Blog Weight Loss Calories Burned Playing Golf: Driving Calorie Burns to Meet Your Weight Loss Par

Calories Burned Playing Golf: Driving Calorie Burns to Meet Your Weight Loss Par

The calories burned playing golf will have you yelling, four! So you’re a golfer seeking ways to lose weight while enjoying your favorite social event or physical activity. You know you’re exhausted after a round, but how many calories are you burning while playing golf?

The calories burned while playing golf are impressive enough to keep you on the course. Determining the calories you burn as a unique individual is challenging. Still, let’s help you estimate the calories you’re burning before sharing tips and benefits. 

How Many Calories Do You Burn in 18 Holes of Golf?

Who said golf is not exercise? The calories burned playing golf show a different truth. Here are some ballpark calories burned during 18-hole games:

  • A 150 lbs. man walking at 3 mph can burn approximately 1215 calories on 18 holes (13, 20)
  • A 180 lbs. man walking 4 mph can burn approximately 2015.6 calories on 18 holes (13, 20)
  • You’ll burn around 225.65 calories on 18 holes if you take 6000 steps (5, 17)
  • You’ll burn around 361.05 calories on 18 holes if you take 9600 steps (5, 17)
  • The calorie burn multiplies up to 6.8 times on rougher courses (4, 16)

Counting your calories is more complicated than your steps, the hole count, or the terrain. Your specific calories burned are also unique to your walking pace, whether you carry your bag, use the cart, or walk. Let’s help you understand the calorie counts.

When it comes to weight loss, progress is made by inches, not miles, so it’s much harder to track and a lot easier to give up. BetterMe app is your personal trainer, nutritionist and support system all in one. Start using our app to stay on track and hold yourself accountable!

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9 vs. 18 Holes Calories Burned

Let’s use a simple way of calculating calories burned in 9 and 18 holes by considering the time it takes to complete a course. Independent Golf Reviews suggests a 9-hole course takes 2 hours and 15 minutes, while an 18-hole course takes 4 hours and 30 minutes (13). 

Let’s use the Omni Calculator as it factors your weight, gender, and speed into the result (20). A 150 lbs. man would burn 1215 calories walking at 3 mph for the 4.5 hours average to complete 18 holes. The same man would burn 607.5 calories, walking the same pace to complete 9 holes. 

Meanwhile, a 180 lbs. man would burn 2015.6 calories walking at 4 mph for 4.5 hours to complete 18 holes. The same man would burn 1007.8 calories, walking the same pace for 9 holes in 2 hours and 15 minutes (20). A larger person burns more calories to do the same tasks. 

Walking vs. Riding Calories Burned

The New York Times published research on a 9-hole golfing experience (3). Individuals who used a cart over the 9 holes burned 411 calories on average. Meanwhile, those who walked burned 718-721 calories on average. It’s a leap if you want to burn more calories. 

Golf Bag vs. Pushcart Calories Burned

The New York Times research also showed the difference between carrying a golf bag versus a pushcart in a 9-hole game (3). People who carried the golf bag burned slightly more calories at 721 than those with a pushcart, who burned 718 calories. It isn’t a significant difference, but carrying a golf bag if you have a good back, to burn more calories.

calories burned playing golf  

Caddie vs. No-Caddie

The same research in the New York Times showed that walking with a caddie for 9 holes only burned 621 calories (3). You still burn significant calories, but losing the caddie may help you lose more weight. Now, let’s get more technical with the calories burned. 

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Walking 1 Mile Calories: A Detailed Breakdown

Course Size Calories Burned

Let’s discover the calories burned by the average US course’s yard length first. The United States Golf Association says the average back tee length is 1500-8000+ yards for 18 holes (18). Let’s look at the calories burned by counting your steps per yard.

You’ll take 1800 steps on a 1500-yard back tee to finish the game (5). Or, you’ll take 6000 steps on a 5000 yards back tee. Alternatively, you’ll take 9600 steps on an 8000-yard back tee to finish all 18 holes (5). The examples consider you walk straight without zig-zagging. 

Now, let’s turn those steps into calories, which even considers your height, weight, and speed. The calories burned are for a 5’9” man weighing 150 lbs. and walking at 3 mph. This man burns the following calories for different steps (17):

  • 69.46 calories for 1800 steps
  • 231.54 calories for 6000 steps
  • 370.5 calories for 9600 steps

Course Terrain Calories Burned

Golf courses don’t run in straight lines. Instead, they have hills, zig-zag fairways, bunkers, and roughs where you navigate to find the ball. The best way to determine how many calories you burn playing golf on rough terrain with challenging walks is by understanding the metabolic equivalent (METs) of your energy expenditure. 

A MET considers the energy you burn while doing a task. Sitting still uses one MET a minute. However, more vigorous tasks use more METs. Two METs double your calories burned per minute, while four METs will quadruple the amount (4). The faster you walk, the more METs you use to burn more calories. 

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The more the terrain challenges you, the more METs you’ll use to burn multiplied calories. You can manually calculate calories burned with the METs equation (4). The calories you burn per minute are (MET x body weight in kg x 3.5) ÷ 200. Walking 3.5-4 mph is already 4.8 METs, while walking uphill uses 5 to 8 METs (16). Rougher terrain burns more calories. 

How Many Calories Do You Burn Mini-Golfing?

Miniature golf and the driving range would burn similar calories as they use about three METs per minute (4). So, you’ll burn 215 calories per hour on the driving range or playing on a miniature course. You don’t do as much walking with either golfing activity. 

How Many Calories Do You Burn Hitting 100 Golf Balls?

The average golfer burns roughly 215 calories per hour at the driving range, burning about 1.79 calories per minute (4). The Golf Insider UK says it takes roughly an hour to hit 50-60 balls (10). Suppose you hit 50 an hour. In that case, you only burn 107.4 calories per hour. The pace of your swings will also determine how many calories you burn per hour.

Read more: Calories Burned Ice Skating and How To Turn It Into a Workout

How to Lose Weight Playing Golf

Consider how you burn more calories while playing golf to know how to maximize weight loss on the course. For example, start by playing 18 holes, not 9 (13, 20). Also, walk the course, carry a golf bag if your back allows it, and ditch the caddie to burn more calories (3).

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Furthermore, choose a longer course with rougher terrain to challenge yourself to lose more weight (18, 17, 4). Also, golfing may be the cardio sport of the day, but adding a nutritionally dense diet with some strength training can further improve weight loss outcomes(14). 

10 Benefits of Playing Golf

There are 10 reasons to play golf beyond weight loss. Let’s see how you can benefit from it.

3 Social Benefits of Golf

Let’s start with the social benefits of golf because it’s a social game. The Circle Health Group shares three reasons golf benefits your social life (1):

  • Team sport boosts your social skills and self-esteem,
  • You foster a healthier sense of competition among handicaps,
  • You meet new people with similar interests and develop community connectedness.

3 Mental Benefits of Golf

Golf has benefits beyond the social time you spend with your 19th-hole buddy. Golf is also a mental game that requires attention. The Circle Health Group states that golf can help you improve concentration, hand-eye coordination, creative thinking, and accuracy (1). 

Furthermore, the time outdoors can feel better than expected. A review published in Maturitas shows how exercise can elevate mood by releasing endorphins or feel-good brain chemicals (6). Exercise may reduce stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms. 

Finally, a meta-analysis from Ghana suggests physical activity can protect the brain from neurodegenerative disorders (15). However, the results showed that it protects better against Alzheimer’s Disease than other cognitive decline and dementias. 

calories burned playing golf  

4 Golf Health Benefits

You already know that golf burns calories. However, it has more health benefits. Edinburg researchers found that golf may promote healthier and active aging (2). Playing golf may help older individuals improve their balance and muscle strength. Also, it is a low-impact activity, suitable for all ages. In addition, Harvard suggests golf may improve core strength to help seniors further (8). 

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WebMD says that golf may also help seniors or those with poor lung capacity stay active with cardio workouts (12). Cardio workouts aren’t easy once your lungs stop working at their fullest capacity. Regular golf games allow you to walk at your own pace, even using a cart or pushcart if necessary. You’ll still burn calories with a cart or pushcart. 

The Circle Health Group suggests that playing golf may decrease bad cholesterol and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (1). Finally, Scandinavian scientists found that golfers live five years longer than non-golfers on average. Their socioeconomic status, gender, and age didn’t matter. Golfers, likely from being active, live longer than non-golfers. 

Swinging toward healthier hearts and minds is a bonus. The health benefits mean you should take up a round of golf to stay fit and healthy. 

BetterMe App helps you achieve your body goals with ease and efficiency by helping to choose proper meal plans and effective workouts. Start using our app and you will see good results in a short time.

For more health advice:


  • Is Golf Good for Heart Health?

Golf for seniors is a heart-healthy sport that allows social activity and improved fitness. Harvard suggests golf is the ideal low-impact sport that allows anyone at any fitness or health level to enjoy physical activity (8). It’s an easier method for seniors to get 10,000 steps a day than other vigorous sports activities. 

  • Does Golf Reduce Belly Fat?

No single exercise burns belly fat because spot weight loss isn’t possible. However, WebMD suggests brisk walking is a fantastic method to help burn fat around the belly and liver (19). You’ll also need strength training and a nutritionally adequate diet to burn body fat and achieve a slimmer waist (14).

  • Is Golf Good for Your Back?

The disadvantages of playing golf include incorrect form during swings that may hurt your back. Research in Spine Health suggests improper swing form stresses your lower back and may cause injury or pain (9). Here’s what to avoid for proper swings: 

  • Don’t bend too far to the trailing side with a forward swing.
  • Avoid prolonging the swing by rotating your body too much.
  • Don’t rotate your leg inward at the hip to limit your range of motion.
  • How Many Times a Week Should I Play Golf to Get Fitter?

Victoria’s Health Channel confirms that playing golf 3-5 times a week on an 18-hole course optimally contributes to your heart endurance and fitness (11). Playing golf three times a week isn’t always realistic. In that case, play 1-2 games weekly and complete the rest of your 150 hours of moderate-intensity cardio with other workouts (7).

The Bottom Line

The calories burned playing golf are worth every step you take. They’re even worth every laugh among friends. So, grab your clubs and hit the longest course you can to snag those benefits and burn calories. Remember to use the tips here to burn more calories with golf.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 10 Benefits of Playing Golf (n.d.,
  2. 2018 International Consensus Statement on Golf and Health to Guide Action By People, Policymakers, and the Golf Industry (2018,
  3. A Little Scientific Research for All Those 19th Hole Debates (2010, 
  4. Calories Burned Playing Golf | Calculator & Formula (n.d., 
  5. Convert Steps to Yard – Conversion of Measurement Units (n.d.,
  6. Exercise and Mental Health (2017,
  7. Exercise: How Much Do I Need Every Day? (2023,
  8. Getting Into the Swing of Golf (2020,
  9. Golf and Low Back Pain (2021,
  10. Golf Driving Range: How to Optimize Your Learning (2021,
  11. Golf – Health Benefits (n.d.,
  12. Health Benefits of Golf (2022,
  13. How Long Does 18 Holes of Golf Take? (2023,
  14. How to Lose Weight With Cardiovascular Exercise (2019,
  15. Impact of Physical Activity on Cognitive Decline, Dementia, and Its Subtypes: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies (2017,
  16. MET Values for 800+ Activities – Golf (2022,
  17. Steps to Calories Calculator (2023,
  18. Tee Options on Golf Courses: Supply, Demand, and Opportunity (2022, 
  19. Top Exercises for Belly Fat (2023,
  20. Walking Calorie Calculator (2023,
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