Did you know that the average golfer travels roughly 5 miles during an 18 hole round of golf! I am unsure how many rounds of golf I played in my life. Definitely not as many as some of you I’m sure, but I have played a lot. Maybe…300 or 400 rounds (which would include A LOT of 9-hole rounds as I have been a member at two different 9-hole courses). Of those, I would guess that I have walked at least 80% of them. I enjoy taking a cart, but I really enjoy walking more. A lot of my friends would rather take a cart. I will sometimes try to convince them to walk, but that doesn’t get far. I think part of the reason they prefer to ride is because they don’t have the right equipment to make a walking round more enjoyable, such as:
- A lightweight stand bag.
- A comfortable pair of shoes.
- Comfortable golf clothing (especially socks).
- GPS and/or a rangefinder.
In my opinion, those items are fairly essential to enjoy a round of walking (with the exception of the GPS/rangefinder perhaps). If you are looking to walk more rounds of golf, here are my suggestions, all of which can be found here at 3balls.com.
If you are going to be carrying your bag, it is a must that you find one that is light and that has dual straps. It is also nice to find a bag that can adequately hold everything you need it to. Remember, if you are going to be walking, you’ll be keeping everything you need in this bag (no baskets or dashboards like in a cart to hold things). However, you don’t want to overdo it looking for a bag with a TOO many pockets and compartments. That adds weight. This Titleist Ultra Lightweight Stand Bag is the exact bag that I have been using the last two seasons. Extremely light. The only thing that I would change is I would love to have one more club separator. Three or four would be nice, but it is still great and I use it all the time. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to walk more. You hardly even notice it on your back.
Picking a pair of shoes is always a tough choice, especially for golf. In my experience, golf shoes never feel the same on the course as they did when you tried them on in the store. Usually they get broken in and everything is great, but every once in a while you’ll get that one pair that just doesn’t want to cooperate. I like to try out different brands, but I quickly realized that Footjoy shoes rarely hurt my feel. I haven’t owned too many other brands, so I can’t comment much on them. I have several pairs of Footjoys. The ones that are best to walk in, in my opinion, are the Footjoy Dryjoys Tour and the Footjoy FJ Sports. Both are very comfy and I haven’t found any others that I’d rather walk in. We have several colors/styles to choose from for each.
One thing that can make me wish I had taken a cart and not walked is the clothing I am wearing. I have no doubt that most of you have been there before…uncomfortable shorts, a heavy collared shirt, and socks that do nothing for your feet. Those things have a bigger impact on your score than you probably realize. Being comfortable from the first tee until the 18th green is crucial. Obviously the material you choose is based a lot on where you live/the climate you play in, but I think most people would agree that clothing designed specifically for golf is usually the best way to go. Socks are possibly the most important part of your golf wardrobe. Socks designed specifically for golf are usually designed with walking in mind as well as the correct length for stylish and comfortable golf. Here are a few items that I would suggest taking a look at if you are in the market for some real golf clothing.
The ClimaLite shirts by Adidas are amazing. If you haven’t experienced one before, you are missing out. These are what golf shirts are supposed to be like.
These Nike Dri-Fit Tech Pants not only look great they feel amazing too. Honestly, try a pair of these, you’ll wonder why you ever wasted your time wearing something else.
Socks are critical. There are several nice golf socks out there, but these Nike Dri-Fit Essential No-Show socks are the ones I recommend.
I see more and more golfers utilizing GPS devices and rangefinders. I love seeing it as long as it is necessary (using a rangefinder when you are 20 yards away is a bit excessive). It tends to speed up play a bit (less time walking off yardages or searching for sprinkler heads) and it has a big impact on a players score. For walking purposes, I think it really helps eliminate extra or unnecessary walking by giving you the exact yardage and not forcing you to walk off distances. Strangely enough, it can also help you find lost balls. If you are searching for your drive and you look at your GPS and it tells you that you are 330 yards from the tee but you typically hit the ball 275 yards, you need to back up. The idea that it will help lower you score also shows that it speeds up your round (less shots equals less time). I’ve used both GPS and rangefinders. I like them both about the same. Here are my suggestions.
The Leupold GX-4i Rangefinder is small and very accurate. I’ve used this model before and it is very quick and easy to use. It is extremely easy to hit the flagstick and also easy to find the yardages to other parts of the course such as water, trees, bunkers, etc.
As for GPS, I like the Golf Buddy World GPS. It has a great looking screen and also very easy to use. I really like having a GPS when I play new courses. It gets frustrating standing on the tee having no idea what the hold really looks like. This GPS can easily fix that.
So, whether you decide to walk or ride is up to you. Just keep in mind that walking has many benefits such as being cheaper and exercise. I also find it much more relaxing strolling down the fairway rather than zipping down it in a cart.