Tee Up for Health: The Health Benefits of Golf

Many play golf to unwind, get outdoors and maybe wager a few friendly bets with friends, but a lesser-known attribute of golf is that it’s also a great workout.

Although it’s a slow-moving sport, the game is a great way to burn calories because most golf rounds last anywhere from three to five hours. What you do during your time on the course can greatly affect the amount of calories you burn. The greatest influence is if you choose to walk it or traverse it on a golf cart.

According to GolfLink, most golfers will find themselves walking about five miles during an average game. In contrast, if you choose to take a cart, you’ll only be walking about one mile.

Whether or not you carry your clubs with you also factors into the amount of calories you’ll burn on the golf course. According to GolfLink, the average man who is walking and carrying his clubs for a full 18 holes will burn 1,442 calories.

If you don’t carry your clubs but travel the course with them using a push or pull cart, you can see a calorie burn of 1,436.

If you don’t mind walking but use a caddie to carry your clubs, you’ll see a slight decrease in the amount of calories burned, coming in at 1,226. Golfers who choose to navigate the course riding in a golf cart will burn about 822 calories.

If golfing sounds like a great workout for you, you’re in luck because DFW is home to several municipal and private golf courses, 27 of which were named as the top 100 golf courses in Texas by The Dallas Morning News.

Some notable courses that made the top 10 are the Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas (No. 9); the Vaquero Club in Westlake, Texas (No. 8); the Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas (No. 4); the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth (No. 3); and the Dallas National Golf Club (No. 1).

Want to hit the green but don’t want to break the bank? DFW is home to some of the top 25 economy courses as well. DFW’s thriftiest greens are Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas (No. 9); Split Rail Links and Golf Club in Aledo, Texas (No. 12); Luna Vista Golf Course in Dallas (No. 13); both the old course and lakes course at Firewheel Golf Park in Garland, Texas (No. 17 and 18); Twin Creeks Golf Club in Allen, Texas (No. 19); and Sherrill Park Golf Course in Richardson, Texas (No.25). All come in at less than $49.

Before you hit some of the area’s best courses, don’t forget to stretch. Just like any exercise, it’s important to warm up to avoid injury.

We suggest starting out with these moves about 20 minutes before heading out to the first hole.

Step 1: Walk for Three to Five Minutes

Take a brisk walk around the clubhouse, driving range or putting green. Take this time to clear your mind as well.

Step 2: Supported Squats

This will elevate your heart rate and increase blood flow to the major muscle groups you will be using during your game.

  1. Hold a club overhead with your hands at either end, arms fully stretched.
  2. Squat down until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground, and then stand up. Repeat this 10 times.
  3. Rest and repeat.

Step 3: Stretching Exercises

Complete the following stretches in order.

Arm Swings

  1. Stand tall and hold arms out to your side.
  2. Slowly swing your arms back and forth across the front of your body.
  3. Repeat this continuous motion for 30 seconds.

Trunk Rotations

  1. Stand with a shoulder-width stance. Place a club on your shoulders holding it at either end.
  2. With knees slightly bent, bend forward from the waist slightly.
  3. Turn from side to side aiming to get the ends of the club directly in front of you with each turn.
  4. Complete a total of 15-20 full swings.

Side Bends With Club

  1. Stand with a shoulder-width stance. Place a club on your shoulders.
  2. Lean to one side keeping your torso straight. Do not bend forward or backwards.
  3. Hold for a count of two and then repeat to the other side.
  4. Complete eight to 10 stretches on each side.

Standing Shoulder Stretch

  1. Stand with a shoulder-width stance and place both hands on the end of the club.
  2. Lean forward keeping your back flat until you feel a stretch in your shoulders.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat a total of three times.

Leg Swings

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your upper body perpendicular to the ground, swing your left leg forward and backward.
  3. Do not swing your leg so hard that you cannot keep your upper body from moving.
  4. Repeat for 10 full swings, and then repeat on the other leg.

Alternate Toe Touches*

  1. Start by standing with your feet spread as far apart as comfortably possible.
  2. Lean forward toward one leg and reach for your foot or until a comfortable stretch is felt in your lower back and hamstrings.
  3. Now try to touch the other foot with the opposite arm. This motion should be continuous, alternately touching each foot with the opposite hand.

*Skip this stretch if you are prone to lower back pain or if it causes you any discomfort.

Wrist Extensions

  1. Stand with your right arm extended straight out.
  2. Pull back your fingers with the other hand until you feel a stretch in your forearm.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other wrist. Repeat again for each wrist.

Weighted Club

Using either a weighted club or two clubs held together, perform 10 complete swings. However, rather than stopping between each swing, it should be done in one continuous motion. For example, start with a backswing into a full follow-through and immediately from the finish position take the club into the backswing position.

Step 4: Practice Swings, Rest and Go!

Complete two to three minutes of practice swings, and then rest for a few minutes before you tee off. Now you’re all warmed up and ready to go.

So no matter the reason you head out to the golf course, you can now add “healthy workout” to the list. Use these tips to play some of North Texas’ finest courses, prevent injury and burn some extra calories during your next tee time.


  • Ken Beaman says:

    Great article. I am 84 and play about twice a week. I am handicapped so I use a cart and save as many steps as possible I follow the warm up and usually shoot my age which is a rare thing for most golfers. We have five in their prime 80s and a competitive group at 10Am daily at Van Zandt Country Club in Canton Tx. Come join us sometime at a real Country , Country Club where you will enjoy staying fit.

  • Kenneth Bujnowski says:

    I am an avid golfer. I started golfing when I was 51 years old, and I am 68 years old now. I cannot walk all 18 holes, but I walk as much of the course as I can. In February 2014 I had a major heart attack. I did not play again until August 2014. I have an AICD now, which helps control my heart rhythm. I recommend golf to everyone, old, young, men, women, and kids. It keeps me going!!!

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