Trading out a mental burden for a physical one is a Cool Golf Thing

Burn calories and shave strokes at the same time.
On all but the most oppressively hot and humid days, walking beats taking a cart by miles.

A recent New York Times article, written by Bill Pennington, reports that some golf courses have seen walking rounds triple, after some facilities had to put away their carts for several weeks amid social-distancing guidelines at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though those rules have since relaxed, many golfers who were forced to walk have simply continued the practice as an antidote to lifestyle shifts that have made many of us into couch potatoes over the last 18 months.

Not only is walking a golf course healthy from a physical standpoint, I think it can lead to lower scores.

This theory comes from my recent trip to Wisconsin, an opportunity to flee the largely walking-unfriendly Florida golf scene for a few days. At the University Club of Milwaukee, I had my strangest round of recent years: a one-over-par 72 that included six birdies and an eagle mixed in with a raft of bogeys and a double.

Like every golfer, I'm no stranger to bad holes. But what surprised me on this day was my ability to rebound. Normally, when disaster strikes, I tend to slink back to my cart and sulk there longer than I should. But the rhythm of a walking round is completely different. The mental baggage of disappointing golf is a much heavier load than an actual bag and clubs, but being forced to carry the latter forced me to put aside the former. In short, I was too busy getting some positive exercise to get overly upset with my bad golf.

Forced to channel my energy into successfully getting around the golf course, I shook off the bad shots and made more room for good ones. Plus, I burned enough calories to justify my cheeseburger at lunch.

Do you play better when you walk? Are you walking more rounds lately? Let us know in the comments.

4 Min Read
April 14, 2020
Last week's column by Jason Deegan on the golf courses that pull on our heartstrings received loads of nostalgic comments from our readers. One of them was a special request inquiring about walking courses:

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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Even after turning 60 I walk and carry a lot if the course design allows it. I find I get a better sense of how I'm hitting the ball when I walk.

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Trading out a mental burden for a physical one is a Cool Golf Thing