Is Golf A Well-Rounded WorkOut?

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, a 160-pound person burns 252 calories per hour playing golf. This rate rises to 396 calories per hour if they work with their clubs.

However, as effective as playing golf is for burning calories, its effectiveness in changing your overall fitness depends on different variables, including the type of activity you do and your current fitness level. This article examines if golf can be used as a form of exercise.

Can Golf Be An Aerobic Exercise?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you must perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. This means your heart rate needs to fall between 64 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.

George Eldayrie, MD, a board-certified sports medicine physician, said golf is a moderate activity if you walk. This is supported by a 2023 study published in BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine which discovered that golfing improved blood pressure and cholesterol more than regular walking. A 2009 Swedish study also revealed that golfers were 40 percent less likely to die early than non-golfers.

Can Golf Be Considered Strength Training?

While golf can be useful for strength conditioning, you don’t want to skip actual strength training just because you started golfing. This is because you will need intense weekly strength exercises to meet up with the CDC’s recommendations.

Who Should Be Careful About Golfing?

Despite golf being a good sport for exercise, you need to avoid it if you fall into the following categories:

People With Back Injuries

If you have a current back injury, consult your doctor before trying golf. You can also try physical therapy that focuses on strengthening the muscles that support your back.

People With A History Of Poor Heart Health

If you have underlying cardiovascular issues, you should talk with your physician before taking it up. This is particularly important if you have already had a heart attack or a coronary stent placement.

People With Joint Issues

If you have a history of joint issues, you might need to ease into golf gradually. You might also need to get out there and start playing to better understand your limitations.


Golfing counts as physical activity and is beneficial to your overall health. However, it does not meet the standard for strength training or high-intensity exercise. As such, you can still benefit from weekly sessions of high-intensity activities such as jogging or pickleball.