A study presented at the 55th American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting has shown that golfers change their swing and key swing mechanics throughout the course of 18 holes of walked golf.
The researchers examine the relationship between time, mechanical variables, and performance variables related to the golf swing. The mechanical variables included ground reaction forces bilaterally; sagittal plane ankle, knee, and hip angles; angular velocity of the pelvis and thorax, and their relative timing. The performance variables included club head velocity and shot consistency.
The researchers examined 7 golfers (one female and 6 males), with typical scores between 80 and 95, during a simulated game of walked golf. They walked a total of six miles, in one mile increments, while carrying a weighted bag. Before the first mile, and after each subsequent mile, the golfers hit 20 tee shots, for a total of 140 tee shots.
Over the course of the study, the golfers were less able to achieve an appropriate weight transfer of the lead leg. This resulted in decreased club head velocity, which affects the distance the ball will travel. The study also revealed that the angles of the lead knee and lead ankle at the top of the swing are affected by time. These factors typically affect the accuracy of the shot.
The study suggest that walking the golf course affects a golfer’s swing and performance, gradually decreasing club head velocity and shot consistency. The longer the golfer walks and swings, the more golf mechanics change and performance declines. This may be intensified if the golfers carry their bags while walking.
The researchers do not suggest that golfers use a cart instead of walking; however, they do recommend improving fitness to combat these effects. They state that “improving physical fitness may be more helpful than expensive golf clubs.”
I would imagine that one of the best ways to become more fit at golfing would be to always walk the course during play. Unfortunately, this just adds to the learning curve. I was never very good at golf, and I gave up on it after only a few years.
I like walking when I play golf. It's just the whole point of being able to exercise as well as enjoying the sport. Carrying your bag is a drag. I've never done it cuz here in southeast asia, we are lucky to have caddies at all times. They carry the burden.