Is Golf Good Exercise | A Golfer’s Guide

Is Golf Good Exercise

Have you ever hit a bucket of balls at the driving range and wondered, “Is golf good exercise?” or “Am I burning any calories doing this?” If yes, how many calories were burned at the driving range? Sure, we often link exercise to sweat-dripping cardio sessions or heavy weight lifting. But could your time at the driving range also count toward your fitness goals? I had the same question, and let me tell you, the answer is quite surprising.

In this blog, I will dig deep into the science and maths of calorie-burning at the driving range. I have consulted with experts and analyzed data so that I could offer tips for those looking to make the most of their practice swings. If you are a golfer or simply curious about alternative ways to stay fit, you won’t want to miss what I have discovered.  

Is Golf Good Exercise [Know About the Calories Burned at Driving Range]

Golf ranks as a leisurely sport for many, yet it offers real calorie-burning potential. When you spend an hour on a golf course, you typically expend between 350 and 475 calories. But how many calories do you burn at the driving range exactly? Data reveals that at a driving range, you will expend between 200 and 300 calories per hour. Astonishing, isn’t it?

Why does a driving range session burn fewer calories than an hour on a golf course? Three primary factors: walking distance, the terrain, and the carrying of clubs. In contrast, a driving range usually confines you to a single spot.

The Link Between Golfing and Calories Burned

When you step onto a driving range, you probably focus on improving your golf swing, not losing weight. Yet, a driving range session can indeed be more than just honing your skills; it can also be a way to burn calories. A myriad of factors influence how many calories you will burn during your practice. 

Let’s examine three pivotal elements: the golf club you use, swing intensity, and the length of your practice session.

Golf Club Selection

First, the type of golf club you use matters. Heavier clubs require more effort to swing, thereby increasing the energy you expend. A driver, often the heaviest club in the bag, can be particularly effective for calorie burning. But remember, it’s not only about weight. The club’s design also plays a role in how you maneuver it, which can affect energy expenditure.

Swing Intensity

Swing intensity constitutes another significant variable. A hard, fast swing burns more calories than a gentle, controlled one. Accelerating your clubhead with gusto taps into the body’s anaerobic system. This process, in turn, boosts your metabolism, causing your body to use more energy. Keep in mind that high-intensity swings can be taxing, so balance is crucial. A blend of fast and slow swings will give you a workout that’s both effective and sustainable.

Role of Weather Conditions

The role of weather conditions in calorie burning might surprise you, but it’s more significant than you might think. When you are practicing in hot and humid conditions, your body has to exert extra effort to regulate its internal temperature. This process involves increased blood flow and sweating, which demands additional energy and, in turn, increases the number of calories burned. The same goes for cold weather, albeit for different reasons. 

In chilly conditions, your body works harder to maintain its core temperature by generating heat, a process that also requires energy. Thus, both hot and cold weather can amplify the calories burned at driving range during a single session. 

Duration of Your Practice Session

Last but not least, the duration of your practice session matters. Longer sessions will, naturally, burn more calories. Yet, it’s not just about time spent; it’s also about how you spend that time. Periods of rest between swings can affect your overall caloric burn. Fewer breaks mean more swings, more effort, and ultimately, more calories burned.

Know the Health Benefits of Playing Golf

From physical health benefits to mental wellness, golf offers a variety of health advantages. Below, we examine seven compelling reasons why you should consider golf as more than just a game.

1. Enhances Cardiovascular Health

When you walk the course, your heart rate elevates. An increased heart rate aids in blood circulation, which can decrease the risk of heart disease. Every swing, stride, and putt contributes to cardiovascular health. Medical professionals often advocate activities that boost the heart rate as a preventive measure against heart conditions.

2. Boosts Mental Well-being

Focus and concentration are crucial in golf. As you hone these skills on the course, you inadvertently improve your mental health. The sport demands that you remain mentally alert for an extended period. This heightened focus can carry over into other aspects of your life, thereby improving cognitive function.

3. Promotes Weight Loss

An 18-hole game means you will be walking for several miles. On average, a golfer walks about five miles during a game. The walking, combined with the weight of the golf bag, can contribute to weight loss. A typical game can burn up to 1,500 calories, depending on several factors, including your weight and walking speed.

4. Reduces Stress Levels

Nature and greenery have a calming effect on the mind. Golf courses usually feature lush landscapes, and spending time in such environments can reduce stress. Lower stress levels mean a lower risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension. The serenity of the course, combined with the physical activity, creates an ideal setting for relaxation and stress relief.

5. Improves Sleep Quality

Physical activity tends to tire you out, making it easier for you to fall asleep and enjoy a deeper sleep. Quality sleep is essential for bodily functions like tissue repair and muscle growth. Individuals who engage in physical activities like golf often report better sleep patterns compared to those who don’t.

6. Strengthens Muscles and Joints

Golf involves a lot of swinging, which engages your upper body muscles, including the arms, back, and shoulders. The walking aspect of the sport engages the lower body, offering a comprehensive workout. Moreover, practicing swings can improve your flexibility and range of motion, thereby strengthening your joints and muscles.

7. Enhances Social Interaction

Golf is often a communal activity, allowing for networking and socialization. Engaging with others not only brightens your mood but also has health benefits. Social interactions can alleviate feelings of depression or isolation, enriching your overall sense of well-being.

So, is golf good exercise? Absolutely. While it may lack the intensity of more conventional forms of exercise, it nonetheless offers an array of health benefits, from physical to mental wellness. So the next time someone minimizes golf as merely a game, feel free to enlighten them on its numerous health advantages.

Comparing Caloric Expenditure with Other Activities

A common question people have revolves around the caloric burn associated with golfing compared to other activities. Let’s clear some fog around this topic.

ActivityCalories Burned per Hour
Golfing (Driving Range)200-300
GardeningVaries from 250 to 350 calories
DancingAround 400 calories
Walking (3 mph)Roughly 280 calories
Hiking (moderate)About 350 calories

Remember that these figures are approximate and can fluctuate based on various factors like your intensity level, body weight, age, and overall fitness level.

How to Maximize Calorie Burn at the Driving Range?

playing golf at a driving range

So you are intrigued about making your trips to the driving range not just skill-improving but also calorie-burning. You’re in good company! Today, let’s talk about ways to maximize calorie burn during your driving range practice. You will get to improve your golf game while shedding some extra pounds. Here are some effective tips that have worked wonders for me. 

1. Incorporate Cardio Between Swings

Cardio doesn’t just belong in a gym setting; you can easily blend it into your driving range routine. After taking a full swing or simply hitting the golf ball, instead of standing still or sitting down, try jogging in place or doing high knees for about 30 seconds. This will keep your heart rate up and enhance calorie burn. I did this for a month and saw a noticeable change in my stamina.

2. Add Weight to Your Club

Another fantastic idea that might sound strange at first is adding a bit of weight to your golf club. The average golf club weight is 330 grams (0.73 pounds). However, companies sell weighted sleeves that can fit over the shaft of your golf club. This added weight makes your muscles work harder with every swing. One time, I experimented by adding a weighted sleeve and practiced for an hour; it genuinely felt like a mini-workout! 

3. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

It’s easy to think that more swings would result in more calories burned. However, it’s not just about quantity; it’s about the quality of your swing. Taking fewer but more skillful swings allows for greater core engagement and muscle use, which contributes to calories burned when hitting golf balls. On weekends, I often limit the number of swings, focusing instead on form and strength, which turns out to be an effective core workout.

4. Utilize a Variety of Clubs

Switching between clubs during your practice not only helps in improving your game but also engages different muscle groups. For example, a driver employs upper body strength more, while irons require good leg and core control. Last summer, I made it a point to use all golf clubs in the bag during my practice sessions, and my overall muscle tone saw an improvement. This approach did mean that I had to wash golf clubs and balls for 2 hours as I used them all during these sessions. 

5. Stretch and Warm Up Properly

A proper warm-up and stretch routine can make a world of difference. Begin with a light jog or brisk walk for five minutes to get your blood flowing. Follow it up with dynamic stretches targeting your shoulders, arms, legs, and back. Stretching warms up your muscles and primes them for action. This contributes to more effective calorie burning during your time at the range.

6. Monitor Your Diet Before Practice

What you eat before heading to the driving range also matters. Skip heavy meals or sugary snacks that might bog you down. Opt for a balanced meal rich in protein and complex carbs around two hours before your practice. This provides sustained energy that helps you remain active. I found that eating a chicken salad with lots of veggies gave me just the right amount of energy and stamina.

Want the information in a table format to make it easier to digest? Here it is.

Tip NumberStrategyDescriptionHow it Helped Me
1Incorporate CardioAdd cardio elements like jogging in place or high-knees for about 30 seconds between swings.Improved stamina within a month.
2Add Weight to Your ClubUse weighted sleeves to increase resistance, making your muscles work harder during each swing.Felt like a mini-workout.
3Quality Over QuantityInstead of hitting more balls, focus on fewer but more skillful swings to engage the core and other muscles.Better core engagement.
4Use a Variety of ClubsSwitch between clubs to engage different muscle groups; drivers focus on the upper body, while irons require leg and core control.Improved overall muscle tone.
5Stretch and Warm UpStart with a light jog or brisk walk followed by dynamic stretches targeting various muscle groups for a more effective calorie burn.Contributes to a better overall burn.
6Monitor Diet Before PracticeEat a balanced meal rich in protein and complex carbs about two hours before your practice for sustained energy and better activity.Chicken salad worked best for me.

Drive, Swing, Burn

The idea of calories burned at a driving range has sparked an intriguing discussion, has it not? I have proven that the driving range serves merely as a place to hone golf skills. In reality, it offers us the chance to engage in a multifaceted workout that benefits our health as much as our game. I’ve shared tips and personal experiences related to our burning question “Is golf good exercise?” that has transformed my time at the driving range into a more holistic health experience. From improving muscle tone to boosting stamina, the benefits have been real and palpable.

While we have explored multiple avenues, remember that everyone’s body reacts differently. Your mileage may vary. However, integrating even a few of these tips could change how you view your time at the driving range. It might become not just a place for skill improvement but also a unique venue for fitness. So why not give these tips a shot during your next visit?

And don’t forget to follow Golf Ace Nation to get the latest tips and techniques that can transform your golf game, backed by insights from pros in the field. Also, we provide comprehensive reviews of the best gear available, helping you make informed choices.  


Q1. Does golf give you abs?

While golf may not be the most effective exercise specifically for developing abs, it certainly involves core engagement. Every time you take a swing, you activate your core muscles for stability and power. However, solely relying on golf to develop a six-pack might leave you disappointed. Incorporating specialized abs exercises into your routine remains essential for that specific goal.

Q2. How many steps are 18 holes of golf? 

The analysis uncovered that, on average, each golfer covered approximately 11,948 steps with a standard deviation of 1,781 steps during an 18-hole round of golf. Irrespective of one’s handicap level, gender, or the specific course they played, the majority of participants surpassed 10,000 steps during a standard round of golf.

Q3. How many miles are walked in 18 holes? 

Golfers who choose to walk the course rather than ride in a cart can expect to walk about 5 miles during an 18-hole round. This distance contributes to a significant calorie burn, with some estimates suggesting up to 2,000 calories expended during a full round. 

Q4. Is golf good exercise?

Golf qualifies as a form of good exercise. Though not as intense as running or weightlifting, it involves a variety of physical activities including walking, swinging, and carrying your bag. Besides, it’s an excellent way to stay active, improve coordination, and enhance overall well-being. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top