The United States Golf Association (USGA) thinks you should be walking the golf course when you play.
Former USGA president David Fay has stated, “We strongly believe that walking is the most enjoyable way to play golf, and that the use of golf carts is detrimental to the game. This negative trend needs to be stopped now before it becomes accepted that riding in a cart is the way to play golf.”
Unfortunately, in a resort community, golf courses get much of their revenue from golf cart rentals.
Also, many of the local golf courses were built to sell homes in those communities. Golf course architects were asked to put significant distance between green and the next tee so that there would be more golf course views. This makes it very difficult to walk these courses.
This is also unfortunate for junior golfers, who have to carry their golf bags or use pushcarts.
Walking the golf course helps control your weight, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Walking nine holes is equivalent to a walk of 2.5 miles, and carrying your clubs or using a pushcart burns approximately 700 or more calories.
Golf purists will tell you that walking a golf course is not only better for your health but also better for your score. When walking, you see more, and take more time to relax between shots to plan your next shot selection. Every step you take gives you direct contact with the slope and texture of the course.
Walking also saves time because each player goes directly to his or her ball instead of having to go in a cart to your partner’s ball and wait for him or her to hit.
Walkers put less wear and tear on golf courses. Golf carts are detrimental to the fairways, and carts tend to chew up the rough. Also many inexperienced cart drivers drive too close to the tees and greens, causing damage to these sensitive areas.
I contacted the local public courses, and there are several that allow walkers at certain times of the day. Some might even discount the rate since you aren’t using one of their electric carts.
I recommend that you golfers out there go into your pro shops and ask them to allow you to walk the course. You will live longer and play better golf.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean