Following his victory at the 2016 Deutsche Bank Championship, Rory McIlroy took to Facebook to give a shout-out to his post-round smoothie, provided to him gratis in the players’ dining room by the PGA Tour. McIlroy’s post was a shot in the arm for then deputy commissioner Jay Monahan (who has since taken the reins from Tim Finchem) and the PGA Tour’s national director of food and beverage, Kent James. Earlier that year, the two spearheaded a switch from traditional “country club” fare (often fried and buttery) for its players to more health-conscious options.
Part of this transformation included a smoothie bar, which according to James is now “the most popular spot in the dining area.” From pre-dawn through the post-round meal, two blenders run nearly nonstop, producing upwards of 875 smoothies a week for those card-carrying Tour members with a thirst for low-cal nutrition (and more than a thousand when there are rain delays).
Options run from “Berries Amour” (raspberries, bananas and blueberries) to “Island Green,” an homage to TPC Sawgrass’s iconic 17th hole that contains pineapples, bananas, kale and coconut.
According to James, there’s been zero pushback against the overhaul—even from the roundbellies. In fact, players have taken to crafting original smoothie recipes. Billy Horschel favors peanut butter and banana. Ben Crane goes a bit rawer: kale, cucumber, carrots and beets.
“We also offer intense, two-ounce ‘power shots’ that change daily, and we post what the shots are supposed to do performance-wise,” James says. “The players love it.”
What’s good for the pros is also good for you. “Eating before afternoon rounds is tricky, because you want to feel full and have energy, but you don’t want anything that’ll make you feel sluggish,” Horschel says. “Adding the smoothie bar has been awesome in that regard.”