Blog, News, The Walking Golfer

Author: Keri Schmit

It doesn’t take a genius to know that walking is better for you than riding in a motorized cart. But how much better?

The four primary benefits are the following:

  • Physical – You  burn almost twice as many calories as you would riding in a cart
  • Scoring – You shoot better scores than those who are riding in a cart
  • Social – You have a much better opportunity to interact with all of your playing partners as golf is an entertaining sport you can enjoy with everyone
  • Experience – You can fully enjoy the natural beauty of the course from tee to green

Golf is a game that can be played by people of all body types and athletic abilities.
Health and fitness experts advocate that taking 10,000 steps per day – the equivalent of 18-holes or five miles – will improve your overall fitness and help control your weight.
Additional physical and mental health benefits to the game:

  • Sunshine: when you are out playing a game of golf on a beautiful day, you get an adequate dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for building strong bones and good overall health.
  • Sleep: people who exercise and work out are proven to sleep better at night. Exercise helps wear off excess energy helps you fall asleep faster and helps you stay asleep through the night.
  • Oxygen: swinging a golf club is equivalent to doing at least 200 twists, allowing for an increased volume of oxygen flowing through the brain and body, simulating healthy cell function.
  • Mental Stimulation: Golf helps to sharpen focus, develop cognitive skills and aid in strategic thinking. A 2003 study showed that brains of people with a low sense of worth were more likely to shrink than those with high self-esteem; shrinkage led to poor results on memory and learning tests. Golf gives you a sense of completion and a nice boost to your esteem.

Did you know?

The benefits of walking are not just limited to the golfer; they also extend to the golf course and the surrounding environment.
A walking golfer has much less impact on the turf than a golf cart, which is evident any time you play in the rain because you can see where carts have ripped up swaths of grass that will take months to mend.
If a golf course or club is walking only, then there is the added benefit of saving expenses on building and maintaining cart paths, while also significantly improving the aesthetics of the course.
Cart paths are little more than a long scar on the landscape that disrupt natural sightlines, create artificial man made obstacles and negatively influence an architect’s ability to freely route the course. A cart path free course is a blank canvas, while the necessity to accommodate cart paths is restrictive to the architect as an artist.
Many contend that the costs of building and maintaining cart paths are outweighed by the revenue that is generated from cart rentals. Yes, carts bring in revenue, but the turf, cart path and golf cart maintenance costs erode that revenue to a point where it would be advantageous for courses to rent motorized push carts.
Electronic push carts are cheaper to purchase and maintain than motorized carts which is great for the golf course, while also providing the walking golfer with a means of walking eighteen without having to carry his or her bag.
Being a walking golfer is much better for the golfer, the golf course, the bottom line and the environment and personally, I believe that golf courses have a huge opportunity in front of them to benefit from a movement towards walking only golf. What do you think?

Other Health Facts:

  • A walked 18-hole round, carrying a bag or using a hand/pull cart, is approximately equal to a 5-mile walk.
  • Regardless of handicap, gender, or course played, golfers exceed 10,000 steps during a typical round of golf – which meets the guidelines for exercise recommended by most medical and clinical physicians.
  • The total caloric expenditure for an 18-hole round is approximately 2,000 calories for walking while carrying clubs and 1,300 calories when riding in a cart.
  • Since walking is bio-mechanically more efficient than running, playing an 18-hole round of golf walking is roughly equivalent to a 3.5 to 4-mile run.
  • When walking 18-holes of golf, blood glucose levels fall by up to 20-percent for the young, 10-percent for the middle-aged, and 30-percent for elderly players and body weight is slightly reduced for all groups.
  • Repeated golf practice enhances balance control and confidence among all age ranges.
  • Older golfers tend to have better static and dynamic balance control and confidence than non-golfing older, healthy adults.