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John Renslow: The added benefits of golf

John Renslow

Recently we discussed the increased possibility of weight gain as we continue to “shelter in place” more than we head for the gym. Yet, certain additions might be an advantage, if it’s applied to your putter.

However, although it may not be a good time for the indoor fitness center, our golf courses are outdoor fitness facilities. Remember that golf courses are measured in yards, by the thousands. We traverse miles of fairways and greens, hills and valleys.

For our look into the caloric benefits of a round of golf, we know the numbers will vary for each of us. So, we’re going to establish a few benchmarks as you consider the following.

Are we playing the golf course from the forward tees or the back tees? Do we walk the entire course or take a golf cart? If we do walk the course, is our golf bag on a handcart that we push or might it be carried by a caddie?

Elevation changes, distance between tees, our skill level (investigating errant golf shots may not help your score, but you will burn more calories), as well as weather conditions, are part of the equation.

Rather than getting bogged down in the minutia, we are going to make some general assumptions. We are simply going to assume that our golf course is around 6,000 yards and will require four hours to complete.

Also, the weight of the individual is a factor. We will use a 180-pound golfer as our example. If you weigh 140 pounds, you won’t burn as many calories and if you weigh 220 pounds, you will burn more.

On balance, summarized from several sources, our golfer will burn approximately 475 calories per hour if he or she walks the golf course and carries their bag. Naturally, this would be the high end of the burn.

If we walk, but use a handcart to maneuver the golf bag, this number goes down to around 425 calories per hour. And, if we ride in a golf cart, the number is in the neighborhood of 300 calories per hour. The assumption is that the cart-riding golfer, though riding a majority of the time, will still walk more than one mile.

In brief, when we walk the 18-hole course, expect to burn approximately 1,900 calories. For those who prefer to use the handcart for their bag, expect to burn near 1,700 calories. Predominantly riding the round will tend to result in about 1,200 calories burned.

Now, for women, day in and day out, 2,000 calories are needed to maintain their current weight, while men require 2,500 calories on a daily basis.

With some amazingly quick math, we know we can work (well, play) off 75% of our average daily calorie intake with just one round of golf. It’s like getting a free day! Or, maybe that bowl of ice cream you’ve been craving.

So, since we can’t hit the gym, hit some golf balls. Even a bad round will have some ancillary benefits. Stay hydrated (more on that at a later date), enjoy the fresh air, and feel the burn.

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@pga.com.


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