Like a lot of people I’ve had a few conversations about how to lose those lockdown pounds (or stones!) and people have said, “Sure, playing golf must be good for you.”  Well, that got me thinking – how far do I actually walk when I play 18 holes? It’s a bit like asking “How long is a piece of string?” as there are so many variables, such as

  • which course?  Some courses are over 7,000 yards whilst others are under 5,500.
  • do you have to walk far between holes?
  • do you keep the ball in the middle of the fairway or do you zig-zag your way round the course?
  • how often do you venture off piste to help your playing partners find their balls?

All these factors will have a significant bearing, but is it possible to come up with some sort of ball-park figure? Well, after a little research I came across an article by Golf Monthly’s Jeremy Ellwood.  In 2018 he took part in an “experiment” conducted by The R&A’s director of research and testing, Dr Steve Otto.  Dr Otto gave attendees at the European Institute of Golf Course Architects conference a tracking device as they set off for a round on the Championship Links at Royal County Down.

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The findings were:

  • The average distance walked was 6.6 miles, or a distance 69% greater than the scorecard yardage alone.
  • The shortest distance walked was 5.7 miles, or a distance 47% greater than the scorecard yardage alone.
  • The longest distance walked was 7.8 miles, or precisely double the scorecard’s yardage!

There was a lot of variation amongst the results, but this experiment shows that we actually walk a lot further than the figures on the score card suggest!  You need to add anywhere between 47% and 100% of the course’s yardage to guestimate how far you might travel on your next round!  Don’t underestimate the health benefits of a round of golf!

With so much wearable technology these days you can track your own movement on the course.  Last week I was amazed to discover that I’d walked 11 km – but then it clicked with me that I’d forgotten to stop the App until after I’d driven through Donaghmore!!!


Why not track your next round and tell me how far you walked in the comments section below?