How To Lose Weight Playing Golf

Most people don’t necessarily think of fitness or exercise when they think of golf. The health benefits of golf have often been underplayed.

Did you know you can have fun enjoying a round of golf and lose weight at the same time? Golf is accepted and recommended as a moderate-intensity physical activity by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the WHO, and UK Chief Medical Officers. 

A moderate-intensity activity gets you moving. It’s strenuous enough to burn off three to six times as much energy per minute as you would when doing nothing. If you want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit where you burn more calories than you consume. 

Here’s how playing golf can help you lose weight and some tips to give you maximum results.

Resource: Step by Step Golf Practice Routines + Training System

1. Walking

Walking is an excellent form of physical exercise that is convenient and accessible to most people. Brisk walking for only 10 miles can help you burn 1000 calories and decrease body weight. In one research study, obese women lost 10% of their weight after 6 months of daily brisk walking.

Golf involves lots of walking! You can exceed 10,000 steps in a typical round, which meets the recommended guidelines for daily exercise. Walking 18 holes in golf is the same as a 5-mile walk or a 3 ½ mile run and can burn up to 2,000 calories. 

Most golf courses are spread over multiple acres of hilly ground. Walking around as you play is a great way to get some cardiovascular exercise while improving your score. You get healthier as you take in what lies ahead, consider your options and think about club and shot selection. 

2. Strength Training

Golf involves many strength training and fitness routines to improve your accuracy, ball striking, and swing consistency. An inadequate level of functional fitness, which includes lacking flexibility, strength, and core stability, makes golfers prone to overuse injuries.

Golfers are better off following a suitable golf exercise program that builds strength in the right muscle groups and increases flexibility in the right places. Regular exercise protects your joints by reducing excess body fat and weight and keeps you at a healthy weight long term.

Walking the hills of your course, bending and swinging mechanics work on your hamstrings and quadriceps. Regardless of age, fitter players are better players and have improved wellness and health.

3. Active Lifestyle

US national health surveys show that inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle is a massive contributor to weight gain and obesity. Physical activity and exercise are essential determinants for weight loss as they promote a healthy lifestyle.

Golf satisfies the recommended physical activity guidelines of the WHO and the American College of Sports Medicine. Research shows that playing golf will encourage you to adopt a more active lifestyle and tackle physical inactivity.

The physical demands of a round of golf provide aerobic exercise equivalent to or greater than that of other everyday activities like yoga or gym work.


4. Improved Mental Health and Wellbeing

Have you found yourself trying every exercise plan and diet but can’t seem to slim down? You may be facing a psychological block that makes it harder to reach your goal. Stress, depression, and anxiety can all make losing weight an uphill task.

Stress leads to overeating ‘comfort food’ while anxiety results in poor food choices. Depression-related symptoms like fatigue and sleeplessness make weight loss more difficult. Playing golf and spending time on the green is a great solution to overcome mental health problems. 

Leading psychologists highlight that golf course environments have various natural features that induce calm and help reduce stress. Interaction among golfers and contact with nature like spatial variety, water, biodiversity, and light patterns improves mood and reduces risks of depression. 

5. Swinging Your Clubs

Although not as many calories are burned as walking, swinging your golf clubs uses a significant amount of energy. The golf swing uses different muscle groups in the body as you turn and strike the ball.

Combined with constant movement during play and you can get a decent workout. The average golfer can burn 200 calories every hour they hit golf balls at the driving range. Considering that you can hit around 100 golf balls an hour, it works out to 2 calories per swing. 

It should be noted that swinging the club alone is not enough exercise. It can help increase your heart rate, but you have to combine it with other golf activities to achieve weight loss and fitness goals.

Resource: Get the All Access Pass. Learn about our training programs with step by step practice drills, weekly schedules and routines to follow so you can break 90, break 80 or scratch golf. Plus access our video lesson library in addition to following the practice plans.

Tips to Maximize Weight Loss When Playing Golf

Consider the following tips to maximize the weight loss effects of playing golf;

  • Avoid the Golf Cart – Moving around the course on a cart reduces the number of calories your body can burn in a golf round. Walking and carrying clubs or using a pull or push cart provides more activity and exercise. The resistance and extra weight build your strength and enhances calorie burning.
  • Drink More Water – You’ll likely get thirsty during a round of golf because of walking, the sun, or swinging the club. You’ll lose water through sweating as you burn calories. Avoid drinking soft drinks and alcoholic beverages as they’ll only add more calories to your body. Drinks lots of water to stay hydrated. 
  • Incorporate Running – You can choose to run during your round in what is known as speed golf. The goal is to complete the golf round in the fastest time possible with the fewest number of strokes. It includes running to the ball in between shots which is a great calorie burner. 

Is Playing Golf Alone Enough to Lose Weight?

No. Unless you’re hitting the course every few days per week, playing golf alone will not help you lose significant weight. Supplementing it with a good balanced diet and exercises or a weight loss program is the only authentic way a golfer can lose weight. Here are a few things to consider:

Eliminate trans fats from your diet and minimize intake of saturated fats. Avoid foods with added butter or oil, sugar, fatty red or processed meat, white bread, bagels, and processed foods.

  • Keep a Weight and Food Diary – It’s critical to self-monitor your progress to successfully lose weight. Measure your weight every week and record your progress and food intake with apps or paper diaries. 

Tracking your success in small increments and identifying changes will motivate you to stick to the weight loss routine and regimen.

Pro golfers like Tiger Woods and Greg Norman have made weight training a respectable if not essential exercise to maximize golf achievement. It usually focuses on building strength, muscle, and power delivery.

Weight training supports weight loss by burning your calories during and after workouts. It also preserves muscle mass and ensures your metabolism doesn’t slow down. 

Golf Practice Plans to Follow

Thanks for reading today’s article!

Nick Foy – Golf Instructor

nick foy golf academy

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