Calories Burned Playing Golf: Calculator & Latest Harvard Research

There’s no denying that golf comes off as a very laid-back sport. It lacks the physical intensity which we commonly see in other sports, so naturally, you might expect that playing golf doesn’t burn too many calories.

However, you’d be wrong. Golf is actually a super sport for burning calories, as typically, golfers stay on the course and play for longer than other sports.

So how many calories are burned playing golf? The average person will burn 1500 to 2000 calories over 18 holes if they walk and carry their golf bag. If you ride a cart for 18 holes you’d burn about 900 – 1300 calories. You burn about 500 calories per hour if you walk and carry your golf bag and about 300 calories if you ride a cart.

But there are many factors that could determine how many calories you burn, including weight, how hilly is the course, and how heavy is your golf bag.

Research from various sources also found slightly different numbers, so we included all of them below for you to consider.

Let’s dive in!

Golf Calorie Calculator


  1. Enter your weight in pounds.
  2. Enter the number of hours and minutes you plan to spend playing golf.
  3. Click “Calculate” to see an estimate of the number of calories burned.

Calories Burned Playing Golf Calculator

Note: This calculator is an estimate and may not be entirely accurate. Actual calorie burn may vary depending on individual factors such as age, gender, muscle mass, and overall fitness level.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Playing Golf?

calories burned playing golf

Golf isn’t a particularly intense sport, so you don’t burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Instead, what golf has going for it is its lengthy duration — players of golf spend more time active compared with most other sports.

So how many calories do you burn playing golf?

According to the University of Pittsburgh, these are the calories burned playing golf with varying factors:

  • Walking and carrying your bag for 18 holes: 1,964 calories burned
  • Walking with a caddy carrying your bag for 18 holes: 1,527 calories burned
  • Riding a cart for 18 holes: 1,330 calories burned

And how about our second source? How many calories does golfing burn according to their research?

According to the Center for Health and Sport Science, these are the calories burned playing golf with varying factors:

  • Walking and carrying your bag for 9 holes: 721 calories burned
  • Walking with a caddy carrying your bag for 18 holes: 621 calories burned
  • Riding a cart for 18 holes: 411 calories

This tells us that swinging a golf club uses up a lot more energy than you would expect.

While the two experiments displayed similar trends, there was certainly a bit of variation in the figures.

Of course, there are other factors that you can consider and you’ll learn all about those below.

Read More: Garmin Approach S60 Review

Hourly Calories Burned Playing Golf

calories burned playing golf

Using the data previously obtained from studies we can calculate the approximate calories burned per hour playing golf.

The time to complete a typical 18-hole course is 4 hours. Therefore, we can take the calories burned for a round of 18 holes and divide it by 4.

Using the University of Pittsburgh’s data gives us the following calories burned per hour while playing golf:

  • Walking with a golf bag: 491 calories burned per hour
  • Walking with a caddie: 382 calories burned per hour
  • Riding a golf cart: 333 calories burned per hour

However, if we go by Harvard’s research which looks at a variety of different sports, the figures are a little lower, but not by much. They also break down calorie expenditure by weight which is useful.

 Calories Burned By Weight (per hour)
Golf Activity 125 lbs 155 lbs 185 bls
Walking with a golf bag 330 cal 396 cal 462 cal
Riding a golf cart 210 cal 152 cal 294 cal

Another way of calculating calorie expenditure is by using METS. A MET is the cost of performing a particular physical activity. We obtained the below MET scores from

The formula to calculate calorie expenditure using METS is as follows:

(MET x bodyweight in kg x 3.5 ÷ 200) x minutes active

The METS burned while playing golf are:

  • Walking with a golf bag: 5.5 METS
  • Walking pulling a golf cart: 5 METS
  • Riding a golf cart: 3.5 METS

You can estimate your calories burned by looking at the key factors to see if you’re more or less tahn the average.

Factors That Affect the Number of Calories Burned

calories burned playing golf

Your Weight

Your body weight directly influences how many calories you use up. This is because folks carrying more weight burn more calories — even at rest. As a result, they also need to consume more calories to maintain their body weight.

To obtain a more accurate figure regarding how many calories you might burn playing golf, we recommend using our golf calorie counter. It uses your body weight as one of the parameters which make it specific to you.

Number of Holes

First things first, you need to decide how many holes you want to play. If you know anything about golf then you know you’ve got two options: 9 or 18.

In terms of calories burned, this is a big decider as you’ll burn twice as many calories on 18 holes as it’s twice as long.

How You Get Around

Your method of mobility is the most important factor when it comes to calories. And as you would expect, the more time you spend on your feet, the more calories you burn.

The best way to burn calories is to walk the whole course while carrying your golf bag, a close second is to push a golf cart. While you’re not carrying your bag you’re still burning a bunch more calories than just walking.

The less effective ways to burn calories are to hand over your golf bag to a caddie or hitch a ride on a golf cart. The latter really sees your calorie expenditure drop. You burn 1,330 calories across 18 holes as opposed to 1,964 calories if you walked with your golf bag.

Weight of Your Golf Bag

As players carry different equipment with them to the course, naturally, the weight of each person’s golf bag will vary. Around 20-30 lb is average, but it’s worth checking to see where you fall.

Course Topography

One element out of your control is the topography of the golf courses you play at. Every golf course is different, and while all should be between 6,200 – 7,000 yards in length, that’s almost a half-mile distance at either extreme.

Furthermore, each course has differing levels of incline and decline, both of which will affect how many calories you burn.

Read More: Best Golf Apps


Is Golf Good For Weight Loss?

Golf is a great form of exercise for weight loss. It’s also not very intense so any person young or old can use it to help them lose weight. By playing 18 holes and walking the entire course with your bag you can burn around 1,964 calories.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Playing 9 Holes of Golf With a Cart?

According to the Center for Health and Sport Science, you can expect to burn around 411 calories playing golf with a power cart. This is of course a rough figure as your body weight will affect the number of calories you burn.

Is Playing Golf 3 Times a Week Enough Exercise?

While playing golf 3 times per week is great exercise, it may not be enough in isolation. A goal of 10,000 steps per day is often thrown around as a daily target, however, evidence shows that the benefits tail off at around 7,500 steps.

A typical 18-hole golf course equates to 7,920 steps, so that’s your step target goal hit for the day. Yet ideally, you should hit this goal every day, so if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, 3 golf workouts a week may not be enough.

Does Playing Golf Burn Belly Fat?

Does golf burn calories? Of course, it does. As with all forms of exercise, golf burns calories and therefore belly fat. You’ll burn the most by walking with your golf bag, a little less with a caddie, and the least when using a golf cart.

How Many Calories Do I Burn Golfing?

A more accurate question is how many calories does a round of golf burn?

According to the University of Pittsburgh, 982 is how many calories you burn walking 9 holes of golf. If however, we look at the calories burned walking 18 holes, the figure is twice as high at 1,964.

Final Thoughts: Playing Golf Burns a Ton of Calories!

While we went in knowing that it was a great sport for weight loss, we were pretty blown away by how many calories are burned playing golf.

If we go based on the University of Pittsburgh’s figures, players who walk the course with their bag will burn a staggering 1,964 calories. This is an absurdly high amount — it’s almost the recommended caloric intake for women! Even taking the lazy route is a great form of exercise it seems. You’ll burn 1,330 calories with a golf cart. Simply incredible!

So the next time you think about skipping a golf session give it a second thought. Golf is a super form of exercise and a great way to ensure that you stay in peak physical condition.

Read More: Best Golf App for Apple Watch

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Alex’s routes in sports began with football and now mostly focuses on ping pong and golf. Alex loves the strategy and is always looking for a competitive edge. This is what drove him to write strategy guides and product reviews. He takes great pride in spreading his knowledge and loves to coach fellow players. You can connect with him on LinkedInIG, FB, or

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