The Health Benefits of Golf: More Than Just a Game

Golf is an engaging physical activity that provides both physical and mental health advantages, making it an excellent choice for people of all ages. 

Physical Health Benefits

Although it might not seem that way, the benefits of golf for physical health are numerous. Being outside in the fresh air alone is already good enough. 

photo of man swinging golf driver

Cardiovascular Health

One of the primary physical health benefits of golf is its positive impact on cardiovascular health. A typical round of golf involves walking several miles, especially if players choose to carry their clubs or use a pushcart. 

This moderate-intensity aerobic exercise helps increase heart rate and improves blood circulation, which can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and enhance the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently.

Muscle Strengthening

The act of swinging a golf club engages multiple muscle groups, including the core, arms, shoulders, and legs. 

This repetitive motion helps tone and strengthen muscles, contributing to better posture and reduced risk of injuries. 

Regular golfing can lead to improved muscle tone and endurance, enhancing overall physical fitness.

Weight Management

Engaging in a round of golf can burn a significant number of calories, particularly when walking the course. 

Estimates suggest that walking 18 holes while carrying or pushing a bag can expend between 500 and 2,000 calories, depending on factors like course terrain and the golfer’s fitness level. 

This calorie burn, combined with the low-impact nature of golf, makes it an effective exercise for weight management and combating obesity.

woman playing golf

Golf as Exercise

With their smart look golfers don’t really look like they’ve actually doing anything that’s burning calories. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Walking the Course

Walking is a fundamental part of playing golf and serves as an excellent form of exercise. On average, a golfer walks about 4-8 miles and takes between 11,000 and 17,000 steps during an 18-hole round. This level of physical activity surpasses what many achieve during traditional gym workouts.

Calorie Burn Statistics

Studies have shown that walking 18 holes can burn a substantial amount of calories, ranging from 500 to 2,000 per round. Even using a golf cart, which reduces physical exertion, can still burn a significant number of calories compared to a sedentary activity.

Comparison to Other Forms of Exercise

When compared to other forms of exercise, golf provides a unique combination of physical and mental benefits. 

While it may not have the high intensity of running or swimming, golf offers sustained moderate-intensity exercise that is accessible to a broader range of fitness levels. 

The social and mental aspects of golf contribute to its overall health benefits, making it a well-rounded form of exercise.

Mental Health Benefits

Focus and strategic thinking go hand in hand with golf. But, definitely are not the only mental benefits. 

Stress Reduction

Golf is not just beneficial for physical health; it also offers significant mental health benefits. Playing golf allows individuals to spend time outdoors in natural surroundings, which has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. 

The physical activity involved in walking and swinging also releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators, contributing to a sense of well-being and relaxation.

Cognitive Improvements

Engaging in golf requires focus, concentration, and strategic thinking. Golfers must analyze the course, plan their shots, and adapt to changing conditions, all of which stimulate cognitive functions. 

This mental engagement helps improve cognitive skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and memory retention. Regularly participating in such mentally stimulating activities can enhance overall brain health and potentially delay cognitive decline.

Social Interaction

Golf is a social sport that provides ample opportunities for interaction and camaraderie. Playing with friends, family, or participating in club events and tournaments, golf encourages socialization. 

These social interactions can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are important factors for maintaining mental health, especially in older adults.

Long-term Health Benefits


Regular participation in golf has been linked to increased longevity. Studies have shown that golfers tend to have a lower mortality rate compared to the general population. 

The combination of physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction provided by golf contributes to a longer, healthier life.

Prevention of Chronic Diseases

The physical activity involved in playing golf helps in the prevention and management of several chronic diseases. 

Regular golf can improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of diabetes, and enhance respiratory function. 

The weight management benefits of golf can help prevent obesity-related conditions such as hypertension and metabolic syndrome.


Golf offers a comprehensive range of health benefits that make it much more than just a game. The long-term benefits further highlight the importance of incorporating golf into a healthy lifestyle. If you’re looking for a fun and engaging way to boost your overall well-being, consider taking up golf—your body and mind will thank you.