Seeing as how my clothes appeared to have shrunk while they were hanging in my wardrobe over the summer (they must have shrunk… surely I haven’t got bigger!?!) I actually checked out some gyms on-line recently, but that was as far as I got. Then a few days ago a friend cheered me up by sending me an article entitled “How many calories does a round of golf burn?”  (Did he think I needed to lose weight too?)

Well, the good news is that researchers at Golf Monthly claim that a round of golf burns as many calories as an average 30-minute gym session – somewhere in the order of 1,400 or 1,500 calories.  After all, you’re walking on average five miles and doing quite a lot of arm exercises.  Playing a more spaced out course, or a hillier one will obviously burn more calories than compact, flatter ones.  Also, how you play may have an impact too; if you play straight down the middle of the fairway you’ll not use up as many calories as someone whose drive goes into the rough on the right and then proceeds to criss-cross their way towards the hole.

The article included the following comment, “The good news for some, is that the fatter you are the more calories you will burn during your round.”  I didn’t know whether to be encouraged by that or not!

I tend to carry my clubs (just half the set) during the winter months and I often feel quite virtuous about that, thinking I am being super-fit, so I was surprised to discover that it there’s not much difference in the calorie count between carrying your clubs and pulling your bag on a trolley. Carrying your bag burns a few more calories – but it is literally only a few.

The evidence?  Neil Wolkodoff, director of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, conducted an experiment with eight male golfers, aged 26 to 61 with handicaps between 2 and 17. Over nine holes he found that these golfers burned an average of 721 calories carrying a bag, and 718 when using a trolley, so over the whole round the difference would only be 6 calories!

To put all this calorie burning in context I did a little research:

  • one Tesco Finest all-butter scone contains 258 calories
  • one portion of Tesco Beef Lasagne contains 618 calories
  • one portion of McCain Oven Chips contains 260 calories
  • one slice of Maltesers Pavlova contains 205 calories
  • one medium-sized banana contains 105 calories.

So, what did I conclude? After playing a round on my home course (which has a few hills) I reckon I can treat myself to seven and a half slices of Maltesers Pavlova!

For those of you who prefer liquid refreshment, Golf Monthly was quick to point out that a standard glass (175ml) of 12% wine contains 126 calories and a pint of 5% strength beer has 215 calories. This means after a healthy walk around 18 holes you can have a long sit down with a jar or two in the 19th hole and still end up well in credit on the calories front.

Food for thought.