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How Many Calories Burned in Hitting Golf Balls?

by Amy Neighbors

    Living an active lifestyle is one of the key components to staying healthy. Activities such as playing a game of golf or hitting golf balls at a driving range are great ways to burn calories. The goal is to keep the body moving, increase heart rate and have fun.

    Definition

    A calorie is a unit of energy that is found in all foods. The body uses this energy to complete all the necessary chemical functions and work that is required to maintain life. Each person has different caloric needs based on their height, weight, lifestyle and metabolic activity. According to the website A Healthier You, a woman 31 to 50 years old should consume 1,700 to 2,100 calories a day and a man in that age range should consume 2,200 to 3,000 calories per day. If you hope to burn calories while playing golf, to maintain or lose weight and stay fit, then it is necessary to stay within the daily caloric recommendations.

    Average Calorie Burn

    The number of calories burned during golf depends on body weight, workout intensity, fitness level and metabolic activity. The website NutriStrategy maintains a list of average calories burned during one hour for various golf activities. Based on NutriStrategy's list, a 155-lb. person will burn 281 calories per hour playing a general round of golf. The average golf course takes the average golfer about four hours to complete, while a par-3 course with 18 holes will take approximately two hours to complete. Therefore, the average golfer will burn about 1,124 calories during an average round. Cut that in half for a par-3 course or a nine-hole round on a regular course.

    Walking the Course

    If a good workout and a higher calorie burn is important, then walking the course the best option when possible. The average golfer will walk about five miles while playing an 18-hole course. Golfers can choose to carry their own bags or pull their bags behind them. NutriStrategy gives the following total calories burned for one hour of walking the course carrying a golf bag and pulling a golf bag: Golfing on a course while carrying golf clubs: 387 calories burned. Golfing on a course while pulling clubs in a cart: 352 calories burned.

    Riding in a cart

    For several reasons, a golfer may choose to ride in a golf cart as opposed to walking the course. This obviously cuts down on the golfer's exercise and total caloric burn. Again, using NutriStrategy's list of activity, a golfer riding in a cart will burn 246 calories per hour. That is more than 125 calories per hour less than a golfer walking the course carrying or pulling her own bag.

    Golf Range or Miniature Golf

    Not everyone plays golf on a course. In fact, many will go to a driving range and hit golf balls or play miniature golf. These exercises are less intense as they do not include walking of the course or the weight of the golf bag. NutriStrategy states that a 155-lb. person will burn approximately 211 calories per hour hitting golf balls at the range or playing miniature golf.

    Considerations

    Not all golf courses are created equal. Many courses, such as those in the Midwest, tend to be more flat, while those in places like Colorado and North Carolina are more mountainous. Walking a course with a rugged terrain is going to increase the intensity of the golf game, especially with the added weight of a golf bag. The heart and breathing rates are going to increase, which will increase the metabolic activity and caloric need.

    About the Author

    Amy Neighbors is president and master trainer of Swing Athletics Golf Performance Fitness. She is an AFAA-certified group fitness instructor, SCW and NHE personal trainer, and ARC CPR. Neighbors holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Illinois. She began writing for online publications while working on her master's degree in 2006.

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