Calories Burned in Golf: How to Maximize Your Caloric Expenditure on the Course

Colin McCarthy

calories burned in golf

Ever wondered how many calories you burn while enjoying a round of golf? You might be surprised to learn that golf is not just a strategic game but also a highly physical one.

On average, you can burn between 350 to 475 calories per hour playing golf. The number of calories burned varies based on your weight and the intensity of your activity.

Factors like walking the course, carrying your clubs, and even swinging the club contribute significantly to calorie burn.

For instance, a 200-pound person walking and pulling their clubs can burn around 515 calories per hour, while a 150-pound person using a golf cart will burn about 251 calories per hour.

Even at the driving range, you could burn between 200 to 300 calories per hour. So, next time you hit the greens, remember you’re not just sharpening your game you’re also getting a solid workout.

Factors Influencing Calories Burned in Golf

Several factors influence the number of calories burned while playing golf:

Carrying vs. Using a Cart

Carrying your golf bag results in more calories burned compared to using a cart. Walking nine holes while carrying a bag burns roughly 721 calories, whereas pushing a cart burns about 718 calories.

Using a golf cart significantly reduces this figure, with an average burn of only 411 calories for nine holes. Overall, the mode of transportation and activity level during your game greatly impacts the total calories burned.

Factors such as your weight, speed, and the terrain of the course can further influence these numbers.

Course Topography

The terrain of the golf course impacts the number of calories expended. Courses with more hills demand more energy, leading to increased calorie burn.

For example, playing on a course with steep inclines can require significantly more effort than a flat course, resulting in higher calorie consumption.

Additionally, the type of walking involved, such as carrying your clubs versus using a golf cart, also plays a significant role in the number of calories burned. Walking a full 18 holes carries the potential for a much more rigorous workout.

Player’s Body Weight

Your body weight is a crucial determinant in the number of calories you burn while golfing. Heavier individuals tend to burn more calories.

A 155-pound golfer walking at 4.5 mph burns approximately 370 calories per hour, while a 185-pound golfer burns around 445 calories in the same timeframe.

Additionally, carrying your clubs can significantly increase calorie expenditure. For instance, a 155-pound golfer carrying clubs may burn around 470 calories per hour, compared to 370 calories without carrying.

Riding a Golf Cart

If you choose to ride in a golf cart, your calorie burn reduces drastically. While it’s still a form of exercise, you’ll burn fewer calories compared to walking.

Estimates indicate that riding a cart for nine holes burns around 411 to 700 calories, depending on additional movements and terrain of the course.

On the other hand, walking the course can significantly increase your calorie burn. Walking nine holes can burn approximately 1,400 to 1,700 calories, offering a more substantial workout.

Walking While Carrying Your Bag

Walking while carrying your bag maximizes the number of calories burned. This exercise helps you burn around 721 calories for nine holes.

The physical effort of carrying the bag and navigating the course increases total energy expenditure, making it a more intense workout.

Additionally, walking the course enhances cardiovascular health and muscle strength. Using a pushcart can still burn a significant amount of calories, though slightly less. Overall, incorporating intervals of walking boosts fitness.

Topography of the Course

The topography, including the course layout and elevation changes, significantly affects calorie burn. Golfers on hilly courses burn more calories due to the added effort required to walk uphill and downhill.

Conversely, flatter courses may result in fewer calories burned. This factor, combined with walking, contributes to a substantial increase in overall calorie expenditure.

Furthermore, carrying a golf bag instead of using a cart can considerably boost the number of calories burned. This added physical exertion enhances cardiovascular activity, leading to greater overall fitness benefits.

Comparison of Caloric Burn: 9 Holes vs 18 Holes

The caloric burn during a round of golf can vary depending on factors like walking versus riding in a golf cart, the intensity of play, and individual factors such as weight and fitness level.

Here’s a general comparison of the caloric burn for playing 9 holes versus 18 holes:

9 Holes with Various Modes of Play

Caloric burn in golf can vary significantly based on how you choose to play. Walking nine holes while carrying your bag burns the most calories, with an average of 721 calories.

If you push a cart instead, you will burn approximately 718 calories. Using a golf cart reduces calorie expenditure significantly, with a burn of around 400 calories.

Environmental factors, like the course’s topography, can also impact how many calories you burn. Hilly courses and longer distances between holes increase energy expenditure compared to flat courses.

18 Holes with Various Modes of Play

Doubling your play to 18 holes essentially doubles the calories burned. Walking all 18 holes and carrying your bag can result in a burn ranging from 1,442 to 1,800 calories.

If you use a pushcart for all 18 holes, expect a similar caloric expenditure of approximately 1,436 to 1,796 calories. Opting for a golf cart substantially lowers the calorie burn to between 800 and 1,300 calories, depending on specific factors like course layout.

Engaging with longer and more challenging courses further boosts the calories you burn due to the added physical effort required.

Burning calories while playing golf is influenced by choices related to carrying clubs, pushing or using a cart, and the terrain of the golf course. Understanding this allows for better planning of your golfing activities to optimize your fitness goals.

Practical Tips to Maximize Caloric Burn While Golfing

To maximize caloric burn while golfing, consider these practical tips:

Choosing the Right Equipment

Selecting the right gear can significantly impact calorie burn during a golf game. Opt for carrying your golf bag instead of relying on a cart. Carrying a bag can help you maximize energy expenditure and improve overall fitness.

A lightweight, well-fitted bag can make this easier while minimizing strain. Use comfortable golf shoes designed for walking. Proper footwear can enhance your walking distance without causing discomfort, leading to higher caloric burn.

Choose clubs that suit your strength and style. Using the appropriate clubs can ensure you’re engaging your muscles effectively in each swing, contributing to overall calorie expenditure.

Pre-Game and Post-Game Activities

Engage in a brief warm-up before teeing off to prepare your muscles and increase your heart rate. Stretching key muscle groups like your back, shoulders, and legs can prevent injury and enhance performance.

A dynamic warm-up, such as light jogging or jumping jacks, can also kickstart your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout your game.

Cool down with a series of stretches and a short walk after completing your round. A proper cool-down helps your body recover and can ease muscle tension.

Consider adding a strength training routine focusing on core, legs, and arms to your regular fitness regimen. Building muscle strength can enhance your golf performance and increase your resting metabolic rate, leading to higher calorie burn even at rest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does carrying clubs burn more calories than using a cart?

Yes, carrying clubs significantly increases calorie burn. Walking and carrying a bag engage more muscles and require more effort compared to using a cart.

How does the choice of golf bag affect calorie expenditure?

Choosing to carry a golf bag instead of using a cart requires more physical effort, thus increasing your calorie expenditure during a game.

Why is selecting proper golf gear important?

Proper golf gear, such as well-fitted shoes and suitable clubs, ensures better engagement of muscles which can lead to higher calorie burn and improved performance.

Are there health benefits to playing golf apart from calorie burn?

Yes, playing golf regularly can improve muscle tone, endurance, and overall fitness, while also helping to lose weight and reduce body fat.


Playing golf offers more than just a leisurely pastime; it provides a substantial workout that can significantly contribute to your fitness goals.

By making mindful choices like walking the course, carrying your clubs, and incorporating proper warm-ups and post-game activities, you can maximize the calorie-burning potential of your game.

Implementing these strategies not only enhances your performance but also boosts your overall caloric expenditure.

So, the next time you hit the links, remember that every step and swing brings you closer to a healthier lifestyle. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, understanding the physical benefits can motivate you to embrace the game with renewed vigor.

Keep track of your progress and set personal goals to stay committed and enjoy the dual benefits of fun and fitness.

Photo of author

Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

Leave a Comment