Yes, Golf Is A Great Exercise - Especially In The Age Of COVID-19


Physical exercise

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder 


With the threat of COVID-19, one of my favorite social distancing activities has been playing golf. It gives me the opportunity to get fresh air and sunlight (which is necessary for getting vitamin D, a very important nutrient that we all need to stay healthy). And although golf may not be as vigorous as perhaps running or cycling, it is still a good form of physical exercise. 

When President Trump was criticized for playing golf during a pandemic, his defense was that golf is his “exercise.” 

According to one report Trump also said, “Actually, I play VERY fast, get a lot of work done on the golf course, and also get a ‘tiny’ bit of exercise. Not bad!”

When I play golf, I’d like to think I get much more than just a ‘tiny bit’ of exercise. If you ditch the golf cart (which I usually do), golfing can involve a lot of walking - up to 6 miles sometimes depending on where you hit the ball and the length of the course. In addition to this, the major muscles involved when you swing a golf club include shoulder and back muscles, the core and even quadriceps and gluteal (butt) muscles. So it is really like a full body workout. Not to mention, carrying around golf clubs is an exercise in itself!

But how many calories do you really burn playing golf?

In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. This means more calories expended than consumed. This is why many people want to know what workouts will burn the most calories or are very satisfied when they run on a treadmill and can see all of the calories burned. 

I’m not one for counting calories, and I’m a firm believer that you should do exercises you enjoy in order to maintain a healthy workout routine. But sometimes we need to be strategic and somewhat mathematical about exercise and diet. 

So if you are a golfer, here are some basics on how many calories you may be burning when you play, according to this report:

  • Walking and carrying your golf bag.

Walking the standard 18 holes usually adds up to about four miles. Add this with the weight of the golf clubs and bag, and you may burn between 1,400 to 2,000 calories.

  • Walking and pushing a golf cart.

This may burn around the same amount of calories as walking and carrying a golf bag.

  • Walking with a golf caddie.

For those of you who are not familiar with the sport of golf, a caddie is someone who carries your clubs and bag. So, a caddie takes some of the physical work away. Walking with a caddie may burn anywhere from 800 to 1200 calories. It really depends on how many holes you play and the size of the course.

  • Riding a golf cart.

Of course, taking the walking part out of your golf game is going to make golf less of a workout for you. Regardless, you may still be getting quite a workout.

According to the report mentioned earlier, “...because you’re still walking to and from (often elevated) tee boxes, and swinging your clubs, you still burn lots of calories playing golf with a cart — anywhere from between ~800 to 1,300,according to a WGF study.”

Golf is a great workout!

So I think what we can decipher from all of this is that golf is a great form of exercise!

Other research has shown that golf may contribute to longevity. Furthermore, golf may be especially beneficial to boomers.

Golf right. Fuel right.

Before you head out to the golf course, don't overlook the need for sunscreen and protective clothing. It is also extremely important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

In addition to this, we all need the proper fuel to be physically fit and perform well at whatever activity we choose. So, don’t forget to check whether you have a balanced amount of the macronutrients and micronutrients that will give you the energy and stamina to play 18 holes of golf. Some of these nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, water (as mentioned), iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. And keep in mind that if you are older, you may need more protein than the average person.

Finally, if you have a back or other injury which prevents you from taking up the sport of golf or participating more, consider a very effective therapeutic massage which usually works wonders on old injuries as well as reduce inflammation and pain. Medical professionals suggest alternating between cold and heat therapy as a very effective way to be proactive about and manage your pain. We discuss this technology here. 


Enjoy your healthy life! 


The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


Related Products

Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy