RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links

Walk it out

A new study just revealed some surprising results about walking vs. riding

January 14, 2023


Listen, I want to just start by saying that you should enjoy playing golf however you want to enjoy playing golf. If that means walking, using a push cart, or riding, we're not here to tell you how to play the game that we all love.

All of that said, I did find this recent study published in the World Journal of Advanced Research and Reviews in December rather interesting.

In the study, titled "Energy expenditure compared to mental focus & score in three modes of golf transport/play," the three authors—Neil Ernest Wolkodoff, Gerald Martin Haase and Ben Nathaniel Pennymon—identified a group of 10 golfers with an average age of 64 and an average handicap of 10.8 (for nine holes).



The golfers were split into three groups: One group would use a golf cart, the second a push cart, and the third a motorized push cart. Each golfer wore a "portable metabolic system," which measured their heart rate and oxygen levels, among other things, and completed a mental focus survey.

Let's run through some of the more interesting results.

The walkers burned more calories

The walkers had a higher average heart rate (99 beats per minute for a push cart and 90 bpm for an electronic push cart) than the motor cart (83 bpm). Accordingly, the walkers burned more calories—almost 80 per hour—than the riders.

The walkers had better focus

It seems walking helped the golfers focus on their games more adeptly, too. According to the study, the walkers registered better "mental focus" than those riding a cart. Those using an electric push cart scored 6.63 out of a possible 10, whereas those using a golf cart scored 5.01.

The walkers shot lower scores

But, of course, in golf the scorecard is king. So how did it read after this? Perhaps due to the better focus brought about by walking, the golfers using push cart and electronic push carts finished 10.4 and 10.2 strokes over par for the nine holes they played—more than a full shot better than those using a golf cart, who finished 11.5 strokes over par.

Anyway, it's just one study, but an interesting one! We probably all knew that walking while you play is good for you from a health perspective, but who knew it may also may help you shoot better scores?