June 7, 2023

Walking the course is a surprisingly high-impact way to burn calories.

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I’m not proud of it, but I’ve started and stopped more exercise regimens than I can count.

The gym is just not my jam. I don’t look forward to going, and always yearn for the end of whatever workout I engage in the literal second I begin.

Walking, though — walking is … palatable.

This past spring, I challenged my happily-sedentary self to do 30 minutes of exercise for 40 days. Walking was my choice 85 percent of the time, with the occasional Peloton session mixed in (another activity I loathe).

Surprisingly, I found my daily walks to be downright enjoyable, and decided to make them an ongoing routine.

If you’re walking more than 18 holes, you need this golf shoe


Emily Haas

Another related personal revelation from this past year was when I discovered I loved walking the course with a push cart. As a former cart-only golfer, I was shocked at how easy it was and how good it felt to stride the fairways.

In short: walking is awesome, and walking while playing golf is doubly so. According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of walking are many: it can prevent or manage conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure, strengthen your bones, muscles and immune system, and reduce stress and tension.

As a fitness endeavor, walking 18 holes of golf also burns a shocking number of calories. According to a study cited by The New York Times in 2010, walking while carrying or using a push-cart burns a whopping 1,400 calories over 18 holes. That’s the approximate equivalent of two hours of swimming or pedaling a stationary bike.

The number of calories you burn depends on a few factors, including your weight and the course you’re playing. Some courses boast a five-mile loop while others max out at seven or eight miles from the tips. Flat walking versus incline walking also has a significant impact, so a hilly course will net you even more calories.

A general rule of thumb: walking one mile will burn around 100 calories for most people. The bottom line? There’s no downside to walking when it comes to your overall health. Just try to avoid having too many beers and hot dogs at the turn.

jessica marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.

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