Salivary cortisol, testosterone, and T/C ratio responses during a 36-hole golf competition

Int J Sports Med. 2007 Jun;28(6):470-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-924557. Epub 2006 Nov 16.


The purpose of this investigation was to study the effects of 36 continuous holes of competitive golf on salivary testosterone, cortisol, and testosterone-to-cortisol ratio and their relation to performance in eight elite male collegiate golfers (age 20.3 [+/- 1.5] years). Thirty-six holes of a 54-hole NCAA golf tournament were played on the first day of the competition. A saliva sample was taken 45 minutes prior to the round and immediately following each hole for a total of 37 samples per subject. Time matched baseline samples were collected on a different day to account for circadian variation. Six-hole areas under the curve (AUC) values were calculated for endocrine measures. Significant (p < 0.05) increases were noted for cortisol during competition, however, testosterone did not change during competition compared to baseline. Testosterone-to-cortisol (T/C) ratio was significantly lower throughout the competition compared to baseline measures. Thirty-six-hole AUC testosterone-to-cortisol ratio response was correlated (r = 0.82) to 36-hole score. There was a high correlation between pre-round testosterone (r = 0.71), T/C ratio response (r = 0.82), and 36-hole score. CSAI-2 somatic anxiety was correlated to pre-round cortisol (r = 0.81) and testosterone (r = - 0.80) response. These results indicate a significant hormonal response during 10 hours of competitive golf. Good golf performance (low golf scores) in this competition was related to low T/C ratio (r = .82). Additionally, results from this investigation validated CSAI-2 somatic anxiety with physiological measures of anxiety.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Golf*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Male
  • Salivary Glands / metabolism*
  • Testosterone / analysis*
  • Testosterone / metabolism
  • United States


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone