Leave the cart at the club house; you should be walking the golf course. Your doctor thinks so and so does the United States Golf Association.

Walking the course is the choice of the pros and, according to the USGA, the use of carts is a detriment to the sport and should be stopped. So basically, walking the course is good for your health, the course's health and even the game's health.

First, walking the course is great exercise. In one study, Swedish researchers concluded that walking a full round of golf was equal to 40-70% of the intensity of a full, high-impact aerobic workout. Another study, led by American cardiologist Dr. Edward Palank, proved that walking golfers were able to lower their levels of bad cholesterol. Basically, four hours of walking a good golf game is equal to about one 45-minute aerobics class.

Carts also damage a course and destroy the fairways. Typically, most courses discourage the use of carts on fairways for this very reason. The carts cause wear and tear, drag dirt onto the grass and create ditches and hazards. For the sake of the course and the environment of the area, walking is the best option.

And though it seems backwards, a walking team of golfers can usually complete 18 holes faster than golfers on carts. Basically, a walking team doesn't have to spend time all going to each individual golfer's ball on every hole, but can rather split up and maintain a steady speed throughout the course. So typically, the tortoise walkers win the race.

If you're new to walking the 3 kilometers of a full course or have become dependent on your cart but want to start walking the golf course again, you can always work your way back up to it. Try alternating your holes with a friend, with each of you walking every other hole or walk one set of nine holes and then ride the final nine. Once you're ready, go for the full eighteen.



Also, it may be time to invest in a lighter bag or a wheeled hand cart. Today, a number of companies sell a double-strap bag that can be worn like a backpack and is a lot easier on a walker's shoulders. If you opt for a wheeled hand cart, though, never take it onto the green.

Though it is tempting on a hot summer day to take the easy ride around the golf course, walking the entirety of the course instead will actually energize you in the long run.