Is Golf A Good Way To Lose Weight?
Fun Golf have been getting lots of questions about golf and fitness, questions like “Is golf a good way to lose weight?” “Is hitting golf balls good exercise?” and “does golf build muscle.”
To help me answer these golf fitness related questions I’ve called on the help of Joe Macro. Joe is a Golf fitness expert and Titleist Performance Institute certified coach. There is no one more qualified to provide the best golf fitness advice.
Is Golfing a good workout to lose weight?
Is golf a good way to lose weight? Quick Answer – Yes. If you consider that during 18 holes of golf, a golfer (regardless of handicap) will walk in excess of 10,000 steps and will cover on average 6.5 miles. Now that might be hard to relate to, but if you think that the average UK adult walks between 3-4000 steps per day, now golf seems a pretty good way to lose weight.
There are of course variations to be made. You can half those numbers if you play 9 holes (still pretty good) and you can also reduce by around 60% if you use a buggy. On a positive note, there seems to be very little difference in steps or distance walked between handicap levels or whether you push or carry.
Now we know that golf is a good form of activity, let’s talk about the weight loss side and if golf is a good way to lose weight. Removing extreme medical conditions, changes in weight occur based on two factors; Energy consumed (food and drink) and Energy used (living, exercise and movement).
In simple terms:
Consume more energy than you burn = Weight gain.
Burn more energy than you consume = Weight loss.
How many calories does golf burn?
When assessing if golf is a good way to lose weight we should review calories burnt. Playing a round of golf will significantly increase the ‘energy burnt’ side of the equation. To make ‘energy’ mean more to you, this is also known as ‘calories’ or ‘kcals’. The amount of calories burnt during a round of golf will vary based on weight, age, sex, muscle mass, speed of play etc. However the average for a male is ~900kcals and for a female ~550kcals. To put that into perspective for you, a Mars bar has 240 kcals. If you were able to get out for 18 holes, walking, once per week, you could alter the weight loss/gain equation by ~3600kcals in a month, the equivalent of around 1lb of fat. Up that to 2 rounds a week and that’s 2lbs of weight loss a month.
Unfortunately, from my experience, golfers’ diets dramatically change on the day of a round. There is often a cooked breakfast or bacon roll. Some mid round snacks or drinks. Maybe a stop at the halfway house before ending the round with a few pints and a packet of crisps. You will see that quite quickly, all of the extra calories burnt during the round, has been immediately consumed back again, hence keeping the weight loss/gain equation unchanged.
This is quite often the case away from golf as well and becomes one of the biggest reasons even seemingly ‘active’ individuals are unable to shift those unwanted pounds and lose weight by playing golf. Once we understand the weight loss/gain equation we gain full control over the situation and can make choices to make change when we want to.
Is Golf good exercise?
In short, golf is a fantastic way to burn energy, build stamina and live a healthy life. If you can walk 18 holes and do it often, the health benefits are huge. The positive effects of this sport can however be dragged down by the other habits that come with it.
If you love your golf, and you are serious about shifting some weight, I have two pieces of advice. Play more and don’t over consume. Change nothing else and you’ll start to see things move in the right direction.
Is golf a good way to lose weight? Definitely.
Do all golfers lose weight? Absolutely not.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this expert opinion on Golf Fitness. For free advice and guidance on your golf fitness, why not join Team Macro Golf for free at TeamMacroGolf or follow Joe on Instagram @Joe_MacroGolf