Does Golf Burn Calories? Track Your Steps & Find Out!

Golf does burn calories, but the amount varies. Walking with a heavy bag on hilly terrain burns around 721 calories/hour, similar to cycling or running. Riding in a cart burns fewer calories. Playing 18 holes while carrying clubs can burn up to 1,500 calories, making it a fun way to stay active, but not a quick weight loss solution.

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Key Takeaways

  • Walking with a heavy bag burns about 721 calories/hour, akin to cycling or running. Playing 18 holes can potentially burn 1,500 calories, making it a viable calorie-burning activity.
  • Walking vs. riding and course terrain impact calorie expenditure. Hilly terrain increases energy usage, while riding in a cart decreases it. Understanding these factors is crucial for maximizing calorie burn.
  • While golf can contribute to calorie burn, it’s not a high-intensity workout. For significant weight loss, supplement golf with other exercises. Maintaining regular physical activity is key to overall health.
  • Despite perceptions, golf can burn significant calories, especially when walking and carrying clubs. It provides unique physical challenges and offers health benefits beyond calorie burn, such as stress relief and improved cardiovascular health.
  • Walking the course, carrying a heavy bag, and playing briskly increase calorie expenditure. Opting for push carts on hilly terrain can also boost calorie burn. Golf offers diverse ways to stay active and enjoy its health benefits.


How many golfers are aware of the health benefits that come with playing this sport? One question that has been asked time and again is whether golf burns calories.

As a golf enthusiast myself, I have always found this to be an interesting topic. For years, people have been arguing about whether golf is a good way to burn calories or not.

Some claim that carrying a bag around for 18 holes can help you shed some pounds, while others insist that you need to walk several miles to make any real difference in your calorie deficit. The truth is somewhere in between.

Walking while carrying a heavy bag of clubs can indeed be an effective way to burn calories. According to research, walking while carrying a golf bag burns about 721 calories per hour, which is roughly the same as cycling at 12–14 mph or running at a pace of 6 mph. This means that if you play an average 18-hole round of golf while carrying your clubs, you could potentially burn around 1,500 calories.

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Check out this video below from the Joe Macro Golfs YouTube channel:

Of course, not everyone likes to carry their clubs around for hours on end. If you prefer using a push cart or riding in a golf cart instead of walking and carrying your clubs, your caloric burn will be significantly lower.

Riding in a cart may only burn around 400–600 calories during an entire round. Another factor that affects how many calories you can burn while playing golf is the topography of the course itself.

If you’re playing on hilly or rough terrain, then it will increase your energy expenditure and, hence, your calorie burn, more than usual flat courses. So, does golf help with weight loss?

The answer is yes or no. If you’re looking for an intense workout that will help you lose weight quickly, then golf may not be the best choice.

However, if you’re looking for a fun and low-impact way to stay active, then golf can help you burn some extra calories and get your heart rate up. While golf may not burn as many calories as some other sports, it’s still a great way to stay active and healthy.

Whether you carry your clubs or ride in a cart, playing 18 holes of golf is a fun way to burn some extra calories without even realizing it. So next time you hit the golf course, don’t forget that you’re doing something good for your body as well as your mind!

Girl wearing a red shirt on a golf course walking with a golf bag and trolley

Understanding Calorie Burn

Calorie burn is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and it’s essential to understand the different factors that affect calorie burn. Factors such as age, weight, sex, fitness level, and activity type all play a role in how many calories are burned during an activity.

For golfers who are interested in losing weight or maintaining their current weight, understanding calorie burn while golfing is important. Golfing can be an enjoyable way to get some exercise and fresh air while socializing with friends or family members.

But can golfing help you burn calories? The answer is yes, but it’s not as simple as hitting nine holes of golf and expecting to see significant results on the scale.

The number of burned calories during a round of golf varies based on several factors. First and foremost is the length of the round; an 18-hole round will typically lead to more calories burned than a nine-hole round.

Walking vs. riding also affects calorie burn; walking on hilly terrain burns significantly more calories than walking on flat land or riding in a cart.

"Understanding calorie burn in golf is vital for weight management. Factors like round length, walking vs. riding, and bag weight influence calorie expenditure. While golf offers benefits, it's best supplemented with diverse exercises for optimal health."

If you’re looking to maximize your energy expenditure during a round of golf, consider walking with a push cart instead of riding in a cart or carrying your clubs. The weight of your bag also plays a role; the heavier it is, the more calories you’ll burn carrying it around the course.

It’s important to note that while golfing can be an excellent way to burn calories and create a calorie deficit that leads to weight loss over time, players should not solely rely on this sport for their exercise needs. It’s recommended that adults aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for optimal health benefits outside of just burning calories.

Understanding how many calories are burned during each hour of playing golf comes down to various factors, like walking vs. riding carts when playing through hilly terrain or carrying vs.

using push carts. Golfing can be an excellent way to burn extra calories, but it should not be used as a substitute for a well-rounded exercise routine.

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A golfer in the distance of a golf course with a river behind pulling a golf trolley bag

Does Golf Burn Calories?

Golfers might argue that golf is a sport that burns calories.

However, when you take a closer look, golf does not burn as many calories as people claim. Sure, it involves some level of physical activity, but the caloric burn is not significant enough to make any noticeable difference in weight loss or maintenance.

If you want to lose or maintain a healthy weight, golf should not be your go-to exercise. A round of golf typically takes around four hours to complete.

This time frame might seem like enough for calorie-burning activities; however, most of the time is spent standing and waiting for your turn to hit the ball. Furthermore, carrying or pushing a golf bag during nine holes of golf only burns around 500–700 calories.

The energy expenditure required by walking with push carts and playing nine-hole rounds is minimal compared to other sports like basketball or swimming. Even if you decide to play 18 holes of walking while carrying your bag on hilly terrain for four hours straight (which would be extremely challenging), it would only burn around 1500–2000 calories at most.

"While golf involves physical activity, its calorie burn isn't as significant as believed. Playing 18 holes may only burn 1500–2000 calories, negligible compared to other exercises like running or cycling. Golf is best enjoyed alongside diverse cardio activities for optimal health benefits."

This caloric burn rate equates to roughly 375–500 calories per hour, again negligible compared to other aerobic exercises. People who argue that they walk instead of riding a cart have no idea how many extra calories they’re burning by doing so.

Walking while carrying a bag burns approximately 50 more calories per hour than using a push cart. If you’re looking for significant calorie-burning activities, try running or cycling instead of spending four hours walking slowly on the golf course.

It’s safe to say that although golf may require some physical endurance and can help create a calorie deficit if played frequently enough over an extended period, it isn’t the most effective option out there for burning those extra pounds. It’s best enjoyed as an outdoor leisure activity complemented by other forms of cardio exercise for maximum health benefits.

An aerial shot view of a stunningly beautiful green golf course

How Many Calories Does Golf Burn?

When people ask how many calories golf burns, the answer is a little more complicated than a simple number. The caloric burn of playing golf depends on several factors, including the length of the round, walking vs. riding in a cart, and hilly terrain.

Research suggests that playing 18 holes of golf can burn anywhere from 800 to 2,000 calories, depending on these variables. Let’s compare the caloric burn of walking and carrying a golf bag versus riding in a golf cart while playing an 18-hole round.

If you walk while carrying your clubs, you can expect to burn around 1,000 calories—not bad for some leisurely exercise! However, if you ride in a cart throughout the entire round of golf, your energy expenditure is significantly lower—around 500–600 calories.

The weight of your golf bag can also impact how many calories you burn during a round of golf. If you’re carrying around a heavy bag for an entire 18-hole round on hilly terrain, then your caloric burn will be higher than that of someone who is using a push cart or has lighter clubs.

But what about those who only have time for nine holes of golf? Golfers who play nine holes instead of eighteen will still receive benefits like fresh air and stress relief but will only burn around half as many calories—approximately 400–1,000, depending on various factors.

So when it comes to answering the question “Does playing golf burn calories?” the answer is undoubtedly yes, but just how much varies greatly based on several different factors. Regardless of how many burned calories are involved (400–1,000), the individual’s game plan should always remember that maintaining physical activity levels well into adulthood can lead to improved overall health outcomes, so keep playing and keep burning!

Check out this video below from GolfLink‘s YouTube channel:

Comparing Golf to Other Sports

When it comes to burning calories while playing sports, there are many factors to consider. Golf is often thought of as a leisurely activity that doesn’t require much physical exertion. However, compared to other sports, golf can be quite calorie-burning.

Walking vs. riding

One major factor that affects calorie burn in golf is whether you choose to walk or ride in a golf cart. While riding in a cart may seem easier, walking the course can burn significantly more calories. According to a study by the PGA of America, walking 18 holes while carrying your clubs burns an average of 721 calories for men and 613 calories for women. Meanwhile, riding in a cart only burns around 300–400 calories per round. 

Course topography

Another factor that can affect calorie burn is the layout of the course itself. Hilly courses will naturally require more effort and, therefore, burn more calories than flat courses. Additionally, rough terrain, such as sand traps or water hazards, can add an extra challenge and increase calorie burn.

Playing 18 holes vs. 9 holes

It’s important to note that playing a full 18-hole round will burn more calories than playing just 9 holes. However, even playing just half a round can still provide some health benefits and help you stay active. When comparing golf to other popular sports such as basketball or soccer, it may not seem like much of a workout at first glance.

However, it’s important to remember that every sport has its own unique physical demands and challenges. While basketball requires quick bursts of energy and running up and down the court, golf requires sustained effort over several hours (if you’re playing an entire round).

Additionally, carrying or pushing your clubs adds extra weight resistance and further increases calorie burn. While golf may not be the most physically demanding sport out there, it certainly does burn calories and provide some health benefits.

Walking the course, playing a full 18 holes, and dealing with hilly terrain or rough obstacles can all add to the calorie burn. So next time you hit the links, consider leaving the golf cart behind and walking with a push cart or carrying your clubs to maximize your workout.

A golf cart parked on a golf course viewing a mountain

How to Increase Calorie Burn While Playing Golf

When it comes to burning calories while playing golf, there are several ways to increase your caloric burn. One of the easiest ways is simply by walking the course instead of using a golf cart. Walking while carrying your bag can burn an additional 200–300 calories per hour!

A round of 18 holes can result in a calorific burn equivalent to a 3-mile run or walk. Another factor to consider is the weight of your golf bag.

If you’re carrying a heavy bag, you’re naturally going to exert more energy and, therefore, burn more calories. Opt for a lightweight bag or remove any unnecessary items from your current bag to decrease its weight.

Course topography can also play a role in how many calories you burn while playing golf. Hilly terrain or courses with lots of elevation changes will require more effort from the golfer and therefore increase caloric burn.

For those who prefer not to carry their bags, walking with a push cart can still provide significant caloric benefits compared to riding in a golf cart. Pushing the cart along for 18 holes can result in an additional 100–150 calories burned per hour compared to riding.

In addition, increasing the speed at which you play can also lead to increased calorie burn. Playing at a brisk pace and limiting breaks between holes will keep your heart rate up and increase the amount of energy expended during your round.

Overall, there are many ways that golfers can increase their caloric burn while on the course. By walking instead of riding in a cart, choosing lighter bags or removing unnecessary items from existing bags, embracing hilly terrain, utilizing push carts instead of riding carts, and maintaining an efficient pace throughout an 18-hole round, golfers can enjoy their sport while also achieving health benefits such as burning calories!

Two golfers walking from one hole to the next on a green golf course

Check out this video below from Golfing Is Best‘s YouTube channel:

The Health Benefits of Golf Beyond Calorie Burn

Golf is a sport that has been around for centuries, and it is not only popular because of the scenic landscapes and challenging courses but also because of the health benefits it offers. While most people focus on the caloric burn associated with golf, there are plenty of other health benefits that come with the game.

Cardiovascular Health

One of the most significant health benefits of golf is its ability to improve cardiovascular health. Walking nine holes of golf while carrying or pushing your bag can burn up to 1000 calories, depending on the weight of your bag and hilly terrain. Golfers who walk 18 holes can burn even more calories per hour than those who ride in a cart, which can lead to a significant calorie deficit over time. 

Socialization and Stress Relief

In addition to improving cardiovascular health, golf can also provide an opportunity for socialization and stress relief. Golfing with friends or colleagues can be an excellent way to de-stress after a long day at work while enjoying some fresh air and exercise. Furthermore, focusing on the game itself can help relieve anxiety by allowing you to tune out distractions and focus solely on hitting your next shot.

Improves Balance, Co-ordination, and Flexibility

Another underrated benefit of golf is its ability to improve balance, coordination, and flexibility. The repeated motion of swinging a club requires coordination between multiple muscle groups in your body, making it an excellent full-body workout. Moreover, walking with a push cart or carrying your clubs requires good balance skills, which helps with overall body strength. 

Mental Health

Golf offers mental health benefits as well; playing regularly has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with depression and anxiety disorders by increasing endorphin levels produced during physical activity.

While many people associate golf solely with its ability to burn calories per hour through walking around an 18-hole round or nine holes while carrying their clubs through hilly terrain, etc., there are plenty more reasons to take up this sport beyond just its caloric burn potential alone! 

With improved cardiovascular health as well as stress relief, socialization opportunities, improved coordination and balance, and mental health benefits to boot, there are a plethora of reasons why golfing should be considered an integral part of any active lifestyle.

Two golfers playing golf shots on top of a mountain view of a golf course at dusk

Common Myths About Golf and Calorie Burn

The popular perception of golf is that it is a leisure sport that does not require much physical exertion. This perception has led to several myths about golf and calorie burn, which are far from the truth.

In this section, I will debunk some of these myths. 

Myth #1

Golf is a lazy sport and does not burn many calories. This myth could not be further from the truth. Playing golf involves walking long distances on hilly terrain while carrying or pushing a heavy golf bag. Walking alone can burn up to 250–300 calories per hour, but when you add carrying or pushing a heavy bag, your energy expenditure increases even more. A 9-hole round of golf can burn up to 700–900 calories, while an 18-hole round can burn over 1500 calories for an average golfer.

Myth #2

Riding in a golf cart burns the same number of calories as walking. This myth is simply absurd. While riding in a golf cart may save time and energy, it significantly reduces the number of calories burned compared to walking with or without carrying or pushing your gear. According to several studies, using a pushcart while walking burns more calories than riding in a cart.

Myth #3

Playing golf does not create enough of a calorie deficit for weight loss. This myth assumes that weight loss requires vigorous exercise, such as running or cycling. However, creating a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume through diet is crucial for weight loss, regardless of the type of exercise you engage in. With its potential caloric burn ranging between 700 and 1500+ depending on various factors such as course topography and the weight of your gear, playing golf can help create this deficit.

Myth #4

Only professional golfers get enough exercise while playing. This myth could not be further from reality! Every golfer, whether amateur or professional, is burning calories while playing golf. The amount of calories burned may vary depending on the golfer’s skill level and the intensity of the game. However, even beginners can burn a significant number of calories by walking and carrying their clubs during an 18-hole round. 

These myths about golf and calorie burn are simply not true. While it may not be as intense as other sports like running or swimming, golfing is still a great way to stay active and burn calories. So next time you hit the greens, ditch the cart and opt for walking and carrying your own gear instead to maximize your caloric burn.

A luscious view of a green golf course with the city in the background


In my humble opinion, golf is one of the best ways to burn calories while engaging in a leisurely activity that provides incredible health benefits. I have personally always preferred walking and carrying my golf bag, which can burn up to 1,500 calories in a round of golf. And let’s be real here: walking with a push cart just doesn’t have the same effect.

The added weight of the bag helps increase the calorie burn and creates an even greater calorie deficit. People who argue that golf doesn’t burn enough calories haven’t played an 18-hole round on a hilly terrain course or walked nine holes carrying their weighty golf bag.

The truth is, it’s not just about how many calories per hour are burned while playing golf; rather, it’s about creating a sustainable energy expenditure throughout the entire course of play. Plus, let’s not forget that playing golf isn’t solely about burning calories; it also has numerous mental and physical health benefits beyond just calorie burn.

A game of golf requires concentration, strategy, and patience—all valuable skills that can help improve cognitive function and reduce stress levels. Now, some may argue that riding in a cart is as beneficial as walking, but I beg to differ.

Golf carts take away from one of the most enjoyable aspects of playing golf: being outside and enjoying nature while getting exercise. Plus, riding in a cart only burns around 400–600 calories during an 18-hole round—not exactly impressive when compared to walking 18 holes with your trusty (and weighty) golf bag.

Yes, golf does indeed burn calories! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But more importantly than just calorie burn, embrace the game for what it truly offers: physical activity coupled with mental stimulation and social interaction. So grab your clubs (and your weighty bag), hit the links, and enjoy all the benefits this amazing sport has to offer.


Walking the course while carrying your bag burns significantly more calories than riding in a cart. Walking can burn up to 1,500 calories for an 18-hole round, while riding typically burns around 400-600 calories.

Golf can be a great workout for burning calories, especially if you walk and carry your clubs. It’s not as intense as running, but it provides a low-impact way to stay active and burn extra calories.

Yes, playing 9 holes can still burn a significant amount of calories, depending on whether you walk or ride. Walking 9 holes with your bag can burn 400-1000 calories, while riding would burn much less.

Golf can definitely be part of a weight loss plan, especially when combined with a healthy diet. While it may not be the most intense exercise, burning 700-1500+ calories per round can contribute to a calorie deficit for weight loss.

Several factors affect your calorie burn during golf:

  • Walking vs. riding: Walking burns significantly more calories.
  • Course terrain: Hilly courses require more effort and burn more calories.
  • Carrying vs. pushing a cart: Carrying your bag burns more than using a push cart.
  • Length of play: An 18-hole round burns more than 9 holes.
  • Your weight: Carrying more weight (your bag) burns more calories.
  • Always walk the course, ditch the cart!
  • Carry your bag instead of using a push cart (if you’re able).
  • Play on hillier courses for an added challenge and calorie burn.
  • Increase your pace of play and minimize breaks between holes.

Absolutely! Golf is a low-impact activity that provides gentle exercise, fresh air, and social interaction, all great benefits for seniors. It’s a fantastic way to stay active and burn some calories without putting too much stress on the body.

Yes, golf offers numerous health benefits beyond calorie burn, including:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Stress relief and relaxation
  • Increased social interaction
  • Enhanced coordination and balance
  • Mental stimulation and focus

Absolutely! As long as you’re walking the course and carrying your bag, you’re still getting exercise and burning calories regardless of your skill level.

Yes, some common myths include:

  • Myth: Golf is a lazy sport that doesn’t burn many calories. (False! Walking and carrying your bag burns a significant amount.)
  • Myth: Riding in a cart burns the same as walking. (False! Riding burns way less.)
  • Myth: Golf doesn’t create a calorie deficit for weight loss. (False! It can contribute to weight loss when combined with a healthy diet.)

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