A round on your favorite golf course with friends can be some of the best few hours you will experience. Outdoors on a beautiful day, exercise, and social interaction with either new acquaintances or with close friends. It’s a hot debate between golfers on whether walking vs riding is more beneficial. The debate can be swung to both sides, depending on what you are looking for.
There is no “better” way when it comes to walking vs riding. It all comes down to preference. If you value more exercise, conversation with your partners, and feeling like you’ve “seen” a course, then walking is for you. If you value more cost savings, a quicker round, elder age, or health complications, then the cart is for you.
There is an argument to be made for both sides, so let’s take a look at both perspectives:
Walking VS Riding:
Let’s start with walking, and why you should leave the power cart at the clubhouse and walk your next round:
Exercise – 18 holes of golf is a fantastic way to burn calories and get a solid workout in when you are walking vs riding. Walking a 6,000-7,000 yard course will allow you to burn roughly 600-800 calories, also including the movement of swinging your clubs. This was calculated by a Harvard Health Study.
Cost – The phrase “Golf is a rich man’s game” did not come about randomly. Golf in itself is very expensive. Whether it be the price of the round, your clubs, bag, balls, etc.
After you spend all that money to play the game, coughing up another $50 roughly to rent a power cart can put a real dent in the bank account. Why not walk, get some exercise, and save some money at the same time?
Keep your Rhythm – Waiting for the group ahead of you is not fun for anyone. Standing around while you wait to hit your ball can throw off most players. When riding a cart, your pace of play might be faster than the group ahead of you.
This will result in you standing around waiting minutes to hit your next shot. You might tighten up and get out of your comfort zone, which can lead to a lack of focus.
Correct Clubs – We’ve all been there….. Winter rules, it’s raining, and cart path only is in effect. Your ball is on the opposite side of the fairway as the cart path. You aren’t sure what kind of lie you have, the distance, or any hazards in your way. You grab a club out of assumption and get to your ball only to realize that you need one club less. But instead of holding up your group or the group behind, you try to make it work with what you have.
This results in you overshooting the green and costing you a stroke in the process. Walking vs riding allows you to always have your clubs with you on every shot. This is my number one anger trigger on the golf course whenever I do rent a cart.
Social Interaction – If you are playing with a group of 4, normally two people ride in one cart and the other two in another. It’s very hard to enjoy the round in its entirety this way. It’s a lot more fun when everybody in your group is walking down the fairway together, talking and laughing about how much practice you all need. Walk the course, and enjoy your playing partner’s company and conversation.
Enjoy your Experience – When golf was invented, the riding of power carts was never intended to be a part of the game. Walking the course allows you to experience everything that a specific course has to offer. The landscape, the views, the specific hazards, the feel of the course as you walk down each unique hole.
I highly recommend if you go to play a bucket list type of course, that you walk. You will get more of your money’s worth for the experience alone.
With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at the other side of the conversation. What are the advantages of paying the extra money and renting a power cart:
Age or Health Complications – The main benefits of renting a power cart are elder age or suffering from some sort of physical ailment. Walking a golf course for 4+ hours is very taxing on your body and can lead to injury.
Elderly players, players with injuries, or inexperienced spouses/young children who enjoy the experience of a cart will be more easily engaged.
Safe your Energy – Walking 6,000-7,000 yards in four hours can be taxing on your body. Renting a power cart will allow your body to rest and recover in between shots. An add-on to that, during extremely hot days the cart acts as protection from the sun.
This helps prevent heatstroke during your round. The same can be said if you are playing in nasty winter conditions. The cart allows for a break from the elements.
Quicker Golf – If you have no groups holding you up, renting a power cart can allow for a quicker round. Finishing your round 30-45 mins earlier than if you walked will allow for more time in your day once you are done. Where you can save time is long walks from greens to the following tee boxes.
However, if you are a group of two or even a single with no one in front of you, everything will speed up in a cart.
Technology – Power carts nowadays are much more advanced than they used to be. Almost all 18 hole courses, especially championship courses, will have a GPS built into the cart. This provides a monitor with access to the hole layout, yardages to the hole, and hazards throughout the fairway.
When it comes to walking vs riding, I personally am much more in favor of walking a golf course over renting a power cart. If a particular course mandates it due to layout then no problem.
However, experiencing what that course has to offer while walking every inch of it is worth the walk. It’s a great way to either get in better shape physically or a good excuse for why you didn’t go to the gym that day.
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