Every golfer out there has asked the question…should I walk or should I use a cart?
Some golfers swear by walking while others can’t imagine walking 18 holes, even with a push cart and others don’t have a preference.
So should you take a cart or opt for some exercise while playing golf?
The answer, of course, is that there isn’t one stock answer. It really depends on your health, your skill level, your goals, and the course you’re playing.
Keep reading to learn about the benefits of walking instead of riding so you can find the right option for your round of golf.
If you think back to the history of golf, carts are a more recent part of the game. When the game was invented centuries ago, walking was the only solution.
But now that courses are longer and more challenging than ever, carts oftentimes make sense. That being said, not everyone’s body is up for the task. Here’s why…
According to Live Healthy, walking a regulation size course between 6,000 to 7,000 yards is a distance between 3-6 miles. Don’t forget to consider the slope of the course as that has a huge impact on the difficulty level. If you’re walking up and down hills all day, you’re going to much more winded than an open, flaying layout.
Plus, if you’re walking, don’t forget to think about pushing your cart vs. carrying the bag on your back. If you’re in healthy shape and don’t have any back issues, carrying is an option. But if you’re not exercising frequently or your back tends to tighten up on the back nine, opt for the push cart.
It shouldn’t take much longer to walk instead of using a cart for 18 holes. In fact, if you’re playing Winter golf, it might actually make for a faster round. Winter Rules generally mean cart path only which takes a lot of time going back and forth from your ball to the cart.
But if you’re walking, you can take a straight path directly to your golf ball. Plus, you will probably play better as you will always have the right club and won’t have to hustle back and forth.
Pushcarts are a great way to get the most benefits of walking without having to haul the bag on your back. If you decide to walk and don’t want the hassle of carrying your bag, make sure to check out the best push carts to find one for your game and budget.
There are tons of reasons why you should skip the cart and enjoy the game how it was originally intended. Here are some of the biggest benefits of walking:
As I mentioned above, walking a 6,000 – 7,000 yard golf course isn’t a walk in the park. Walking 3-6 miles, maybe with some slopes, is great exercise. According to a Harvard Health article, “A golfer may walk four miles and burn 800-900 calories during an average round with help from swinging clubs.”
I’m glad that Harvard also mentioned that swinging a club itself also burns calories. Burning nearly 1000 calories is a great way to lose weight and stay healthy. Of course, you might offset those calories if you end up spending extra time in the 19th hole.
Regardless, walking a round of golf is an awesome way to exercise and to help you keep the weight off. Plus, it’s a form of exercise that is more enjoyable than most!
Cart fees aren’t cheap anymore! Some clubs charge between $15 – $30 per cart fee for the round.
If you’re riding two-four times per week, that can really make golf expensive. With all the other golf gadgets out there, simply opting to walk instead of ride could help you afford a new rangefinder or launch monitor!
Remember, you can always choose to walk nine when you’re feeling fresh and use a cart for the back nine. This will save you money and help you burn an extra 400 or so calories!
If you’re playing in the winter or in rainy weather, the majority of courses won’t let you drive on the course. When this happens, you have to go back and forth to your golf ball from the cart each hole. Sometimes you might get the wrong distance or take the wrong clubs.
When this happens, you have to decide if you should go back to the cart or just wing it. Oftentimes, that leads to a shot you’re not comfortable with or simply can’t get to the green.
Walking will ensure you always have the right clubs and probably help you shoot lower.
Pace of play is a big issue that is plaguing the game. If you’re riding in a cart all the time, you might move faster than the group ahead of you making you wait a lot between each shot.
If you get to your golf ball and have to wait every time for a few minutes, it’s hard to stay loose. Your back might tighten up while riding in the cart and make it difficult to get the full shoulder turn later in the round.
Walking will help you stay loose and also give you the chance to stretch more in between shots.
Similar to staying loose, another one of the benefits of walking is that you can stay in rhythm and maintain your tempo. If you have to wait 1-3 minutes (or more) every time you want to hit a shot, it’s hard to stay focused. It’s easy to let your mind wander between shots and not stick to your pre-shot routine.
But if you’re walking, you can stay loose and hopefully keep your rhythm going from shot to shot. As I’ve written, before, a steady rhythm helps to make you more consistent. Plus, if things aren’t going well in your round, walking allows you have some quiet time alone to breathe and reset before your next shot.
If you’re riding in carts, it’s not always easy to interact with the rest of your group. It’s a lot more fun when everyone in your group is walking as you’ll have more time to socialize and interact between shots. This is even more important if you are playing golf with your spouse or significant other as it adds to the experience for them as well.
Golf was never intended to have carts. While there are a lot of benefits to them, sometimes you can’t always enjoy the full experience when riding. Walking your next round can help you enjoy the views and really soak in the full experience.
If you’re golfing somewhere with awesome views, I always recommend walking. If you are traveling to play golf and it’s a bucket list type of course like Pebble Beach or Bandon Dunes, pay the extra money for a caddy. Not only will it make for a more enjoyable experience but you will also probably benefit from their local knowledge.
As you can tell, there are tons of benefits to walking vs. taking a cart during your next round. While carts do have their time and place, try to make walking a more frequent adventure.
If you don’t have time to hit the pavement each morning or make it to the gym, don’t forget that walking 18 holes can help you burn nearly 1,000 calories! Plus, it usually makes for a better experience as you can enjoy the course and your playing partners as well.
To get started, make sure you find one of the best push carts or find a great stand bag that is light and easy to carry. You could even go with a Sunday Bag if you didn’t think you needed a full 14 clubs. Also make sure you have a good pair of golf shoes. If you’ve never walked before, I recommend starting with nine holes, even if you are in shape.
Carrying or pushing, paired with swinging, can make it a hard day on your body. Make sure to stretch and stay loose throughout the round. Now get out there and enjoy your next round of golf the way it was supposed to be played.