The decision to walk vs. ride a cart will be something long debated by all golfers, especially if you are planning an extended golf trip. Ultimately the final answer will be a subjective one, but there are some factors you may want to consider in choosing the right answer for you.
It should be noted that in some circumstances, this choice will be taken away from you on both sides of the equation. Some courses will mandate carts of walking based on any number of reasons important to them, including preservation of nature and or the ability to charge you more for an all-inclusive package.
Do your research when figuring out what courses you may play on your next round or trip, and have a conversation with your buddies if there is any disagreement.
Starting with the basics, golf was a game designed for people to be walking. I can assure you carts did not exist when golf started many hundreds of years ago in Scotland. So if nothing else, you are getting in touch with the history of the game. But there are plenty of other benefits too:
On average, those walking will burn twice as many calories in a round as those in a cart. If you wish to use your golf outings as a form of exercise, this is simply too good an opportunity to pass up.
- Better golf routines … and hopefully better golf
Walking will allow you to set your own pace and rhythm. Hopefully, with this better feel, you can create more consistency in your game.
- Save money
Carts normally cost extra on top of your round. Enough said.
- Better socially
When you are in a cart, you tend to spend most of the time with one partner and often don’t see a lot of your fellow foursome members. Walking will allow you to spend more time with your whole group.
- Have the clubs you need
We have all been there when playing cart path golf. You take the clubs you think you need to your ball only to find out you need something else. Sometimes, you may venture back to the cart, but you will compromise and not hit the shot you should more often than not.
- Soak up the experience
By taking a bit more time to soak in your environment, the game of golf can provide so many more rewards than purely playing well. Walking will allow you to see the course, and surrounding views, in their full beauty, whereas often with carts, you will simply fly past the best parts of what your day has to offer.
There are some weaknesses of walking too, including the potential to be exposed more to the sun and other harmful environmental conditions. Also, your energy can be sapped if you have plans for a big day or to play 36.
Whilst it may be becoming clear that I am a proponent of walking, if possible, there are benefits to carrying too, and there is a time and place for everything.
- Playing multiple rounds
If you have plans to play multiple rounds in a day, cartings may make that easier. You certainly will have more energy and can more easily carry much-needed supplies with you.
- Quicker golf ( sometimes )
There is much debate as to whether golf carts speed up golf or not. If you are playing in a full field, I think the answer is they don’t. In fact, sometimes carts can even be slower if you are crossing vast country and looking for everyone’s balls in different places.
Where carts can save time is on courses with long walks from greens to tees. Equally, if you are playing a round as a single or two, you certainly can make up time if a course is empty or groups in front of you see letting you play through as an easy alternative.
- Easier access to technology
Carts are not the only way to achieve this benefit, but these days, many modern carts have built-in GPS displays and even power charging ports for phones and portable speakers.
- More fun if you are drinking
If your golf game does involve a few cheeky drinks, walking can create some challenges, whereas carts provide spots for storing drinks and even ice to keep them cool.
- Carts can be more inclusive
Carts will allow golfers who may simply not be able to walk to enjoy the game. Elderly players, injured players, or even, in my case, young children who enjoy the experience of a cart will be able to be more easily engaged.
Given a chance, and especially on new bucket list courses, I will always push for walking a course. However, there are times and places for carts, and on occasion, I am always keen to keep things simple.
If you wish to try something different from your normal routine, talk to your buddies about the benefits for both. You may be surprised to hear they feel the same way.