How Many Calories Does Golfer Burn?
When you are busy convincing your family why golf is your first priority, a few scientific arguments could help. Research finally stands by your side with solid numbers. Golf indeed melts away the fat, layer by layer. The heavier you are, the more you have to lose and the healthier you can get. This does depend on a lot of factors like whether you use a golf cart, your anaerobic threshold, the topography of the golf course etc.. Thankfully Neil Wolkodoff, a messiah for all of us golfers, did some painstaking experiments to bring us the number of these little goblins leaving our body for good. Golf is great workout option. It does not require any aggressive action and you get to breathe in fresh air at your favorite spot in the world.
Wolkodoff, the Director of Center for Health and Sport Science at the Rose Medical Center, Denver gathered up 8 male volunteers in the 26-61 age group. Their handicaps ranged between 2 and 17. He got them to play nine-hole rounds and noted various aspects of their golf game and calorie shedding. They wore tracking equipment that gave heart rate, oxygen use, distance walked per round and even carbon dioxide production. Each golfer went through the following four scenarios:
Carrying the Golf Bag: This burnt the most calories at 721 calories through 9 holes
Pushing a Golf Cart: This golf game burned 718 calories
Caddy Accompanying them: When the golfers had caddies doing the grunt work, they burned 613 calories per round
In a Golf Cart: When the golfers used a motorized golf cart, they burned 411 calories
So at the face value, carrying the golf bag and walking burns almost twice as many calories as driving a motorized golf cart around the course. It’s also interesting to note that pushing the golf cart doesn’t burn too many calories fewer than carrying the clubs. So even if you are an obsessive calorie-counter, you can stick to a golf cart. Your back will thank you for keeping the weight off it. Golf clubs are heavy and they can cause damage to your back with the sustained weight.
The conditions of the study were closely monitored. External factors like climate and approach to the holes were taken into account. So, the weather was similar on all days of the experiments. It was ensured that the golfers approach all holes in a similar way in every scenario. As a side result, the study also indicated that the golfers registered the lowest scores while using a motorized cart. And they saw that the scores increased as the physical fatigue increased. A simple explanation is that if you use a golf cart to get around, you will be free to expend most of your energy in swinging the golf club and make the most out of it. But this needs to be further verified.
Don’t go walking off to the golf course with golf bag strapped on, just because we said it burns calories. You have to figure in the fatigue too. You might get a lot of exercise out of walking, but you must be alert and fully energized to take the shot. But can you do it if you have just gotten off the mule duty?
This depends on your anaerobic threshold. Also called lactate threshold, this is the intensity of physical exercise at which the concentration of lactate starts showing exponential increase in the blood. After this point you will lose the concentration and coordination to get a good swing. When you have just finished a strenuous walk and you have to make a strategic shot, like the perfect golf chip your body will betray you unless you give your heartbeat time to return to normal rates.
Anaerobic threshold levels vary from person to person. You can find yours and use it to burn the maximum calories with golf or even other exercises. This is a concept that endurance sports primarily hinge around. There are ways to increase your anaerobic threshold. This would require dedicated exercise routines. You burn calories faster if you work out at your anaerobic threshold.
Is golf all the exercise you need?
No, golf alone cannot replace regular exercise as a way of staying fit. You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of weight. And that means playing nine-hole rounds five days a week. Unless golfing is your day-job, that does not happen. Also your golfing will improve if your anaerobic threshold increases. This can be achieved with aerobic or anaerobic conditioning exercises. Interval training and volume training will help you achieve a better margin of heart rate where you are sharp as a golfer.
With these facts, you can now argue that golf is indeed a sport. Swinging a golf club uses up tremendous energy and muscle activity. Exercise outside the golf course helps you do better on the course. Those are tell-tale signs of a sport. So swing away and happy calorie burning!