Study Says Walking Hurts Your Golf Game

A new study says that walking a course can add strokes to your golf score:

When walking 18 holes, a golfer’s swing and mechanics change for the worse, causing the player to hit the ball with less distance and accuracy, according to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, May 28-31, in Indianapolis.

Researchers studied seven recreational golfers, who typically average a score between 80 and 95, who walked while carrying a weighted golf bag during a simulated golf game. The one female and six male golfers walked 6 miles in total in 1-mile increments. Before the first mile, and after each subsequent mile, each player hit 20 tee shots, totaling 140 tee shots for the round.

Clearly, it’s a flawed study. Their “simulated golf game” has no basis in reality. No one walks a mile between shots. And no one hits twenty tee shots at a time during a round (ok. I’ve been known to hit a dozen tee shots on a practice round when no one is behind me—but other than that).

Walking golf consists of hitting a shot, and walking three hundred yards at most to the next shot. There, you pause, study the shot, take a couple of practice swings and then take another swing.

On any moderately busy course, you’ll also have time to sit on a bench to allow the people in front of you to clear out.

I’ll also note that—in my case at least—walking actually reduces my score. Walking makes me focus in a way that carts don’t.  Walking gives me a more accurate sense of distance and course conditions.

And I honestly believe that I get stronger as the round wears on. I will hit longer, straighter shots at the end than I do at the beginning. My longest tee shots invariably occur on the last five or six holes.

The author of the study, Nick Higdon, leaves the reader with a bit of stupefyingly obvious advice: “Getting in better shape may help golfers combat the effects of fatigue while playing golf.”


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