Well if you’re not sure about your answer, let’s have a look at what physical demands you ask of your body during 18 holes of golf (leaving aside the permanent mental anguish :)).
Cardiovascular Demands of Golf
OK, let’s have a look at the demands on the cardiovascular system. Assuming you walk the course and carry your bag, you will be walking around a course approximately 6-7 km (3.75-4.5 miles), up and down hills, with a weight of around 15-20 kg (33-44 lbs) on your back… and hands up who always walks in a straight line? No? Me neither. So that means you will be walking farther still.
OK, it’s not the 100m sprint, but your heart rate will still increase to around 60% of its maximum and stay around there for most of the round, maybe 4 hours or more. Not a negligible cardiovascular feat.
If you are fairly new to the game, you probably now realise that it can tire you out playing a full round of golf. Seasoned golfers have (perhaps unbeknown to them) conditioned their bodies into coping with this demand – to a certain extent at least. Ask yourself, have you ever arrived at a shot out of breath, chest beating? Well that surely makes it harder to play an accurate approach or sink that putt.
What You Can Do
Good news! You can improve your cardiovascular performance and stop that worn-out feeling before shots. Take a brisk walk or jog around the neighbourhood, go for a bike ride or run up the stairs a few times (walk back down). Any physical activity that raises your heart rate for a sustained period of time will help. Aim to do some physical activity every day – and remember, every little bit helps. Even if you have missed 6 days out 6 so far, aim to do that 7th day. 1 out of 7 is better than none! Try to increase the intensity and build up the time you are active as your stamina increases.
Join Me Each Thursday
This is the first part in a series of articles entitled “Are You Fit Enough to Play Golf?” that I will post every Thursday. I will give you tips on improving the most important golfing tool you will ever own – your body! I will cover all aspects of golfing fitness, so this is just the start. Join me next week for a look at what your body undergoes during a full swing as well as exercises to prevent injuries.