How Many Calories Do You Burn Playing Golf?

How many calories do you burn playing golf?How many calories do you burn playing golf?

It is hard to say, because the number of calories burned playing golf depends upon body weight, whether you’re riding or walking, carrying clubs or pulling a cart. If you’re walking, your pace is a factor.

Depending upon the course, a walk can cover between three and eight miles. Consider: a 6,800 yard course is 3.5 miles from tee to green. Factor in distances from green to the next tee, and the fact that you are not likely to be playing straight down the middle.

Various “fitness experts” have estimated walkers burn around 1,500 calories per round. Riders, the same experts say, may burn as many as 800. A University of Edinburgh study found that golfers usually burn at least 500 calories over 18 holes. Walkers, in their study, tread four to eight miles.

walkign gpsMy own fitness trackers tell an uncertain story. One that I have used in the past indicated that I’m burning between around 550 – 600 calories on my 18 hole rounds. Based just on the one snapshot in the image to the left, that works out to 126 calories per mile of golf walked.

My current tracker, a Microsoft Band 2, seems to indicate twice as many calories burned per mile. It gives consistently higher numbers than my previous device. The math on the screen capture for my Microsoft Band says that I’m burning 240 calories per mile. That course, however, is much more rugged than the first.

One thing seems clear, though: Playing golf can extend your life. From the University of Edinburgh:

We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits, and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.  Evidence suggests golfers live longer than non-golfers, enjoying improvements in cholesterol levels, body composition, wellness, self-esteem and self-worth. Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages.

Dr Andrew MurrayLead researcher – Golf & Health Project, Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh


9 thoughts on “How Many Calories Do You Burn Playing Golf?”

  1. Hmmm…I wonder if the “calories burned” figures include the calories one would use through normal bodily activities (breathing, heart beating, etc…) or if the figure is a net amount that represents the difference between an active golfer and a person involved in no physical activity?  Walking & carrying 18 is fairly demanding but it is hard to imagine the net caloric burn is 1,500 calories.  If it is that high, I should not be suffering from Dunlap’s Disease (when one’s stomach dun laps over one’s belt).

  2. I have heard multiple places that 18 hole round carrying is north of 1500 calories.  I think that walking with a cart is north of 1200 calories. 

    The biggest problem for me is trying to avoid making up for it in one meal, when I walk & carry 18 I am ravenous.

  3. Swinging the club would be some factor, but the other big factor between walking 6.2 miles and walking 6.2 miles while playing golf is –
    walking 6.2 miles probably takes about 90 minutes at 4 mph. 

    If you are playing golf for that 6.2 miles, you are also standing for an additional 1 hour to 2.5 hours.  You are engaging muscles during standing and especially swinging – your heartrate does increase in anger and/or excitement more than it does in walking. 

    One of our courses clocks in at right about 6.2 miles as well – that is the one with some slopes.  The flat course is the one with multiple neighborhoods and street crossings, and it probably is right around 8 miles.  The only signifcant hill to speak of was the slope up to the 18th green.  That is a killer!  A friend named the last 3 holes, a very long walk with LONG green to tee walks – he named it Heartbreak Ridge.  I renamed it Coronary Bypass.

  4. Thankfully, they have swapped back and front on that course.  Having the long portion and that hill on the front makes the course much more enjoyable when walking.

  5. The 2:20 round was by myself with a couple holes where I had to wait before I could play through another group.  If I wasn’t held up I would probably play in 1:45 on that course.  It isn’t speed golf (as that game is defined) – I don’t pull flags for the first putt if I am more than about 5 yards away, that is the only true time saver.


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