How Far Do You Walk In A Round Of Golf?

Looking at the course yardage, you’d probably guess about 3 or 4 miles. However, an R&A ‘experiment’ suggests it can be much, much more than that…

How Far Do You Walk In A Round Of Golf
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

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?


Royal County Down

Royal County Down - just under 4 miles on the card, but how long in reality?

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.

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.