Are Golfers Tested For Steroids? Anti-Doping In Golf

Unlike tennis, track and field, or even rugby, the sport of golf is not well known for its anti-doping efforts. It was not until 2008 that the PGA Tour began testing their players using urine samples; and in 2017 they started blood testing players to detect any use of human growth harmone.

Neverthless, you’ll hardly find blood testing in golf at any level, unless it’s for players who are competing at the Olympics where they are subjected to WADA’s standards (World Anti-Doping Agency).

Are Golfers Tested For Steroids?

One common concern surrounding doping in golf is whether or not golfers are tested for steroids.

In short, according to the anti-doping rules of prohibited substances in golf, golfers are tested for steroids, particularly anabolic agents or anabolic androgenic steroids. 

This prohibited class is made up of the male hormone testosterone, substances which can be metabolized to testosterone in the body, and substances with a similar activity or chemical structure.

Natural testosterone regulates, promotes, and maintains physical and sexual development, primarily in the male, but with effects in the female as well. Anabolic agents assist in recovery from injury and tissue repair.

Also, in combination with training, muscular size and strength may increase from the use of anabolic agents. As these drugs are hormones, they interfere with normal hormonal balance, thereby producing detrimental and sometimes permanent side effects.

List Of Anabolic Steroids That Are Prohibited

  • Methyltestosterone (Android)
  • 19-norandrostenedione (nandrolone and 19-norandrostenedione are prohibited at concentrations greater than 20 nanograms per mililiter)
  • prostanozol (Anabolic Xtreme)
  • stanozolol (Winstrol, Winstrol Depo (intra-muscular))
  • tetrahydrogestrinone (THG or The Clear)
  • testosterone (Axiron, Testim, Striant, Androderm, Androgel)
  • Clenbuterol
  • DHEA (Prastera, Fidelin)
  • epitestosterone

Medical Uses For Anabolic Steroids

  • For weight gain in wasting (as in burn injury, HIV-infection or muscular dystrophy)30
  • Decreased or absent gonadal function
  • Delayed puberty
  • Relief of bone pain from osteoporosis
  • Severe anemia
  • Hereditary angioedema
  • Clenbuterol is used to treat asthma

How are Anabolic Steroids Obtained?

Anabolic steroids are obtained by prescription or illegal methods. DHEA (noted above) is not obtained illegally or by prescription, and is available in many forms of over the counter products.

Some health food or “smoothie” restaurants offer to add DHEA supplements or powder to shakes. Athletes should ensure that any shakes they order do not have supplement additives such as DHEA.

How Could Anabolic Agents Be Used To Enhance Performance In Golf?

These products are known to aid in tissue repair and injury recovery. They also reduce fatigue. Additionally, there may be a beneficial application of testosterone and anabolic steroids in golf due to the potential to increase driving distance.

Driving distance is contingent upon club head speed, a component of golf swing mechanics and the body. If the body is able to generate more power withinthe biomechanics of the golf swing, it will increase club head speed.

Further, injury recovery and reduction in tissue breakdown could allow an athlete to train longer, more intensely, and return totournament competition faster.

How Are Golfers Tested For Steroids?

Golfers are tested for anabolic steroids in urine samples. The presence of these steroids can be detected in the urine for days or even weeks depending on the quantity taken and when was the last dose given.

The urine testing process features several steps. They include:

1. Notifying The Player

When you are selected for in-competition urine testing, a collector will notify you and inform you of your rights and responsibilities, including the right to have a representative present (except during the time you actually provide the sample).

The collector will also provide information to ensure a successful sample provision (e.g., avoiding over-hydrating
or under- hydrating prior to the collection).

You will be required to sign a form confirming that you have been notified of your selection for drug testing. You must bring photo identification (e.g., PGA TOUR player credential, valid driver’s license, passport) with you
to the area on- site where testing will be conducted (also known as the “testing area”).

2. Report To The Testing Area

Once notified, you must report to the designated testing area as soon as possible. The collector may allow you to delay reporting to the testing area for unavoidable obligations; however, you will be monitored from the time of notification until completion of the sample collection process.

A failure to report to the testing area by the required time is the same as a doping violation under the Program.

3. Hand Washing

You will be required to rinse and dry your hands prior to the sample collection process.

4. Selection of Collection Container

You will choose an individually sealed collection container. You may verify that the seal on the container is intact and has not been tampered with. You will maintain control of the collection container at all times until it is sealed as described below.

5. Provision of Sample

Only you and the collector are permitted in the restroom during the sample collection. If you have a disability, you may also have your representative present; however, any such representative is not permitted to view the sample collection. The collector’s objective is to ensure that he correctly observes the sample collection process.

6. Volume of Urine

The collector shall use the relevant laboratory specifications to verify, in your full view, that the volume of the urine sample satisfies requirements for analysis.

7. Selection of the Sample Collection Kit

You will choose one individually sealed sample collection kit. You may verify that the seal on the kit is intact and has not been tampered with. The collector will open the kit.

8. Splitting the Sample

The collector will measure the specific gravity of the sample prior to splitting the sample into an “A” and “B” vial. The collector will split the sample, pouring the required volume of urine into the bottle labeled with an “A”; and pouring the required volume of urine into the bottle labeled with a “B”.

9. Sealing the Samples

The collector will seal both of the “A” and “B” bottles. You and/or your representative, if applicable, may verify that the bottles are sealed properly.

10. Measuring Specific Density

If your sample does not meet the specific density requirements, you may be asked to provide additional samples. This may include your having to wait in the testing area until you have provided a sample meeting the specification.

11. Completion of Information

You will provide information, including your name, on either a written form or an electronic hand-held device provided by the collector.

Be sure to confirm that all of the information you provide is correct, including the code number of your sample. You will be given the opportunity to complete the Comments section of the form to note any comments or
concerns you have regarding the process.

12. Out-of-Competition Testing

The sample collection process for out-of-competition tests is substantially similar to the process described above, with adjustments appropriate to the place and circumstances of Testing.

13. The Laboratory Process

Your samples are packaged for shipping to ensure that their security is tracked. They are sent to an accredited laboratory, which will adhere to the International Standard for Laboratories when processing your samples, ensuring the chain of custody is maintained at all times.

Your “A” sample is analyzed first. Your “B” sample is securely stored and may be used to confirm a potential violation if the “A” sample comes back positive for a banned substance or method.

The laboratory will confidentially report the results of your sample analysis to the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program Administrator (“Program Administrator”).

List Of PGA Tour Banned Substances

Apart from Anabolic steroids, the PGA Tour makes clear a list of prohibited substances that golfers should refrain from taking.

Marijuana, cocaine and other recreational drugs are banned substances.

While there is controversy surrounding marijuana as a non performance enhancing drug, it is argued that the drug decreases anxiety. 

Here is the list of banned substances outlined by the PGA Tour:

Anabolic Agents
Hormones and Related Substances
Agents with Anti-Estrogenic Activity
Diuretics and Other Masking Agents
Beta Blockers
Enhancement of Oxygen Transfer
Chemical and Physical Manipulation
Substances that may be Prohibited At the Option of the Golf Organization


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