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How far do you walk on the golf course?

Find out how far you can expect to walk on a golf course with this in-depth article.

02 December 2022 Words by Matthew 4 minute read How far do you walk on the golf course?

Table of Contents

  1. How far do you really walk when playing golf?
  2. Why does the distance walked matter?
  3. How to track how far you walk playing golf?
  4. The benefits of playing golf aren't just physical
  5. FAQs
  6. Final thoughts

Mark Twain famously claimed, "Golf is a good walk spoiled."

And while there aren't many amateur golfers that would tend to agree with the late American wordsmith, it highlights golf as a rather brilliant way to keep fit, thanks to the vast amount of ground a player will cover.

But just how far does the average golfer walk when playing an 18-hole round of golf?

This blog post will address precisely that, as well as the numerous benefits of the game and why you should get out on the course as much as you can.

How far do you really walk when playing golf?

Simply put, the answer is, it depends.

Each course is different and utilises its areas of land differently, but one thing is for certain, regardless of the course you play at: once you tee off, the real walking begins. (The hop from the car to the green doesn't count!).

And, if you are constantly that your actual golf swing is the culprit, where you continually have to go looking to find lost balls, you might want to concentrate on honing your game in order to save your legs. However, you will doubtless burn extra calories, so it isn't all bad.

However, the average golfer will cover over 5 miles during an 18-hole round, which can equate to 2,000+ calories burned for the average male. While the average golfer covered this amount, it differs between golfers.

Why does the distance walked matter?

The more distance you walk in a day, the healthier and happier you will look and feel. In fact, the physical benefits of playing golf are plentiful. Let's discuss some of them:

Heart health

Just about any form of physical exercise will get the blood pumping and your heart working that little bit extra. Doing so can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, calms harmful cholesterol and lowers the risk of diabetes and a stroke. It's not just walking, however, that can help your heart; carrying your bag and swinging golf clubs both contribute to this positively as well. On average, a golfer's heart rate will increase to 100 beats per minute over a 2 to 5-hour period of hitting balls.

Weight loss

Ditching the golf carts and becoming a walking golfer can also have noticeable health benefits when it comes to losing weight. While the magic number of steps per day for weight loss is 10,000, many golfers will find that they will exceed this during an 18-hole round.

Live longer

Some studies have found that golfers have up to a 40% lower death rate compared to non-golfers. This equates to an extra 5 years of life expectancy.

Healthy brain

Being physically active keeps your brain active, alert and happy. When you play a game of golf, the physicality of the game ensures your brain gets a good blood supply which is vital to help it function well, both now and in later life.

How to track how far you walk playing golf?

There are 3 main methods you can use to track just how many metres, steps or miles you've walked over the course of a game of golf. Let's talk about them in some more detail:

Fitness tracker

A fitness tracker is one of the most popular ways to see how many steps you have walked across the golf course. These are wearable devices that attach to your wrist, which will tell you in varying detail the distance and steps you've taken throughout a period of time. These metrics are perfect for keeping an eye on your game as well as the distances you have walked. Some trackers like FitBit and Apple Watch have a special Golf Mode which you can enable that can tell you how many calories you've burned, as well as your heart rate throughout the game.

Phone app

If you don't want to spend money on an expensive tracker, there are lots of mobile phone apps that will record the distances walked on the course during a round of golf. Some will provide maps of the area you have covered, and many will also show you your speed, too.

Classic pedometer

The best old-school method of tracking your steps walked is a pedometer. Not only are these cheap, but they are gimmick-free, simply telling you how many steps you have taken when you are wearing them. The major downside to using a pedometer, however, is it's tricky to calculate just how far you have walked as the device will provide you with the number of steps you have walked only. Those that have shorter legs may cover the exact same distance as those with longer legs, yet they'll take more steps, so it's not as straightforward a method to measure distance as an app or tracker.

The benefits of playing golf aren't just physical

Reduces stress and anxiety

Breathing in the fresh air, socialising with friends and having the additional mental stimulation of a game of golf release endorphins. These endorphins are the natural mood-enhancing chemicals in your brain which make you feel happy, contented and chilled out.

Offers social interaction

In our increasingly busy lives, it can be difficult to find the time to socialise with our family and friends. Setting aside just a few hours a week for an afternoon of golfing with your buddies means you can catch up with their news, relax in good company and even get a bit of friendly rivalry going on.

Reduces depression

No one can deny it's been a difficult few years for the world at large, and with that, sadly, has come a surge of people in the UK who are experiencing depression. One great way to take care of your mental health is to get outdoors and get some exercise. While golfing can be stressful if you are competing with other golfers to get the best score, getting outside can do wonders for your mental health.

Promotes better sleep

What's worse than a busy day, only to find when you crawl into bed that you can't sleep? It's an all-too-common occurrence for many of us. But, thankfully, fresh air coupled with some cardio proves a powerful combo in helping you drift off into Dreamland. While walking the course will give you a quality workout, doing it regularly will allow you to fall asleep faster and, just as important, remain in that sleep state for longer.


Private courses don't allow walking, so how can I stay fit when golfing?

While not every private course prohibits walking, they are many that prefer you to use a golf buggy. If you want to keep fit while golfing, you could switch it up and occasionally visit another golf club that allows you to travel the distance of the course on foot. But, if you are a serious walking enthusiast, you may want to find another course to play your morning round.


Does the putting green or practice tee count as proper exercise?

Yes! Anything that adds extra distance and steps to your day is an added bonus to the 5+ miles you'll walk on the course. Even making a few extra practice swings in the tee box will provide you with extra calorie burning. It all counts.


Is golf a good form of exercise for recovering from an injury?

Depending on what type of injury you are recovering from, golf can be the ideal rehabilitation. Golf is perfect for working the buttocks, ab muscles and lower back. It will allow you to improve your core balance while gifting you increased strength, flexibility and mobility. Just don't go play a round if you have a fresh shoulder injury!


How many times a week should I play golf in order to reap the most physical and mental benefits?

The more time you can spend on the course, the better for your mental and physical health. However, even just one game a week will help make a difference to your body and mind. When you aren't on the course, simple things like walking to work or cycling can help to keep you active and mentally alert, as well as little adjustments, such as taking the stairs instead of the convenience of the lift.

Final thoughts

As we have seen, playing golf has multiple perks and advantages, with the walking involved being responsible for many of the physical and mental benefits that so many golfers love. So, why not grab a few playing partners and find out your average on-course total distance walked? And for all your golf-related attire and accessories, check out the Glenmuir website so you can keep fit while looking stylish on the course every time.