Golf seems like a sport that doesn’t require much athleticism and activity. Although there’s some truth to that, saying that golfers don’t expend effort at all isn’t entirely accurate.
Over 200 calories per hour are burned hitting golf balls on average. If you swing around 100 times an hour, each swing burns over two calories. This number can vary depending on factors such as height, weight, and temperature.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the factors that can influence the number of calories burned, and how playing golf can help with weight control.
Number of Calories Burned While Playing Golf
To be clear, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer as to how many calories are burned playing golf. As noted, the average person will burn slightly over 200 calories per hour while playing at the driving range.
I use the driving range because it’s the most accurate measurement for calories burned exclusively through hitting golf balls. There’s little extra movement involved, and you don’t have to use up calories when pulling or carrying your clubs.
If you swing 100 times an hour, that’s about two calories per swing. However, as I noted earlier, other factors can influence the number of calories burned while playing golf.
Factors That Can Influence the Number of Calories Burned While Playing Golf
Your weight will significantly affect the number of calories you burn. The more you weigh, the more mass your body has. The greater your mass, the more energy is needed to move and control your body. Therefore, you’ll burn more calories due to the higher energy expenditure.
For example, according to NutriStrategy, a person weighing 155 lbs (70.3 kg) will burn an average of 211 calories per hour playing golf on the range. On the other hand, a person weighing 180 lbs (86.2 kg) will burn an average of 245 calories per hour playing golf on the range.
When surrounding temperatures are either too high or low, extra calories get burned. This is because of how your body works to maintain an optimal temperature. When it’s too hot, you lose heat faster. When it’s too cold, you shiver to generate more internal heat.
Both of these processes require energy, so additional calories are burned when temperatures swing between extremes.
Caveat: Although temperature differences can affect the number of calories burned, the effect is usually minor. You can burn a few extra calories playing in extreme heat, but doing so can pose health concerns like heat stroke. Playing at moderate temperatures is ideal.
The total distance you cover during your golf game and the calories you burn to move that distance adds up over time. For example, a person weighing 155 lbs (70.3 kg) burns an average of 211 calories an hour playing golf in the driving range (or playing miniature golf).
On the other hand, that same person would burn an average of 317 calories per hour if they were playing a regular game of golf on a proper golf course. This is because you don’t move much in a driving range compared to a golf course.
Caveat: If you want to burn as many calories as possible with movement, make sure to use comfortable shoes that provide sufficient support to your feet.
One top-rated shoe for men is the Adidas Men’s Tech Response Golf Shoes (available on Amazon.com). The materials are designed for maximum breathability and comfort no matter how often or intensely you move around the course.
If you’re a woman, you can go with the Adidas Women’s Summervent Spikeless Golf Shoes (available on Amazon.com). The shoe is specially designed to cushion as much of your movement as possible, and its upper parts are made of 50% recycled materials. Plus, you can choose neutral colors like white, or buy a pink pair for that feminine touch.
Pulling or Carrying Clubs
Pulling or carrying clubs also makes a difference. A person weighing 155 lbs (70.3 kg) playing golf (where they have to walk and carry their clubs) burns an average of 317 calories an hour. Additionally, they’d burn 303 calories per hour pulling their clubs or 246 calories per hour using a power cart. Funny how the simple act of carrying your clubs affects the number of calories burned!
Caveat: You may have noticed that the difference in calories burned per hour between carrying and pulling clubs is only 14 calories. Therefore, it makes sense to pull your clubs for the sake of convenience and comfort.
How Golf Can Help You Control Your Weight
A typical game of golf lasts an average of 4 hours. This means that, for example, a person weighing 155 lbs (70.3 kg) would burn an average of 1268 calories in a single game of golf.
If this person were to swing in a driving range for the same period, they would burn an average of 844 calories.
These aren’t negligible amounts, especially considering that the recommended daily calorie intake is around 2,500 calories for the average man and 2,000 calories for the average woman. Further, burning 3,500 calories results in a loss of 1 pound (0.45 kg).
Considering these numbers, I think it’s safe to say that golf can be a good way to control your weight, especially if you’re an avid player.
Granted, in terms of the number of calories burned per hour, golf pales in comparison to more intensive physical activities (e.g. HIIT training) that target calorie-burning directly. However, you can play golf for much longer periods, meaning you have more leeway to expend excess energy.
Playing a game of golf burns an average of 317 calories per hour for a 155 lbs (70.3 kg) person. However, this involves plenty of movement in the form of walking and carrying your clubs. On the other hand, playing golf in the driving range burns 211 calories per hour.
Since you swing about 100 times an hour in a driving range, each golf swing burns over two calories. However, several factors can influence this number. Overall, golf is a moderate exercise and can be used for weight control under the right circumstances.