How many calories do you burn in 18 holes of golf?

Golf is a popular sport that can provide many health benefits, including burning calories. For most golfers, a standard 18-hole round takes between 4-5 hours to complete while walking the course. During this time, you are constantly swinging clubs, walking long distances, bending and stooping to retrieve balls, and more. All of this physical activity adds up in terms of calories burned.

In this article, we will look at the average calories burned by golfers during an 18-hole round. We will examine how factors like your weight, gender, and intensity level impact calorie burn. You’ll also learn tips for burning even more calories on the golf course. Let’s tee off!

Average Calories Burned Playing 18 Holes of Golf

Most golfers can expect to burn around 1,500 calories over an 18-hole round. However, calorie burn can range widely based on your body size and intensity while playing:

– For a 155 lb (70 kg) person, 18 holes burns around 1,300 calories
– For a 185 lb (84 kg) person, 18 holes burns around 1,550 calories
– For a 200 lb (91 kg) person, 18 holes burns around 1,700 calories

In general, heavier golfers will burn more calories because it takes more energy to move a larger body around the course. Intensity is also key – golfers who walk briskly between shots and swing their clubs forcefully will burn more calories than those moving at a relaxed pace.

Calories Burned by Gender

Gender can also impact calories burned while playing the same 18-hole round:

– For women, 18 holes may burn 1,250-1,400 calories on average
– For men, 18 holes may burn 1,550-1,750 calories on average

Even at the same weight, men tend to burn more calories than women playing golf. This is because men naturally have less body fat and more muscle mass, both of which raise daily calorie needs. Higher testosterone levels in men also contribute to burning more energy during physical activity.

That said, women can absolutely burn high amounts of calories golfing too. Factors like pace of play and effort level matter more than gender when it comes to burning calories on the course.

Calories Burned by Age

Here is a breakdown of the average calories burned golfing by age:

– Ages 20-30: 1,700 calories
– Ages 30-40: 1,600 calories
– Ages 40-50: 1,500 calories
– Ages 50-60: 1,400 calories
– Ages 60+: 1,300 calories

Younger golfers tend to burn more calories because they have higher metabolisms and more muscle mass. Older golfers may also play at a more leisurely pace or take more breaks, lowering calorie expenditure. However, regular golfing can help slow age-related muscle loss and keep your metabolism elevated.

How Golf Compares to Other Sports

Golf can provide a solid workout, but how does it compare to other sports in terms of calories burned? Here is an overview:

– Golf (18 holes, walking): 1,500 calories
– Basketball (30 mins): 240 calories
– Tennis (1 hour): 420 calories
– Hiking (1 hour): 370 calories
– Swimming (1 hour): 500 calories
– Running (5 mph for 30 mins): 295 calories

As you can see, an 18-hole round burns significantly more calories than most other sports. The only activity that compares is swimming vigorously for an hour. While golf involves less intense exercise than sports like basketball or tennis, the hours-long nature makes it excellent for fat burning. You get both cardiovascular and muscle endurance benefits.

Tips for Maximizing Calorie Burn on the Golf Course

Here are some tips to take your golf calorie burn to the next level:

Always Walk Instead of Using a Cart

Riding in a golf cart may cut your calorie expenditure in half or more. Walking the course at a brisk pace can make a big impact. Invest in proper golf shoes so you can comfortably walk all 18 holes.

Carry Your Golf Bag

Using a push/pull trolley or carrying your golf bag will burn around 30% more calories versus using a caddie. The extra weight challenges your muscles and makes walking more difficult. Just don’t overload the bag to avoid injury.

Limit Time Between Shots

Standing around waiting for others to play reduces your activity level. Keep rest time between swings short to keep your heart rate up. You can practice your swing or do light stretching instead of sitting down.

Pair Golf with Walking or Jogging

Arrive early and walk 2-3 miles around the course before tee time to burn extra calories. You can even alternate holes where you walk and jog between shots for intense fat burning.

Swing Aggressively

Putting more power into your swings will engage your core and upper body muscles further. Just be careful not to compromise swing accuracy. Setting a quicker pace will also rev your metabolism.

Use Heavier Clubs

Challenge yourself by using clubs at the top end of your weight range. The extra weight adds resistance to burn more on each swing, similar to strength training.

Hydrate Properly

Drinking water before, during, and after golf prevents dehydration that could impact your performance and calorie burn. Dehydration causes fatigue and muscle weakness.

Warm Up and Stretch

Get your blood flowing by doing jumping jacks, leg swings, and light stretches for 5-10 minutes before tee time. This raises your heart rate and prepares muscles.

Health Benefits of Golf

Beyond burning calories, regular golf provides many wellness benefits:

– Improved heart health from 4-5 hours of walking and elevated heart rate
– Increased stamina and muscle tone from swinging clubs
– Reduced stress and anxiety from relaxing outdoor recreation
– Protection against obesity, diabetes, and other conditions
– Lowered risk of injury compared to higher-impact sports
– Better posture and core strength from proper swing form
– Mental stimulation to help keep the mind sharp

Golf can provide moderate activity levels that boost fitness. The fact golf is fun for many people also promotes adherence.

Foods for Fueling Your Golf Game

Proper nutrition is key for getting the most exercise benefits from golf and preventing fatigue. Here are some great foods to eat before and during your round:

– Oatmeal or whole-grain cereal – Provides long-lasting carbs for energy.
– Banana – Potassium prevents muscle cramps and spasms.
– Protein shake or bar – Lean protein helps muscles recover.
– Almonds or walnuts – Good fats provide sustained energy.
– Water – Hydration is crucial when active for hours.
– Trail mix – Restores carbs and provides variety of nutrients.
– Fruit such as apples or oranges – Vitamins and natural sugars.

Avoid fatty or sugary foods that can cause crashes in energy. Refuel within 30 minutes after finishing your round to restore muscles. Chocolate milk is ideal for post-golf recovery.

Sample 18-Hole Golf Workout

Here is a sample golf routine designed to maximize calories burned:

– Arrive 60 minutes before tee time
– Jog 1 mile at an easy pace
– Spend 10 minutes doing dynamic warm-up stretches
– Hit range balls for 15 minutes while taking brisk 10-15 second breaks between shots
– Putt for 10 minutes while waiting to tee off
– Walk at a vigorous pace between shots
– Make faster swings using power from your lower body
– Avoid sitting between holes; instead do light yoga or pilates poses
– Limit time spent looking for lost balls
– Carry your bag or use a push cart
– Swing harder when using longer clubs like woods
– Jog the last mile back to your car after finishing

This workout alternates golfing with additional exercise to really rev your metabolism. The result can be over 2,000 calories burned for a great fat-burning effect.

The Best Golf Courses for Burning Calories

Certain golf courses enable more calorie burning than others. Here are features that increase exercise intensity:

– Hilly or uneven terrain – Burning more calories ascending elevation
– Long yards between holes – Added walking distance
– Few cart paths – Needing to walk through grass and terrain
– Limited golf cart availability – Having to carry clubs and walk
– Many water hazards – More time wading and climbing in and out
– Fast greens – Quicker pace of play equals more exertion

Look for courses touting their rugged landscape or number of hills. Ask about availability of caddies and carts to pick a higher calorie burn course.

Is Golf Good Exercise for Weight Loss?

Golf can definitely be good exercise for losing excess fat and body weight. Here is how golf supports weight loss:

– Burns 500-1,000 calories per hour of play
– 18 holes burns as many calories as several miles of jogging
– All-day tournaments lead to massive calorie expenditure
– Low-impact nature prevents injury for obese golfers
– Provides motivation to walk 10,000+ steps in a day
– Promotes adherence because it is fun and social
– Played outdoors for extra mood-boosting benefits
– Allows all fitness levels to burn calories and improve golf skills

While strength training and sprinting burn more calories per hour, few people can safely do those activities for 4-5 hours like a round of golf. The duration and consistency of golf make it great for losing weight over time.

How Many Calories You Must Cut to Lose Weight

To lose one pound per week, you need to have a 500 calorie per day deficit through diet, exercise, or both combined. Here is the math:

– There are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat
– To lose one pound in a week requires cutting 3,500 calories
– Spread over 7 days, that equals a 500 daily calorie deficit
– Playing golf burns 500-1,000 calories for most people
– Therefore golf can help create the 3,500 weekly deficit for weight loss

This shows how golf has huge potential to help with weight management goals. Combine golf with other activity and a healthy diet for amplified results.


Playing 18 holes of golf can burn over 1,500 calories for the average person. Factors like your weight, gender, and effort level impact exact calorie expenditure. Golf promotes weight loss by providing 4+ hours of walking, swinging, and other exercise. It also builds muscle endurance over time. Pair golf with a healthy diet and other active hobbies for optimal fat burning. Being mindful of intensity, limiting cart use, and hydration can help maximize your calorie burn on the course.

Leave a Comment