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Is Walking Better Than Using a Golf Cart?

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Hi everyone,

I was wondering what your thoughts are on walking vs. "carting" (i.e., riding the golf cart) when on the golf course. Normally, I like to walk while playing golf, but this weekend, I played at a course that had a mandatory "golf cart" rule.

At first, I thought "nice" as it was quite early in the morning (6am tee time). Also, I haven't used a power cart in almost four years so it was a bit of a novelty to try using a power cart again. After the round, I'm not sure that I like the golf cart. Here are some reasons/observations I had about using the golf cart:

- I'm not sure using the cart speeds up play : I noticed that my playing partner and I were driving around the course quite a bit either looking for balls or avoiding "protected" areas (i.e., the green or other environmentally protected spots). Often, I just grabbed three or four clubs and walked half of the fairway to my ball because it was easier.

- I didn't pay as much attention to my ball . Maybe it's just me, but I noticed that I didn't pay as much attention to where my ball landed, thinking that I'd be able to find the ball easily because we can just drive up and find it. When I walk, I can pace out distances (I know it's not very accurate) and I had a more difficult time judging distances after driving up to the ball.

- Harder to get into a "rythym" . When I walk, I find that walking between shots (and carrying my bag) helps me maintain a more even level: I don't get too high after hitting a good shot and I don't get too upset/low after screwing up a shot. Walking helps me take a moment to breath. The physical "exertion" also seems to help get the blood flowing and allows me to get into "game mode". When in the cart, the round just felt very ... jerky. I'd hit a shot, hop on the cart, and drive. I just didn't get a sense of flow to the round. Also, since it was a bit cool in the morning, being less active didn't help in keeping me warm.

I'm not a golf "purist" by any means, so I don't agree with an argument that a cart "ruins" the game. I'm just not sure that the golf cart is that great. This course had a 15 minute rule per hole and so we finished at just over 4 hours 15 minutes (which is the course expectation). I was quite shocked because I expected to finish much faster since we were required to use a cart. [As an aside, I did my best to speed up the pace of play, but couldn't keep up my end of the "slow play promise" I signed here. I did my best and it killed me to play a 4+ hour round.]

Hey, I'm also the first to admit that there are some advantages to using a cart:

- can be less physical strain than carrying your bag (but you could use a pull cart)
- can be cooler and more convenient in very hot and humid weather
- great if distances between holes is far
- great in extrememly "hilly" courses (especially if combined with the previous point)

Am I missing something about using the golf cart? Does anyone else prefer to walk instead of use the golf cart? If others feel the same way, maybe we should start a "walk when possible" promise...

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"is walking better than using a golf cart?"

Well, I guess it depends on who you ask. For me, absolutely! I really don't like riding. In general, I don't think it speeds up play all that much. Perhaps a little... also, I agree with you on rythm and having time in between shots. I am much more at ease when I walk. Besides, I love getting the excersize. Also, if you are playing with others, walking in between shots gives you that social time if you want. I can't tell you how many times I've played behind a group of riders and they drive up to their ball, stop, then engage in conversaion. Sort of defeats the purpose.

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It's funny you posted this because I was just about to post something similar. I used to walk all of the time, but at my current course the cart is included with membership, so I've been riding mostly. I like to play early in the morning, and lately I have been paired with a guy that I don't enjoy playing with. I won't go into details here and derail the thread, but all of the other members refuse to play with this guy. But every time I show up in the morning, he's there waiting for a partner. This weekend I pondered how best to tell this guy I don't want to play with him anymore. I've been thinking I need to walk more, so I decided I would walk during the week. There is no way this guy will play with a walker.

So this morning I walked the back 9 (due to a tournament I couldn't play 18). I forgot how nice it is to walk. Birds were chirping, bobcat tracks in the dew on the fairway, the whole bit. And I played pretty good and got done in an hour and a half.

I'm lucky that my course lays out very well for walking. A lot of courses don't. Also, at most courses, the pro gets a piece of the cart rentals as part of his compensation, so it's not in their interest to encourage walking.

So I'm with you. Don't walk because "you're supposed to", but if you are under 60 and want to lose a few pounds (and maybe improve your golf) give walking a shot.

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I couldn't agree more with both posts. I love walking - it's faster, and just feels more like golf to me. I have to ride when I play with my boss, who insists on it (can't argue with the guy who signs my paycheck). Every time I do, I'm always amazed at how much longer the round takes, and how relatively sterile it feels. Just sit ...hit the ball.... sit ....hit the ball...for 18 holes. (Besides: after 18 holes of walking, you can drink a LOT more beer afterwards!)

Tom

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I prefer to walk. Unfortunately, there's only one walkable course in my immediate vicinity. For all the reasons listed above.

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Come on guys. There are ways of using a cart that can refute most of the arguments against it. I will usually walk when I play 9, but I ride for 18 (or at least ride the 2nd 9). And my scoring has no relationship to whether I'm riding or walking, nor does my pace of play.

The only time a cart should be slower than walking is when the course rules are stupid enough to require "cart path only". They say they do it to protect the course, but in reality it is just poor judgment on the part of the management (other than in unusually extreme wet conditions). Drive to one player's ball, drop him off, then move to the next ball. Or drive to one players ball and the 2nd player grabs a couple of clubs and walks from there to his ball. I use both methods depending on the circumstances. I also will often take my putter and wedge (if needed) from where I hit my approach and walk the rest of the way to the green while my cart mate drives up and parks.

I enjoy walking, but several years ago I started having some trouble with my feet, and walking on soft turf caused me a lot of pain for several days afterward, so I gradually went from carrying all the time to pushing all the time, to riding all the time. Now at age 60 I'm working my way back. I have 2 bags... my old Sun Mountain Eclipse stand bag and a big cart bag. I will carry the old bag when I'm not playing in a tournament and walk 9 and ride 9. For tournaments I load up the big bag and ride.

One thing I will say... I'd rather carry than push or pull a trolley.

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I have walked since I began playing, mostly though it was because in school tournaments, you have to carry your own bag. Now, it just depends on the other players in your group... Its hard to walk while the other 3 guys are riding.

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Obviously, if you have a physical limitation (feet) then a cart is de rigeur . And yeah, the "cart path only" restriction adds to the frustration and delays. But I have to admit, I don't consider anything else you've printed to be a refutation of our experiences. Most of us who are able to walk 18 seem to have found it to be both quicker and more rewarding.

Just subjective observation, of course....

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I'm not sure using the cart speeds up play

I can play a round in 90 minutes by myself in a cart. So obviously it's not slower... under certain conditions. Sometimes those conditions are:

a) single player b) two singles in their own carts c) a threesome or foursome, two carts, that know what they're doing Most people are slower in carts because they're morons. They don't know where to leave the cart, they drive to each other's balls and watch each other hit, they don't take a few clubs, they put their club back in the cart before driving off (when they could use the ride to clean the club, then throw the club in when they get out their next one), etc. So I feel carts are faster, generally, if used properly... but because 99% of golfers don't use the cart properly, in reality they're slower. Except in cases like a and b above.
Harder to get into a "rythym"

I agree with that. I usually play a teeny bit better and enjoy myself more when I walk.

If others feel the same way, maybe we should start a "walk when possible" promise...

The USGA had a "walking" campaign a few years ago. I got my bag tag and everything. I think you can still get them.

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I'd love to walk the course sometimes - if only for the exercise. However, that's not a realistic option right now - I spent most of the winter in hospitals where my muscles turned into nothing, and then subsequently gained 50 lbs. on these really cheap steroids - long story short, I'm in no shape to walk the course. I'm working out five, six times a week, but the steroids are making weight loss impossible (and I watch what I eat, too).

Carts are only slower than walking when 1) cart path only and 2) people don't know how to use them. Otherwise, carts are faster. I can play in two hours with a cart and do 18 holes. The same trip walking would be four or five hours, at least for me. And it's not that far between holes. I'm just shit out of shape.

Walking would definitely have a negative effect on my score - add 20 strokes, easily. Not only from being physically exhausted from walking all over the place (it's pretty hilly, slope is 138), but also because walking would give me more time to brood and think about a bad shot. In a cart - drive up to your ball, hit it quickly, and don't think about the bad shot you just made. Not to mention the bonus of being able to drive around and get a breeze in your face when it's 95 degrees and incredibly muggy.

Granted, on weekends, pace of play (whether in carts or walking) is pretty much irrelevant, since it's going to be a six hour round anyway, what with the slow foursome ahead. So, yeah, that's that.

Do what you want, but just don't play slowly.

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I can play a round in 90 minutes by myself in a cart. So obviously it's not slower... under certain conditions. Sometimes those conditions are:

Hi Erik,

Thanks for the comment. I tried most of the suggestions you mentioned: taking a few clubs (2-4 depending on where I was and what I might possibly need next), walking to my ball, and encouraging my playing partner to go to his ball. After my shot (which I played when I was ready), I walked promptly to my ball for my next shot (or putt), using the clubs that I had with me. As I signed the "non-slow play" promise, I was trying to get our group to play a bit faster - not so much rushing the players, but encouraging everyone to take their shot if they're ready and if it's safe to do so. Is there anything else that can be done? Maybe you (or someone else on staff) could post an article on strategies to using a golf cart, expanding on some of the ideas you mentioned? For example, I'd love to know where some recommended

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I would not mind walking but all the courses I play are are spread out throught neighborhoods.

Most of the courses are also very hilly so I cannot imagine how long it would take to walk the course.

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I prefer to walk all 18 (still young 35) and slighty out of shape, so the exercise does me alot of good.

Also, walking for me helps me play better, normally you never ride a cart by yourself so you have to wait for the other guy to hit or vise versa, walking you go straight to your ball and think about the next shot coming up, or in some cases the walking to to the ball helps you vent anger or whatever over a bad shot...

For me walking over a cart anyday.

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(it's pretty hilly, slope is 138)

Slope has nothing to do with how hilly a golf course is. I hope you were joking.

If not, uhmmm, read this and this .
Thanks for the comment. I tried most of the suggestions you mentioned: taking a few clubs (2-4 depending on where I was and what I might possibly need next), walking to my ball, and encouraging my playing partner to go to his ball. After my shot (which I played when I was ready), I walked promptly to my ball for my next shot (or putt), using the clubs that I had with me. As I signed the "non-slow play" promise, I was trying to get our group to play a bit faster - not so much rushing the players, but encouraging everyone to take their shot if they're ready and if it's safe to do so. Is there anything else that can be done?

Were you held up by the people in front of you? Because you can only go as fast as they go...

Carts are almost always faster if you know how to use them and you're allowed to take them off the cartpaths so long as you do the things you did, the things I mentioned, and you park them in the appropriate places (where you walk off the green and towards the next tee if possible, not in front of the greens). But all that goes out the window if you have to wait on people in front of you. You could sometimes crawl and still keep pace in those situations.

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I thought slope did have to do with how hilly it was. Wrong, I guess. Either way, it's really hilly (I should try to get some pictures up).

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You want to try walking some of the courses in East Tennessee? This is severe hill country. I used to walk 36 on a sunday, carrying my bag. That was years ago, I wish I could still do it, but alas.

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You want to try walking some of the courses in East Tennessee? This is severe hill country. I used to walk 36 on a sunday, carrying my bag. That was years ago, I wish I could still do it, but alas.

I'd be a wheezing heart attack waiting to happen.

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i prefer the walk but occasionally use a cart for the novelty of it (they are pretty expensive to rent). I know it is faster to use one but i like to have the freedom of walking wherever on the course and not following paths and stopping 50 yards from the green and leaving my clubs because if i take one club then realise the lie is different so i need another one it is an inconvenience.

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