News & Opinion

It’s a golf aid fit for a Kardashian

Suddenly, CBD products are everywhere. If you don’t know about CBDs, or cannabinoids, by now, the train is pulling out of the station without you. Just look around:

* Drugstore chains Walgreens and CVS announced they will carry CBD products.

* Golfer Bubba Watson signed an endorsement deal to promote a CBD-producing company.

* Some craft-beer makers in Wisconsin added CBD to their brews.

* Bed Bath & Beyond advertised that it stocks CBD products.

* Snack-food giant Mondelez International, which makes Oreos, Chips Ahoy and Nutter Butter cookies, among others, is considering adding CBD to its product line.

* CBS recently featured CBDs on its “Sunday Morning” show, noting that it is a $600 million business in the U.S. that is expected to reach $22 billion by 2024. Yes, that’s $22 billion, with a b.

* And using the ultimate barometer by which America is measured (wait, it isn’t Bubba Watson?), Kim Kardashian threw a CBD-themed baby shower last month.

So, don’t be the last to know, especially because the CBD phenomenon is coming to a game near you: golf.

Actually, CBDs already have arrived in golf. I suspect the curious gum-chewing we saw from Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson during last month’s Masters Tournament was our first look at CBD-laced gum, to take advantage of its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Or did Woods, after multiple back and knee surgeries, and Mickelson, with psoriatic arthritis, get hooked on Big League Chew at the same time?

That seems unlikely. If they were using a CBD product, which is legal under Olympic drug standards, they simply were ahead of the curve in golf. That curve is straightening quickly. CBD may be the world’s newest, hottest commodity.

What is CBD? It is the substance derived from hemp and marijuana but is completely non-psychoactive in its pure form. Unlike THC, the compound that puts the buzz in marijuana, CBD won’t make you high. CBD is not yet approved by the Food & Drug Administration but can be purchased in most of the U.S. as a dietary supplement.

CBD provides pain relief for some users and a clearer focus and reduced anxiety for others. Its healing powers are still being explored.

Why should you, the golfer, care? Because CBD will maybe, just maybe, help you play better golf. That is not a claim or a promise but merely an observation based on select golfers who have used Nasadol, a CBD product sourced from hemp farms in Oregon and Colorado.

Nasadol stands out because it is believed to be the first nasal spray to deliver CBD, which goes directly to the brain’s receptors and begins to work in as little as 15 seconds. CBD products taken orally must travel through the digestive system, then get filtered (and diluted) by the liver before they get absorbed into the body.

e87af6b1-589d-4221-8b39-b922d23fd330_412x303.png
Nasadol, a cannabinoid nasal spray, sells for $24.99-$49.99, depending on dosage strength and bottle volume. It is among the many CBD products starting to attract the attention of golfers.

There are plans to repackage some Nasadol spray for golfers and rename it Fairway Focus. It will be sold in golf shops. (Currently, Nasadol is available at www.Nasadol.com, $24.99-$49.99 per bottle, depending on dosage strength and bottle volume.)

The inventor is Dr. Fred Melius, an ob/gyn physician practicing in Madison, Wis., who initially developed a nasal spray to combat dry noses and allergies. In 2016, his son, Cole, suggested adding CBD. After a year’s worth of trials with Karl Edelman, a pharmacologic R&D engineer, Nasadol was born.

Adam Burish, a 10-year National Hockey League veteran, is a Nasadol user. He broadcasts Chicago Blackhawks games for TV and helps market Nasadol. He is a believer. Burish, 36, underwent 13 surgeries in his NHL career before retiring in 2016. “I got in the way a lot,” he said, chuckling, in a phone interview.

He said he took a lot of pain pills such as naproxen and ibuprofen during his playing days, and also sleeping pills. Now, he uses Nasadol and hasn’t taken a pain pill in two years. “My knee and my back feel better,” he said. “My mood is better.”

Burish said that Joe Pavelski, a former teammate with the San Jose Sharks, used Nasadol to recover from a concussion suffered in the first round of the recent playoffs. He also said a handful of Blackhawks players use it, including star winger Patrick Kane. “Patrick started taking it after the season ended,” Burish said. “He texted me last week, and I got excited because his trainer says he’s moving better than he ever has this time of year.”

Chuck Iverson of Middleton, Wis., tells a similar story, though he’s a generation older. Iverson, 67, spends his winters in Scottsdale, Ariz., so that he can play golf almost year-round. Since he started using Nasadol, his handicap has dropped from 6 to 4 and he has picked up 3-5 mph of clubhead speed. He has no explanation for the improvement, other than Nasadol.

Iverson grew up in the Madison area playing golf with future two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North. They remain close friends.

“Andy beat me like a drum back then,” Iverson said. “Where he rose to the occasion in tournaments, I was somewhat the other way. I’d get first-tee jitters.”

Iverson has a tough time explaining what Nasadol does for him.

“We have a lot of holes at Troon [Country Club] where the view from the tee is anxiety-producing,” he said. “Now I take a look and focus, and it just doesn’t seem to be a problem. I’ve played rounds with it and without it. I just felt more confident with it.”

Iverson and Scott Ransom have teamed to win the Troon Cup in the past two years. Ransom shot 73 the first time he used Nasadol. He is a 12-handicapper.

“It’s for more than just golf,” Iverson said. “I go hiking in the mountains out here. Sometimes, the path is slippery on the way back down. I’ve used it so I can focus on not slipping. You could use it for public speaking or anything, really.”

I took my first hit of Nasadol before I went to bed following a semi-sleepless, annoying night when I couldn’t get comfortable. The spray has a pleasant aroma that is flowery, maybe lavender-ish. I didn’t feel significantly different, but I slept unusually well. And maybe I imagined it, but my usual allergy symptoms were markedly reduced.

I tried Nasadol for a second time before a round of golf and, coincidentally, played unusually well. I shot 67, but don’t be too impressed by the score: I made two trips around a nine-hole, par-69 course that features three par-4 holes where even I, a Medicare-eligible geezer, can almost drive the green in dry conditions.

Did I start making good swings because I was less anxious and slightly more into my round than usual? Maybe. Or was this low score the payoff for the practice session the day before at a range where I worked on a new lower-body move? I can’t say for sure. I can’t wait to do more testing. Given the many positive attributes of CBD, what have I got to lose?

In Burish’s circle of golfing pals, Nasadol is already semi-legendary.

“I take a few sprays before we play, then I take it again after nine holes,” Burish said. “Before a big putt in our match, one of the guys will take a few squirts of Nasadol and joke, ‘This one’s good now, right?’ We joke around.”

Iverson’s suggested slogan for Nasadol’s Fairway Focus product is, “Better golf, better life.”

I’ll squirt to that. Twice, in each nostril.

Gary Van Sickle has covered golf since 1980 for Sports Illustrated and Golf.com, Golf World and The Milwaukee Journal. Email: gvansick@aol.com; Twitter: @GaryVanSickle