Golf Tips for Seniors{and why you should forget the golf cart}

Golf Tips for Seniors {and why you should forget the golf cart}

These golf tips for seniors and why you should forget the golf cart could very well help seniors get the most out of their game on several levels. There are many positive aspects to golfing for seniors.

It’s an excellent way to socialize with like-minded seniors, stay fit, and make the most of all the spare time that comes with retirement.

To get the most out of your time on the course, consider walking instead of riding in a cart.


In many quarters, including the United States Golf Association it’s believed that golfers should be walking the course as opposed to riding in a cart.

There’s no doubt that riding in a cart has become the favored choice for many golfers, but is it the best choice? David Fay, the former president of the USGA, had this to say about the controversy.

“We strongly believe that walking is the most enjoyable way to play golf and that the use of carts is detrimental to the game. This negative trend has to be stopped now before it becomes accepted that riding in a cart is the way to play golf.

Golf Tips for Seniors{and why you should forget the golf cart}
If you use a cart, try walking from the path to your ball on all the holes.

The concept of walking the course for seniors makes perfect sense(assuming they are physically able) as walking in itself is the most fundamental of exercises. Walking an 18-hole golf course a couple of times a week can have a very positive effect on a senior’s cardiovascular health, as they age.

It’s also excellent for keeping legs strong for years. One of the biggest worries about seniors, as they age, is losing their balance and falling. A senior who incorporates plenty of walking into their fitness regimen will maintain a strong sense of balance for years.


There are those who think that the stop-and-start nature of walking the golf course has limited health benefits.

Swedish researchers found that those who walked the golf course as opposed to using a cart equated to 40%-70% of the intensity of a maximum aerobic workout(over 18 holes).

Researchers that specialized in Cardiology also found that walking golfers reduced their bad cholesterol while keeping their good cholesterol steady. They also used a control group of golfers who rode the course on carts, and they did not show the same positive results.

It makes sense. I mean what’s the difference between sitting in your favorite chair at home and riding in a golf cart? I suppose apart from the fresh air there is no difference.

It’s been estimated that walking an 18-hole golf course and playing a round over four hours is comparable to a 45-minute exercise class. Think about that for a moment. You can have the advantage of increasing your fitness level by doing something you love. No need to go to a gym for your weekly workouts.

Golf Tips for Seniors{and why you should forget the golf cart}
Walk the course and use a motorized caddy to take the stress off your back.


The Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, Colorado came to the conclusion that walking just nine holes of golf on a rolling course was equivalent to a walk of 2.5 miles, compared .05 miles when using a cart.

Further to that, a golfer who walks 36 holes per week is burning nearly 3,000 calories.

Here are some tips for beginners or veteran golfers who normally ride carts, but want to walk, but feel they are not in good enough shape.

  • If you are sharing a cart, walk alternate holes during a round, so that by the end of an 18 hole course you’ve walked nine holes.
  • Walk a full set of nine and ride the other nine.
  • Some courses require carts. In that instance, walk down the course to your ball while your partner drives the cart up.
  • If you are playing with a partner who prefers to ride, ride only on the cart path and walk to and from your ball.
  • It’s important to look after your back when walking the golf course. You can use a pushcart, switch from a single to double-strap bag, or best of all, get your self a Motorized Caddy.



Golf Tips for Seniors{and why you should forget the golf cart}
Who in their right mind puts a T.V. and outboard motor on a golf cart.

Golf carts can do damage to the rough, areas around the bunkers and around greens. Of course, most golfers realize that carts are not to be used around bunkers and greens, but depending on the driver some do it anyway.

There was a time earlier during the game of golf when carts were first introduced when they would do minimal damage to a course. This was because when golfers were accustomed to playing on fairways, they were hardpan as grass and it wasn’t such a big deal to ride over it.

Today, however, there have been huge strides in the agronomy and turfgrass management that have introduced grasses to grow in areas that at one time, wasn’t viable. This has resulted in golf courses that are in better shape than ever.

The problem is, most of this new turf is more susceptible to wear and tear and carts do much more damage than walking and pulling a cart over the same grasses.


It might be hard to believe, but when playing with a partner, it’s faster to walk a course than it is to drive a cart over the same distance.

It somehow seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true. At the time when golf carts were first introduced it was to allow more players onto a course at the same time. In a way, carts did that by speeding up the time it takes for a group on the No.1 tee to reach it’s first shot of the day off the tee.

Golf Tips for Seniors{and why you should forget the golf cart}
For some people, a golf cart is necessary for health reasons.

What that did was shortened the time between tee times. Despite making the first hole faster, it didn’t hold up. Over 18 holes a group of four sharing two carts wastes a huge amount of time driving from one rider’s ball to the other rider’s ball.

It was far different for walkers. They walked directly to their own ball. The secondary effort of walking to your ball is a reduction in the amount of time spent chatting with a playing partner in a cart before getting around to hitting your next shot. The time spent walking is normally used to plan their next shot and decide about club selection.

There is something about walking a golf course that helps you learn about the course play, and gain an appreciation of the nuances that in most cases, are not visible from a golf cart.

And how about this statistic? In a scientific study, golfers who walked scored better than golfers who rode in a cart.

Modell’s Sporting Goods has excellent prices on all your golfing needs from tees and shoes to golf bags.


Any opportunity for a senior to improve quality of life and increase longevity through exercise should try walking the golf course. This can have a huge impact on the overall health of a golfer who is on the course two or three times a week.

It’s great for heart health, burning calories, and reducing the impact that carts have on a golf course.

Nobody is saying that carts should be banned. There are many seniors who love to golf, but for health reasons simply could not manage to walk nine or eighteen holes of golf. As long as a golfer is adhering to proper etiquette and safety, there is no reason not to use a cart if needed.

Even if a senior is not capable of walking an entire course, just walking to and from their ball on occasion will be beneficial from a fitness point of view.

I sincerely hope that these golf tips for seniors and why you should forget the golf cart help my visitors get the most out of their day on the course.

If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic feel free to make a comment at the bottom of this page.

13 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great article. I like the balance that for some people, not having a golf cart might mean that they can’t play golf at all, so I’m pleased to see that validation so that people aren’t made to feel guilty about using a cart if they really need to. It does seem a bit of an oxymoron when people say they play golf for their health and then ride a cart.

  2. Very interesting point you are making here. I’ve never thought about the use of the golf cart being so detrimental to the game. You are absolutely correct, walking should be more common for everybody not only the seniors but everybody. Why have we become so lazy or dependent on the golf cart?

    1. Thank you for your comment! Yes, it seems like golf was a great way to get exercise in the beginning, but then the golf cart was invented. Golfers, especially seniors should get back to walking and leave the cart.

  3. This is quite an unconventional discourse here. When one thinks about it, the seniors can really burn a lot of calories by walking the distance and also the course is saved from getting damaged. About walking being faster, I can only agree of it has with quite a number of people because when they engage in a talk on the way to each holes, it gets really fun and one can even forget they’re on the walk. I agree with the fact that the trend of carts to be stopped.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I think, in the beginning, golf was a way to get exercise, then someone introduced carts into the game. Not sure if it was a wise idea, except that it does allow seniors who cannot walk too much due to health reasons the opportunity to take part.

  4. I left a comment on the page, saying that I like the fact that the article did validate that some people have no choice and that not being able to use a golf cart might mean they can’t play the game either.

    I enjoyed the sense of humour and tone of the article making it more personable. Living in Auckland, New Zealand, which is a city based on clay, which has a lot of rain, golf carts can definitely damage the course, especially where courses either don’t have concrete cart paths. or when people drive them off the path. 

    The request asked for comments about the topic, rather than the delivery so I thought I might also add a comment about the social aspect of the game. Most people I know play the game at east in part for the opportunity to socialise with other people. Whilst it’s not impossible, it is much easier to be social and chat with people when you are walking with them, rather than racing from one shot to the next. 

    It seems ironic that often people talk about golf being an important place for people to build business relationships and then they don’t show any personal interest as they drive on their personal cart. In the early days golf carts also seemed to represent wealth or prestige. Some people might consider it a business tool to show opulence, but I respond better to someone who looks me in the eye when they talk to me and takes their time so that a conversation doesn’t become stilted as people go back to their carts. I would imagine it is also unpleasant in a game, say a group of four, where some people have a cart and others don’t.

    Some excellent arguments in this article. Well done.

    1. Thanks for your excellent comment, Luigi. For sure there is a social aspect to the game and I may have to write more about that into the post.

  5. Wow, this post is really helpful. From time to time I love getting myself engaged in golfing and I am also guilty of making use of the golf carts. I have never thought of the benefits of taking a walk on my own. How it can burn the fat and help me stay healthy. What can I say, I guess I need to show this post to people at the club. They really need to see this and maybe the carts can be pushed to a side. Fan post

  6. Wow. You give some compelling reasons to walk the course. Thinking about it, it is a sport after all. 🙂  I appreciate that walking the course also helps you see first hand the slopes and terrain you’re shooting through and in. Thanks for the reminder of how golf is supposed to be. 

  7. I could not agree with you more, Ray.  If I was a golfer there is no way I would use a cart.  I used to be a golfer but I just couldn’t get past the “Lousy Shot Syndrom” if you know what I mean. But walking is awesome.

    On the course it’s quiet and you can still talk to our friends as you walk and take in the scenery as well.  Why, you might even see a deer or some other wildlife while you are walking.  Much less chance of that if you in a cart focused on what is ahead of you.

    You mentioned burning calories.  I have walked hundreds of Kilometers (live in Canada) over the last few months and have dropped about 13 LBS.  So, yes, if you want to lose some of that belly fat? just get out there and walk.

    Most golf carts are electric, aren’t they?  They still have to be charged and that power has to come from somewhere.  If fewer people used carts, I think it would reduce the carbon footprint as well. Maybe no significantly but, every little bit helps.

    I don’t want to deny anyone from using them but, I wonder if the golf courses themselves could shoulder some of the effort to get people, (those physically able to walk), off the carts?  Maybe along the lines of “For use by those with a handicap”?

    Only a suggestion but, I’m with you… got to get off the cart and walk more.  It’s better and good for us,


    1. Thanks for your comment, Wayne. I suffered from the lost ball syndrome myself so had to give up on the game, but it’s a great sport for seniors if only they get out of the cart and walk. Unless of course, the only way they can golf is to use a cart due to medical reasons.

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