Golf can be a great form of exercise – if you want it to be. Like most individuals who walk regularly, those who choose to walk a golf course can reap the benefits of a good workout while thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process.
As David Fay, the former president of the United States Golf Association, once said, “We strongly believe that walking is the most enjoyable way to play golf and that the use of carts is detrimental to the game. This negative trend needs to be stopped now before it becomes accepted that riding in a cart is the way to play golf.” Enough said. So, what are the benefits of walking a golf course?
Not only is walking a golf course a healthy form of exercise, it’s also good for the course, and the image of the sport. Though some will argue that the start-and-stop nature of walking golf isn’t beneficial, think again. An article in the Northern Ohio Golf Association publication Fairways offered suggestions for beginners or veteran riders who want to walk but aren’t yet in shape for it:
Walk alternate holes during a round, so that by the end of your round you’ve walked nine holes. Walk one set of nines, ride the other. If you are at a course that requires carts, walk down the fairway to your ball while your partner brings the cart up. If playing with a partner who rides, ride only on the cart path and walk to and from the cart to your ball on every hole. It’s also a good idea for walkers to look after their backs either by using a push cart to carry their bag, or by switching from a single-strap bag to a double-strap bag. Golfers can also consider a motorized caddy, which completely relieves the golfer of the need to carry or pull a bag.
Walking a golf course is a good thing to do for the sake of the course itself – it saves wear-and-tear and damage to sensitive areas, which creates a better golfing environment.
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, a study done at the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, Colo., concluded that walking nine holes on a hilly course is equivalent to a walk of 2.5 miles, compared to a half mile when using a cart. Also, a golfer who walks 36 holes a week is burning nearly 3,000 calories.
To walk or not to walk a golf course; you be the judge.
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a golf column, “The RV Golfer,” which is published every month in rvlife.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.