does golf count as exercise?

does golf count as exercise?

I spent a few hours at Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club yesterday, at a charity golf tournament benefiting NMTSA and ACT School.

scottsdale silverado golf club - view from the clubhouse
view of the 18th green from the clubhouse balcony.

My wife was there helping run the tournament. My boys were offering water to golfers on the course. And I was tasked with... well, not much of anything. I think you could call it networking, but I was pretty much hanging out at the clubhouse and chatting people up. This gave me a unique vantage point to watch the comings and goings of various foursomes throughout the afternoon.

Some thoughts on golfing:

  • What a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
  • Being outdoors, in the fresh air, surrounded by beautifully manicured grass and trees, is refreshing - almost therapeutic.
  • People were generally friendly, and in a good mood.
  • It's kind of a mini-vacation - a few hours away from the hectic grind of the rest of the week.

Some thoughts on golfing as exercise:

  • Most of the distance is covered by golf cart, so the golfers don't get to do much walking.
  • I watched about 1/5th of the golfers light up and smoke. (not something I generally associate with exercise.)
  • About half of the golfers enjoyed the over-sized cans of beer the clubhouse served - before their round, after their round, and/or bringing a few with them to imbibe during their round. (not to mention how many ice cold beverages the girl driving around in the refreshment cart sold.)
  • Many of the foursomes had lunch at the clubhouse, which looked delicious but definitely not low calorie.
  • The golfers came in all shapes, sizes, and ages. And while I want to give them the benefit of "golf as exercise", it did not look anything like what you would see at a triathlon event.
  • I watched more than a couple golfers get winded from climbing the stairs to the clubhouse!

My final thoughts on golfing:

  • Golf is definitely NOT an exercise sport. Many of the golfers I saw consumed far more calories than they burned by playing. Add smoking to the equation, and their health was going in the wrong direction.
  • Golf is a time commitment. Get ready to play, drive to the course, hit balls on the range, practice putting, play a round of golf, unwind in the clubhouse, and then drive home - this can be a 5-6 hour block of time. You could do just about anything else and get more exercise than golf gives you.
  • All that being said, spending an afternoon at the golf course is a great way to unwind.

me and the boys at silverado golf club
me and the boys.

-Chris Butterworth