How Many Calories Are Burned Paying Nine Holes of Golf?

multiethnic golf players holding bags with golf clubs and walking on golf course
Ditch the golf cart and walk. (Image: LightFieldStudios/iStock/GettyImages)

For many, golf is both an enjoyable game, and a way to get in some healthy exercise. Whether it's played by walking the course, taking a cart or practicing at the range, golf is a relaxing way to burn off extra calories, even if it's just a nine-hole outing.

While golf may not be the most strenuous sport, like all activities, it does burn calories. Of course, the number of calories burned while playing will depend on whether a player is walking or riding a cart on during the game.

Golfing to Lose Weight

If the goal is dropping weight, remember that to lose one pound of fat means burning 3,500 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Since the body has to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound, if you play nine holes every day while walking, that goal is reached within five days. Unless the plan is to golf every day, relying on golf alone to lose weight may not work very well. Although walking on the days a player is not on the golf course may help.

According to a 2017 article in Harvard Health Publications at a 4.5 mph pace can burn about 300 calories per hour for someone who weighs 125 pounds, 370 calories for a 155 pound person and 445 calories at 185 pounds. By walking six days per week and play 9 holes while carrying clubs one day a week, it's possible to burn as much as a 3500 extra calories every week.

Walking Nine Holes While Carrying Clubs

A 2008 article in Golf, says that to get a good workout while playing a quick nine holes, try carrying the clubs while walking the course.

According to an article in Shapefit, someone who weighs 130 pounds, will expend almost 500 calories playing nine holes for an hour and a half while carrying a golf bag. The same activity by someone who weighs 155 lbs. will burn 615 calories, and someone who tips the scales at 190 pounds, will use up over 730 calories, according to.

Riding the Golf Cart Instead

Sometimes it may be difficult, if not impossible to walk a golf course. Many places may heavily push the use of golf carts since it could represent a significant stream of revenue. Surprisingly, there is evidence that a significant number of calories may still be used up, even when using a cart.

Although there's little data on calories burned while playing golf riding in a cart, by subtracting the calories used by just walking from that of golfing while walking, it's possible to roughly estimate the calories that might be burned while using a cart.

Walking at a slow rate burns 180 calories per hour, so using two hours at this rate as an estimate for the walking component, and subtracting those 360 calories from the previous result, you get about 460 calories for nine holes while riding a golf cart.

A small study performed by the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, involving only eight men, found that they burned an average of 411 calories each while golfing with carts for nine holes.

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