Improving Your Health in 18 Holes (Or Less!)
More than just a social activity, the game of golf can do wonders for your body and your mind.
Famous writer Mark Twain once reportedly observed, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Well, he was correct in that golf is a good walk, but I guess the spoiled part depends upon one’s individual perspective.
For many people, golf is seen as somewhat of a passive sport, perhaps offering little cardiovascular benefit, especially if one uses a cart to traverse the course. Is there really any fitness involved at all? In reality there is, and according to fitday.com, this beloved game gives a healthy balance of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and even puts one’s balance and coordination skills to the test.
In the cardio department, golf offers a heaping helping of benefits if one chooses to walk the course, as most courses consist of acres of hilly ground, and walking the courses instead of taking the cart will deliver some pretty effective results in terms of physical stamina. The strength training part kicks in when you walk the course, especially over the hills, with your golf bag in tow, which will target your upper body. The walking alone will put those quadriceps and hamstrings to work, and walking an entire golf course is roughly the equivalent of five miles.
Golf also allows for a stronger core as you strive to maintain your balance, and as such you will strengthen those abdominal muscles, as well as the muscles in your lower back and hindquarters. The ability to maintain strong balance can stave off lower back pain and potential falls in the future.
Playing golf will also strengthen that gray matter in your head, as the game requires a bit of strategy on your part, requiring you to remember numbers, tips, and techniques. So, in theory, playing golf can get you in shape both physically and mentally.
However, playing a round of golf requires a bit of time, as a typical round consisting of 18 holes can take up to four hours. With today’s hectic lifestyles and often chaotic schedules, it can be a bit of challenge to take advantage of a day out on the links.
One golf course community offers a highly convincing answer to that dilemma, though. At The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Missouri, guests can enjoy time out on their two courses – The Cove and The Ridge – without worrying about how long it might take. A new concept introduced by the golf professionals there is called “Golf-by-the-Hour,” which essentially is as the name suggests.
“Many people who play golf do not have enough time for a full round,” explained Matt Tausig, PGA Director of Golf at The Lodge of Four Seasons. “So just recently we implemented this concept where we charge players as little as $10.00 an hour to play. This way, they can get out on the course to play a couple of holes or so and then get back to work.”
This concept is proving to be a great idea for those individuals who may have time between business meetings at the hotel to sneak in a few holes without simply going to the driving range all the time or paying a more impressive fee for a full round of golf, only to realize they have but a limited amount of time in which to play.
“Why pay the full rate (for 18 holes) when you don’t have the time?” emphasized Tausig. “This is also a great option for those people who might get off work early and just want to get out on the course a bit before heading home.”
Tausig fully supports the idea that golf is a great way to stay in shape, especially if one walks while playing the game.
“People have found ways to incorporate fitness into the game,” he explained, referring to a concept known as Speed golf, where players essentially run from shot to shot. Defined by Speed Golf International, “Speed golf (also known as extreme golf, fast golf, fitness golf and hit and run golf) is a fun, fast and fitness-oriented alternative to traditional golf. The results are clear: playing faster than average leads to more fun, increased fitness, greater imagination, and ultimately, improved performance.”
Perhaps when Speedgolf meets the pay-by-the-hour concept, players will truly get their money’s worth while simultaneously getting in great shape.
“Some players have actually completed 18 holes in about an hour,” noted Tausig.
If playing a round of golf in 60 minutes is not your speed, there is always another healthy benefit to the game that can have a positive impact on your mental and emotional well-being.
“There is definitely a strong social aspect to the sport,” said Tausig.
Such social connections, coupled with beautiful green surroundings and the tranquility of nature, can relax your mind and give you mental peace…provided you don’t take the game too seriously! Don’t let that good walk get ruined!