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Can You Get Fit Playing Golf?

Golf is a great way to get fit. Walking the course, strength training, and flexibility exercises can help you improve your cardiovascular health, strength, and range of motion.
Girl Golfing and Walking with Bag Cart

Golf, often regarded as a leisurely pastime for those looking to unwind on a beautiful course, may not be the first sport that comes to mind when you think of getting fit. However, the idea of getting fit while playing golf is gaining traction among health-conscious individuals. Golf can be a great way to get fit, providing a full-body workout that can improve your cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility.

How Can Golf Help You Get Fit?

There are many ways that golf can help you get fit. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Cardiovascular health: Walking an 18-hole golf course can burn up to 1,500 calories, depending on your pace and the terrain. This can help to improve your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. This calorie burn is comparable to other physical activities like cycling or swimming, making golf a viable option for those looking to shed some extra pounds.
  • Strength: Golf requires a variety of muscle groups, including your core, back, shoulders, arms, and legs. To hit the ball well, you need to be able to generate power and control. Strength training can help you build the muscle you need to improve your golf game. But remember that swinging hard does not necessarily make you hit the ball further!
  • Flexibility: Golf also requires a good range of motion in your hips, shoulders, and back. Flexibility exercises can help you improve your range of motion and prevent injuries.
  • Balance and coordination: Golf requires good balance and coordination to hit the ball accurately. Balance exercises can help you improve your balance and coordination, which can also help you in other activities, such as walking and running.
  • Mental Health: Golf is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. The concentration and focus required can reduce stress and anxiety levels, contributing to better mental well-being.

How Can I Get in Shape for Golf?

If you are new to golf or want to improve your fitness, there are a few things you can do to get in shape:

Start by walking the course instead of driving a golf cart

One of the fundamental ways golf can contribute to fitness is through walking. Golf courses are expansive, and covering them on foot can be a fantastic workout. The choice between walking and riding in a golf cart can significantly impact your physical activity levels. Walking not only burns calories but also engages your leg muscles and increases cardiovascular endurance. This is the best way to get a full-body workout and improve your cardiovascular health.

Add in some strength training exercises

Building strength in your core, legs, and upper body is essential for generating power in your swing and maintaining stability. Incorporate exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, and planks into your routine. Using resistance bands or free weights can help target specific muscle groups.

Flexibility and Mobility

Golf requires a wide range of motion, so improving your flexibility and mobility is crucial. Stretching exercises, yoga, and dynamic mobility drills can enhance your flexibility, making it easier to perform a fluid and efficient swing.

Balance and Stability

A good golf swing relies on balance and stability, otherwise you’ll end up falling back in your swing which is a common error. Practice balance exercises like standing on one leg or using a stability ball to improve your core stability and weight distribution.

Get enough rest

Your body needs time to recover from exercise, so make sure you are getting enough sleep.

FAQs About Getting Fit While Playing Golf

How many steps does the average golfer take to walk 9 holes?

The number of steps an average golfer takes when walking 9 holes can vary depending on the course’s layout and the golfer’s stride length. However, as a rough estimate, a golfer might take between 5,000 to 7,000 steps when walking 9 holes so roughly 12,000 steps for 18 holes.

How many miles do you walk during 18 holes of golf?

Obviously, the distance you walk during 18 holes of golf can vary depending on the course’s layout and your individual path taken between holes. But on average, golfers can expect to cover approximately 4 to 6 miles (6.5 to 10 kilometers) when walking an entire 18-hole round. 

How many hours does it take to walk for 18 holes?

The duration it takes to walk 18 holes of golf can vary depending on several factors, including the course’s layout, your walking pace, the group size, and your fitness level. On average, it can take anywhere from 4 to 5 hours to complete 18 holes on foot.

Is golf a suitable exercise for all ages?

Yes, golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Its low-impact nature makes it a great choice for seniors. It can also be adapted for younger individuals, provided they have proper instruction and use appropriate equipment.

What are some exercises to improve golf fitness?

To enhance your golf fitness, consider incorporating exercises that focus on core strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance. Exercises like planks, squats, lunges, and yoga can be beneficial. Don’t skip leg day, a strong lower body can help the foundation of your swing. 

How does golf compare to other sports in terms of fitness benefits?

While golf may not be as intense as some sports like basketball or soccer, it offers a unique set of fitness benefits. It combines physical activity with mental focus and relaxation, making it a well-rounded fitness option for those who enjoy the sport. How difficult is golf compared to other sports is another discussion!

Is walking the golf course better than riding in a cart?

Walking the course is generally considered a healthier option because it provides more physical activity. However, riding in a cart can still be enjoyable and can offer health benefits compared to not playing golf at all. The choice between walking and riding ultimately depends on your fitness goals and preferences.


So, can you get fit playing golf? Absolutely! Golf offers a range of physical and mental health benefits that can contribute to your overall well-being. From burning calories and improving cardiovascular health to enhancing strength and flexibility, golf is more than just a leisurely pastime. Whether you’re an avid golfer or looking to pick up the sport, remember that a round of golf can be a fun and effective way to stay active and fit. So, go ahead, tee off, and enjoy the journey to a healthier you!

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V Tongwarin

V Tongwarin

Visanu Tongwarin or “Coach V” is a Class A PGA Teaching Professional at Legacy Ridge Golf Course and Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster, Colorado. V's brings his passion for teaching the game of golf to all levels of golfers from running children clinics to training state champions and seasoned professionals.