How far do you walk during a round of golf? Well, to a degree, it’s a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ scenario as there are so many factors at play, starting with, of course, the total length of the course.
Clearly a 7,000-yard course is automatically going to entail walking at least a mile further than a 5,300-yarder, but beyond that…
- How long are the walks from greens to tees?
- How direct is your route up to the hole or is there a bit of military golf involved? Left, right, left, right…
- How well are you playing and how much ‘off-piste’ wandering about is there looking for your ball or the balls of others?
- How much wandering about do you do on and around the greens eyeing up putts, checking out the lie of the land, and then walking back to your bag/trolley?
All these factors will have a big bearing, but is it possible to come up with some sort of ball-park figure? Back in 2018, Golf Monthly attended the European Institute of Golf Course Architects conference, which included a round on the highly regarded Royal County Down Championship links, a regular Top-10 performer in our Top 100 course rankings.
Having been greeted on the 1st tee by The R&A’s Director of Research and Testing, Dr Steve Otto, the experiment being conducted was to see how far golfers walked during their round over the fabled Championship links. How would they do this? By using tracking devices which were handed out to each player.
The playing length alone of the course was around 6,800 yards, approximately 3.9 miles. That is just the length of the course though, with the layout including a reasonable degree of walking between certain holes. The results at Royal County Down made for interesting reading…
Check out the results in the list below.
- The average distance walked was 6.6 miles, or a distance 69% greater than the scorecard yardage alone.
- The shortest distance walked was 5.7 miles, or a distance 47% greater than the scorecard yardage alone.
- The longest distance walked was 7.8 miles, or precisely double the scorecard’s yardage!
Obviously, this was just a one-off test and, as already mentioned, there are many variables at play, but next time you head off for a round pondering the health benefits of your walk, don’t underestimate how far you will be walking.
If the Royal County Down experiment is typical, you need to add somewhere between 47% and 100% to the scorecard’s yardage to guestimate how far you might be walking that day!
Not only that, but if you are carrying a set of clubs then that will likely reduce the distance you walk since you can go where trolleys may not be allowed. However, carrying does put more strain on your body than using a trolley.
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Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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