Walking the golf course burns almost twice the calories as riding. Walking is a fundamental to any good exercise program. The Center for Sports Sciences in Denver, Colorado found that walking 9 holes on a hilly course is equivalent to walking 2.5 miles compared to a half mile of riding in a golf cart. Also, golfers who play 36 holes a week burn an additional 3,000 calories compared to those who ride. In another study, cardiologist Dr. Edward Palank found that walking golfers reduced their levels of bad cholesterol while keeping good cholesterol steady while the control group of riding golfers failed to produce these results. The fact that walking golfers can spend more time breathing in fresh air, sunshine & beautiful scenery are all benefits or both our physical and emotional health.
When golf carts were first introduced to the game, golf courses were firmer (hardpan) and the grass used was not as susceptible to wear and tear and disease as the grasses of today. This is why many golf courses will post signs after it has rained for riders to use the 90 degree rule or even stricter policies to keep the golf cart on the cart paths at all times no matter what the weather. According to the walking golfer website “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.” See www.walkinggolfer.com for additional information.
Our minds have a fantastic ability to record, store and retrieve information that is useful to us. Golfers who zoom along a cart path miss many of the nuances of the golf course. When we walk the fairway we can feel the course under our feet, we experience slopes and take in snapshots of future landing locations to improve our score. Walking allows us to stay in our zone, immersed in the game we love.
Golf Carts were intended to improve the speed of play, but have had the opposite effect. One of the major complaints about the game is that it takes too long. Imagine the time saved when you can walk directly to your ball and plan your next shot vs. riding in a cart having to go across the fairway with your playing partner as they search for their golf ball, take their shot, return the club to their bag, ALL before you are on the way to your ball.
If you have not walked the golf course in a while, give it a try. You might begin by alternating walking the holes with your playing partner to get used to walking again. Once you build your stamina to walk the course, you just might find what golfers throughout the ages have known all along: Golf is a game between you and the course, a relationship like none other. Walking will enhance your enjoyment of the great game of golf, improve & maintain your health and help maintain the golf course.
The PGA, in partnership with HSS (Hospital for Special Surgery), in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, has launched a website dedicated to tracing your steps while playing golf. Go to hss.edu/golf and create your personalized walking account. The goal of the “Let’s Move on Course” is to demonstrate that you can improve your health while doing something you love, enjoying the great game of golf!