It goes without saying that walking a golf course provides more exercise benefits than riding in a golf cart. Also, a walking golfer has much less impact on the turf than a golf cart. This is evident any time you play in the rain: It’s easy to see where carts have ripped up swaths of grass that will take months to mend.
According to the Walking Golfer web site, there are four primary benefits of walking a golf course, including:
1. Physical – You burn almost twice as many calories while walking as you would riding in a cart
2. Scoring – You shoot better scores than those who are riding in a cart
3. Social – You have a much better opportunity to interact with all of your playing partners
4. Experience – You can fully enjoy the natural beauty of the course from tee to green
Researchers have also documents the benefits of walking versus riding in a golf cart. For example, researchers in Sweden found that walking golf equated to 40-percent to 70-percent of the intensity of a maximum aerobic workout when playing 18 holes. In another study, cardiologist Dr. Edward A. Palank showed that walking golfers reduced their levels of bad cholesterol while keeping their good cholesterol steady; the control group of riding golfers failed to show those good results.
And finally, Neil Wolkodoff, director of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, recently completed a study of these benefits at Inverness Golf Club in Denver, Co. Wolkodoff used eight male volunteers, aged 26 to 61, with handicaps between 2 and 17, to participate in an experiment that would analyze energy consumption and scoring while playing several nine hole rounds of golf.
The participants wore equipment that measured such variables as heart rate, oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and distance covered per round. Each golfer then played nine holes at Inverness in four different formats: Carrying a bag, pushing a cart, using a caddie, and using a motorized golf cart.
Over nine holes, the study revealed that golfers burned the following number of calories:
- An average of 721 calories carrying a bag
- An average of 718 calories pushing a cart
- An average of 613 calories using a caddy
- An average of 411 calories riding in a cart
If you think that golf isn’t exercise, consider the above statistics, and maybe give it a try. Be sure to have some fun out there!