Walking the golf course is considered a great form of exercise. The typical golfer will walk between 4 and 6 miles during the round, taking nearly 10,000 steps (depending on his or her stride length), and burn up to 900 calories. Not to mention the additional calories you can burn from swinging the golf club throughout your round.

Walking the course provides many benefits, including:

Benefits Of Walking The Golf Course

  • Improved health through exercise

  • Burning up to 1000 calories

  • Possible weight loss

  • Improved cardiovascular health

  • Improved pulmonary and cardiovascular fitness

  • Reduced risk of stroke and heart disease

  • Boosts immune function

  • Improvement of health conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Improve your mood

  • Protect the course – Golf carts can damage the track

  • Helps to lower high cholesterol and diabetes

  • Improvement of joint pain

  • Reduction of muscular pain, arthritis, and overall stiffness

  • Extend your life

  • Save money on cart fees

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of avoiding the golf cart and walking while you play is that you keep the body moving. You certainly have heard the phrase “use it or lose it,” and keeping active and walking the golf course is a way to “keep using it.”

image of pushing a golf bag - AEC Info

How Far Do You Walk in 18 holes of Golf?

A typical round will have you walking between 4 and 6 miles, or roughly 10,000 steps. Several factors will go into the distance traveled, such as the golf course’s length, how straight you hit the golf ball, and the length of your stride. 

Doctors and other health professionals usually advise taking at least 10,000 steps a day, and a mile is roughly 2000 steps, so you should shoot for walking about 5 miles a day.  Walking an average round of 18 holes while will help you achieve your goal of walking 5 miles.

The skill level of golfers and the length of stride will have the most significant impact on distance walked. During a day trip to the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island in South Carolina, one of the shorter members of our group struggled during his round and racked up more than 26,000 steps on his way to shooting 100.

How Long Should it Take to Walk the Golf Course?

A foursome with average golf skills should take about four hours walking 18 holes on a typical course. The experience and skill level will play a role in the length of the round. Playing golf while riding in a cart takes roughly the same amount of time unless you are restricted to the cart path only,  and if that is the case a walking player can expect to finish their 18 holes faster than your playing partners riding with their golf bag in carts.

Tips for Walking the Golf Course

When walking the golf course, you will either need to carry your bag or use a pull or Golf Bag Cart. If you decide to carry your clubs, you will want to:

  • Remove excess balls and other golf accessories to reduce the weight of the bag
  • Please bring water and be sure to drink it consistently during your round
  • Pack band-aids in your bag for possible blisters
  • Wear Comfortable Golf shoes

  • Place your bag along your route
  • Walk steadily to your ball
  • Pack some protein bars or snacks, going to exert more energy than usual
  • Sunscreen – no protection from the cart
  • Use some gold bond before your round on areas prone to chafe
  • Enjoy your walk

Walking Golf Course Etiquette

Walking during your next round may be great for your health and provide many benefits, but if you annoy your playing partners all day by not following the proper etiquette, then you may want to take a cart for your next round.

Here are a few unwritten rules you should follow when walking the course and carrying your bag or using a pushcart.

Be Sure to Keep Up

For many, the game of golf already takes too long. Most courses are happy when you finish your round in under four hours and thirty minutes. If you are like the writing staff at AEC Info, this is at least 30 minutes too long. So, if you are going to be walking during your match, please be sure to keep up. You are the one that has decided to walk compared to riding in a cart, so it is your responsibility to keep up with everyone else.

If you are a pretty decent stick and keep the ball in the middle of the fairway, you shouldn’t have any issues keeping up with your group. In this case, be sure not to hit out of turn unless it is something your playing partners have agreed to before teeing off. You don’t want to walk ahead of the person who still has yet to hit.

However, if you walk slow and tend to spray the ball all over the course, like most amateur and weekend warriors, you can request to play ready golf so you can hit even when it is not your turn and you may want to walk ahead of your group after hitting. This is something you should discuss during your round to avoid irritating any of your partners.

Planning Your Shots

Plan your shot while walking to your ball. You don’t have to rush and hit right away, but you also shouldn’t be holding everyone up while they wait for you to gauge distance, wind speed, club selection, etc.

Speaking of distance…if you don’t have a range finder, look for distance markers on the course as you approach your golf ball. Many amateurs are using rangefinders and can quickly get a distance, but if you are still a bit old school, start looking for markings on the ground during your walk.

When placing your golf bag on the tee box, please keep it in the rough and on the side, do not place it directly next to the tee markers. If you are walking and using a push cart, keep the pushcart off of the tee boxes.

Keep the Green Pristine

Under no circumstances should you place your bag on the green. You also want to avoid placing your golf bag or pushcart in the line of your opponent or partner and the green. They should not have to hit over your golf bag at any point in your round.

If you are walking with a push cart, never under any circumstances should you drive or pull your golf bag on the green. As far as carrying your bag on the green old school golfers will tell you that you should never do this, but with the new golf rules that went into effect in 2020, Golfers can fix any ball marks, pitch marks, and divots on the green, so this is now considered ok.

If you are overweight, drag your feet, and dig your heels into the ground when you are walking, then maybe you should avoid soft and wet greens while walking your favorite track. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but if you walk on the green with your bag on your shoulder or not, don’t walk in another golfers line.

No Distractions

Don’t fidget in your bag while others are hitting. This rule applies to those that carry, push their golf bag, or ride in a cart. Don’t distract your group when they are hitting.

Checking your phone consistently during the round is one of the easiest ways not to get invited back to play. Check your phone at the beginning of your round and the turn; otherwise, shut that ringer off and put it in your bag.

image of walking on the golf course - AEC InfoBe aware of the location of the next tee box. Paying attention to this is the easiest way for you to speed up your pace of play. When you walk to the green and the tee box is directly next to it, bring your putter and your driver.

You can save a lot of time by thinking about your next shot and whether or not you have to walk back in the same direction you just came from. Common sense goes a long way on most golf courses.

There are a number of reasons to love the game of golf, and the benefits of walking the course can’t be overstated.

The bottom line is your overall fitness and health with improve, and if done properly with a reasonable diet, you can also expect to drop a few pounds if you are walking courses consistently.