How Many Calories Does A Round Of Golf Burn?

Golf can be an excellent way of keeping reasonably fit. After all, a round of golf is reckoned to be far better than many gym sessions

Gary Player in gym on treadmill - How Many Calories Does A Round Of Golf Burn?
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How Many Calories Does A Round Of Golf Burn?

How many calories does a round of golf burn is a question many golfers may want the answer to. Golf is after all a physical exercise and one which, to many eyes, is a darn sight more enjoyable than a gym session. Moreover it can be done, if you are lucky, while enjoying good company, attractive views, fresh air and with the thrill of competition.

Well the good news is that a round of golf is reckoned to be far better than even a rigorous hour-long gym session. A quick internet search tells you things such as: “A vigorous workout will burn between 360 and 530 calories per hour.”

Well, if you walk the course, rather than tootle about the place in a cart, then a round of golf will burn probably somewhere in the order of 1,400 or 1,500 calories. That equates to three hours of gym work based on the stats quoted in the previous paragraph.

Playing more spaced out, hillier course will obviously burn more calories than compact flatter ones. The good news for some, is that the fatter you are the more calories you will burn during your round. Also the worse you play, the better is it for your health. No, really. More shots played, you see, more zig-zagging down the fairway, more pacing up and down the rough hunting for your ball more scrambling in and out of bunkers etc.

But, surprisingly, what does not make much of a difference to the calorie count is whether you carry your clubs, or pull your bag on a trolley. Carrying your bag burns a few more calories — but it is literally only a few.

Neil Wolkodoff, director of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, conducted a study to answer the question of how many calories does a round of golf burn? He did so at Inverness Golf Club in Denver, USA. He conducted an experiment with eight male golfers, aged 26 to 61 with handicaps between 2 and 17.

Over nine holes he found that these golfers burned an average of 721 calories carrying a bag, and 718 when using a trolley.

To put all this calorie burning in context: a standard glass (175ml) of 12% wine contains 126 calories and a pint of 5% strength beer has 215 calories. This means after a healthy walk around 18 holes you can have a long sit down with a drink or two in the 19th hole and still end up well in credit on the calories front.

Er, it does work like that doesn’t it?

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he was contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.