Calories Burned Playing Golf (6 Major Factors)

calories burned playing golf

Meet Jake

Jake was a competitive golfer for over a decade dating back to the days of being the Captain of his high school golf team. He has played more than 200 courses across 32 different states in the US. Now semi-retired, Jake continues to golf 3-4 days a week with a current 2 handicap, gives golf lessons to his friends and family, and provides a wealth of knowledge to Golf Circuit from his competitive playing days. Jake combines practical expertise with technical knowledge to create golfing strategies and training techniques for both beginners and scratch golfers.

Those that don’t play golf may not realize how great of a physical activity golfing can be.

Burning calories as a golfer is much easier than you may think. In fact, this may be the exact kind of low-impact exercise that can help you get healthier and more active.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at how many calories are burned playing a typical round of golf. 

How Many Calories Burned Playing Golf? 

golfer burning calories playing golf

Golfers burn up to 600 calories per hour while playing a round of golf and walking. If a typical round of golf takes up to four hours, expect to burn over 2000 calories. 

Of course, some factors impact how many calories you burn and that will certainly play into how athletic of an experience this is for you. 

Factors that Affect Calories Burned In Golf

There are six main factors that we want to look at when it comes to how many calories you burn in a game of golf.

Current Weight

For people that are higher in weight, calories tend to burn a bit faster. Calories are essentially a measurement of work or energy, and for people that weigh more, it is technically more work to make it through 18 holes of golf. 

If you have a fitness watch, you can usually track how your current weight impacts the calorie burn. 

Walking or Riding 

Believe it or not, when you ride the golf course, you can still burn a ton of calories. Riding in a golf cart still means you have to do a certain amount of walking. 

Let’s also not forget the fact that when we swing a golf club, it also burns calories. 

Swinging, twisting, torquing, and staying balanced all burn calories. 

Playing 9 or 18 Holes 

Playing nine holes of golf will burn about half as many calories as 18 holes of golf. 

Read More: How Long to Play a Round of Golf?

For nine-hole expect to burn approximately 1500-calories; for 18 holes, you can assume closer to 3000 calories.


The faster you walk, the easier it is to burn calories. 

Golfers that walk quickly from one shot to the next will be able to get their heart rate up and burn more calories. This can be difficult with golf because there are times when the group in front of you is holding you up. 

However, whenever possible, try to keep the pace of your walking a bit more brisk

Carrying or Pushing

Technically when you walk and carry your bag, you will burn a few extra calories because your weight is a bit higher with the bag on your back. 

However, walking and carrying clubs in this way has gotten some players injured. 

It puts quite a bit of pressure on your back, legs, and knees. If you have the option to take a push cart to take one, you can still burn plenty of calories. 


If you play a flat golf course, you won’t burn as many calories as a course that has lots of hills that go up and down. The terrain of a mountain course will increase your heart rate, require more stability, and essentially burn more calories. 

How To Make Golf Better For You Physically? 

two older golfers walking on the course

Golf does not have to be a waste of four or five hours from an exercise perspective. If you are smart about how you play, you can use this as your time spent working on your exercise goals that day. 

Warm Up And Stretch

Always start the round with some kind of warm-up and stretching session. I really like to spend time going for a walk or a short run before I go out to play golf. 

Getting up early, getting your body moving, and the blood flowing can only help when it’s time to play. 

Then before the round of golf starts, it’s important to stretch any and all muscles you can. Remember, a golf swing uses so many of them! 

Walk With A Push Cart

Walking with a push cart is the best way to balance getting in more steps without hurting your body. When you walk without a push cart, it can be a bit difficult for your shoulder, back, and knees to stay in great shape. 

If you are unsure of your physical ability to walk and play golf, start with nine holes and see how it goes. 

One of the great things about the game is that it keeps moving forward and allows you to think about your shots and not exercise. 

You won’t have to worry about the time passing as if you are just on a walk or on a bike. Instead, focus on your golf game, and the exercise will just be happening. 

Be Smart About What You Eat

If you are going to go out and burn anywhere from 1500 to 3000 calories, make sure you are properly supporting your body at the same time. Eat things like fruit or energy bars to help support you. 

Stay away from candy bars and hot dogs that golfers have typically been known to grab from the snack shop after nine holes. If you are smart about what you eat, it because easier for your body to perform on the course. 

Is A Golf A Good Way To Lose Weight? 

Golf can be a great way for some people to lose weight. One of the great things about golf is that you can ease into it. Nobody said you need to walk 18 holes with a tour bag the first week you go out!

Take a Sunday golf bag, and walk a leisurely nine late in the afternoon. See how you feel after this and gradually try to increase things like the duration or the pace. 

Over time you will find that walking the golf course is much easier than you may think and ends up helping you achieve your physical goals. 

Does Golf Keep You In Shape? 

Golf can keep you in shape if you are smart about how you live the rest of your life. 

Generally, playing golf and mixing in some other activities and exercises is the best combination. However, if all you do is golf and keep a smart diet, you should be able to stay in good shape. 

The key is finding that mix between food and exercise that works to keep your body in shape. 

Final Thoughts

Although we talk about the number of calories burned by playing golf, there are so many more benefits to golf than just burning calories. The mental clarity the game can bring from being outside and participating in physical activities is hard to match. 

No other sports allow you to ease into the physical side of things the way golf does. If you are ready to burn more calories on the golf course, invest in a great push cart today! 

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