijuana for a variety of reasons. As recently as October of this year, Matt Every was suspended for 3 months after testing positive.

Stories like this make most golfers — even those who recognize the benefits — avoid CBD altogether. Jordan Speith, former world #1, acknowledges CBD’s benefits but has been hesitant to use it regularly himself. He explained to Reuters magazine, “that stuff’s been kind of known to really help with what we do, you know, shins and feet and that kind of stuff and … helping to recover.”

Though the public perception around CBD is still in relatively early days, athletes like Bubba Watson are helping people see the potential benefits of CBD. By publicly endorsing its benefits, and also obtaining sponsorship from a brand, he is paving the way for more people to accept CBD as a legitimate supplement.

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