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How Many Calories Do You Burn Playing Golf? A Comprehensive Guide

How Many Calories Do You Burn Playing Golf - golf course aerial image

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Golf is often seen as a leisurely sport, but it actually provides a good amount of physical exercise. Many golfers wonder how many calories they burn while playing a round. Understanding the caloric expenditure of golf can help players appreciate the fitness benefits of this enjoyable activity. In this detailed blog post, we will explore how many calories you burn playing golf, the factors that influence this number, and how to maximize the health benefits of your game.

Factors Influencing Caloric Burn in Golf

Several factors affect how many calories you burn while playing golf. These include:

  • Mode of Transportation: Walking the course versus using a golf cart
  • Course Terrain: Hilly versus flat courses
  • Carrying Clubs: Carrying your own clubs versus using a caddy or cart
  • Pace of Play: Speed at which you play

Each of these factors can significantly impact the number of calories burned during a round of golf.

Calories Burned Walking the Golf Course

Walking an 18-hole golf course is an excellent way to burn calories. On average, a golfer walks approximately 5-6 miles during a round, depending on the course layout. According to the Harvard Health Publishing, a person weighing 155 pounds burns about 350 calories per hour walking at a moderate pace. Since a typical round of golf lasts around 4 hours, you can expect to burn roughly 1,400 calories if you walk the entire course.

Walking with a Golf Bag

If you carry your golf bag, the calorie burn increases. Carrying a bag adds resistance and works additional muscle groups, particularly in the upper body and core. This can increase your caloric expenditure by 20-30%, leading to a total burn of approximately 1,700-1,800 calories per round.

Calories Burned Using a Golf Cart

Using a golf cart significantly reduces the amount of walking, and thus, the calories burned. However, you still get some exercise, especially when walking to and from the cart and around the greens. A person weighing 155 pounds burns about 150 calories per hour using a golf cart, resulting in a total of around 600 calories burned during a 4-hour round.

Impact of Course Terrain

The terrain of the golf course also plays a role in caloric burn. Hilly courses require more effort and energy, as you engage more muscles and increase your heart rate when walking uphill. This can boost your caloric expenditure by 10-20% compared to a flat course. For a person walking a hilly course, this could mean burning an additional 140-280 calories per round.

Caloric Burn for Different Weights

The number of calories burned while playing golf varies with body weight. Here’s a breakdown for different weights:

  • 125 pounds: Walking – 1,100 calories; With a cart – 480 calories
  • 155 pounds: Walking – 1,400 calories; With a cart – 600 calories
  • 185 pounds: Walking – 1,700 calories; With a cart – 720 calories

Heavier individuals burn more calories due to the increased effort required to move their body weight.

Maximizing Health Benefits While Playing Golf

To maximize the health benefits of playing golf, consider the following tips:

  • Walk the Course: Whenever possible, choose to walk instead of using a cart. This significantly increases your physical activity and calorie burn.
  • Carry Your Clubs: If you’re physically able, carry your own clubs to add resistance and work additional muscle groups.
  • Play Hilly Courses: Opt for hilly courses when available, as they increase the intensity of your workout.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and maintain energy levels throughout your round.
  • Warm-Up: Perform a proper warm-up routine before playing to prevent injuries and improve your performance.

Additional Health Benefits of Playing Golf

Beyond burning calories, playing golf offers several other health benefits:

  • Improved Cardiovascular Health: Walking the course and swinging the clubs provides a good cardiovascular workout, helping to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Enhanced Mental Well-Being: Golf is known for its stress-relieving properties. The combination of physical activity, social interaction, and being outdoors can improve mental health and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Increased Strength and Flexibility: Regularly playing golf helps to build strength in the core, legs, and upper body, while also improving flexibility and balance.


Golf is more than just a leisurely sport; it offers substantial physical and mental health benefits. By walking the course, carrying your clubs, and choosing hilly terrain, you can maximize the number of calories burned while playing. Remember to stay hydrated and warm up properly to get the most out of your game. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting, understanding the caloric expenditure of golf can help you appreciate the fitness benefits and motivate you to play more often.

If you enjoyed this post, we’re sure you’ll also find our other articles interesting. Check out our starter set of golf clubs guide and discover everything you need to know about it.

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