Have you arrived at the golf course, thrown your clubs onto the cart, you and your golfing buddy head out to the first hole and what do you see ahead of you….?  Walkers…. a four-some, ahead of you.  Ugh.  There goes the momentum of the round.  You know those people are going to be slow – and you will be sitting there waiting and waiting to tee off.  Yes, we have all thought that, admit it. 

Then, one day, someone suggests walking the course and, yikes, ok let’s do this.  You strap your clubs onto the golf course pull cart (because you would never ever think of buying your own cart) and you head out to the first tee feeling doubtful.   How is this going to work out. That’s pretty much how it happened to me.  I was at my morning ladies league and a 3-some of walkers yelled out, “hey come join us.”  Not wanting to be that one person riding in the golf cart while everyone else in my group was walking, I decided in that split second to walk 9 holes.  I quickly figured out how to put my clubs on the pull cart and off we went.   So, how did it work out?  Better than I imagined…but, also harder than I ever thought. I have a new found respect for walkers.

The game is so different from the one riding in a golf cart.  I didn’t expect that.  I felt more of a connection to the other players as we walked and talked and pulled our clubs along.  It was easier to chat with all the players, not just my cart mate.  Many times, I found it easier to walk directly to my ball after each drive.

Oftentimes, when riding the cart, it’s necessary to leave the golf cart on the path, then walk over to your ball carrying several clubs.  There have been times when I haven’t grabbed the right club… do I run back to the cart for the one I want?  Or do I play with what I have and hope for the best.  While walking towards my ball it was easier to analyze what club I needed.   So, another takeaway to walking was the ability to have all my clubs with me at all times and not run back and forth for the cart.   

So, where does that leave me with walking the course the first time.  I loved this different game. It was not as rushed.  As a Type A personality, I want to play as fast and hard as I can and cart-bomb to my ball.  Walking definitely slowed me down.  I was also thankful I had my amazing comfortable water proof golf shoes on… my Biom Ecco golf shoes made from soft yak skin.

So, if you plan to become a walker, I have some recommendations.

First thing, get yourself some comfortable walkable golf shoes or you will regret being a walker.  You will be walking for a good 2 hours and there is no place and no time to sit down.  The group I was with were brisk walkers and very much used to walking the golf course.  They were ready for this…. me not so much.  By the end of 9 holes I was very tired the next day.

But it got me thinking about how I could improve my exercise regimen to handle the rigors of walking 9 holes. I initially thought I was in good shape to walk 9 holes. After all, I could easily walk 2 miles at the park with my little dog.  There was a huge difference walking the golf course.  Even though 9 holes measures approximately 2 miles, the energy and stamina required was far different when pushing and/or pulling 30 pounds of weight of the golf bag and swinging the club at least 30 times per round. When I walk my little dog for 2 miles, I can do that in around 30 minutes depending upon the terrain and my dog’s little legs.  It’s a whole different game when walking the golf course where walking will take anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours.

When you read those articles that say “walk the golf course to get into shape” my response is …good luck with that advice.  Let me qualify that statement as someone who has walked 9 holes for the first time and someone who is a personal trainer.  Don’t just jump in and decide one day you are going to walk the course without putting in the time to build your strength, stamina, endurance and flexibility beforehand.

If you are not in shape to walk the course, you will come away with a whole different experience. I found I loved walking 9 holes. So much so, I bought my own push golf cart and committed myself to walking 9 rounds the next golf season once a week. I also didn’t want the experience of being exhausted the next day.  I put together an exercise regimen over the winter months to build my strength, endurance, stamina and flexibility to be able to play and walk 9 holes of golf without total exhaustion afterwards.

In my follow-up article, I will give you my workout routine that I use to get myself in shape to become a golf

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