Golf – longer, healthier and harder than you think

LAST month I posted an article that was meant to answer all those people that felt that 4 rounds of golf in one day wasn’t really much of a challenge.

Well, in that article, I included a link to Inside Golf where editor Richard Fellner has added some science to the debate around how far we walk in a round of golf.

It appears Richard somehow found the article and added a great link to an updated post from last year where Inside Golf embarked on an Australia wide project to actually track how far the average golfer walked in the course of a round.

The results of the project were posted in June last year and resulted in the distance walked versus the scorecard increasing to an astounding 77% more!

The study also had some interesting additional data items from respondents who used mobile apps like Map My Run to include data on calories burned.

The average number of calories burned in the sample rounds was in the 900 – 1000 calorie range and these numbers didn’t include swinging the club or other non motion activities like pitch mark repair or bending to retrieve balls from the hole.

All in all, that’s useful info when considering our Macmillan Cancer Longest Day Challenge next week (Sunday 22nd June).

Over the 4 rounds we should use over 4,000 calories. That’s some amount of calories to burn and replace during one day.

To put this into some kind of perspective, according to, the number of calories burnt in a marathon (26.2 miles running for those that don;’t already know!) ranges between 2,224 and just over 3,500.

And remember, we hadn’t included any of the active but non motion stuff in golf! Website had an article that listed the amount of calories burnt in playing golf and stated that the average person at the driving range would burn somewhere in the region of 211 calories per hour of hitting golf balls.

Back in the original post, I calculated that the 4 rounds challenge would contain about 3 hours solid of hitting golf balls. So there is another 633 calories added in.

Total calories burnt in the longest day rounds = 4,633

Some total.

You can read the full account of Richard’s survey here.

For those that are interested, rebasing the longest day distance the team is going to walk with Inside Golf’s updated figures gives an estimated 18 miles for the full day.

Whew! The challenge is getting bigger and bigger with each day that passes.

Remember, that you can still help us to raise money for Macmillan Cancer by sponsoring our challenge via our Just Giving page below.

Thanks again.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!


The value of routine – why I have found it important

THE idea for this post really struck me yesterday as I squelched round my first round of golf in over 3 months. It was going surprisingly well and I couldn’t rationalise why. I kept thinking that since I hadn’t swung a club in anger for so long that my body would have forgotten the motion. Then there was the effect of the layoff on the most important part of golf – the mind. Surely with nearly a quarter of a year off, the doubt swishing around my mind would cause untold errant shots, dodgy decisions and poor scores? But this wasn’t the case.

Ok so there was the odd bad shot and there were certainly plenty of missed putts but on the whole not a bad performance. In fact, statistically, it was my 3rd best round of golf since I retook the game up again over 2 years ago. Amazed? I know I was!

The reason I felt with a growing certainty was something to do with my routines.

Golf has long been synonymous with the value of routine. I had actually worked hard on building routines into my game over the past two years. I tried to make sure that I set up for a shot the same way each time I was out on the course. I got into my stance in the same way each time, whether on the course or on the range. My putting routine was unvaried to any great degree since I had taken the sport up the first time (even though the feel may have deserted me in the temporary layoff). It appeared to me that those routines had enabled both mind and body so slot back into the habit of swinging the clubs without losing so much as a step.

After the round, I actually thought that not only had the routines helped me return to playing the game quickly and easily, I felt that I was actually swinging better than I was when I had decided to part company with the game at the start of the winter.

It’s surely more than just muscle memory as the mind is such an integral part of the game. The mind must surely be responding to the sense of familiar and allowing the muscles to use their memory – otherwise the mind would be trying to control the muscles and causing havoc.

I then thought about routines in my own job and the value that having those routines gave me. I have never considered myself a very structured or ordered person and a causal observer in my home may well agree that this is the very last thing I am but many of the people I work with assume (wrongly BTW) that I have some form of OCD as much of my work appears routine driven.

I have my best days when I can get into my routine undistracted and start to move through the day with confidence. That doesn’t mean that everyday has to be completely structured and controlled exactly as planned. It simply means that the morning routines that gently move me from sleep and home to work, perform exactly the same function as those routines that enable me to swing the golf club freely after many months off. Those self same work routines enable me to deal with coming back from holidays and get back into the work mode as easily and stress free as possible.

The days when I feel disrupted and out of control start badly and with a lack of routine.

My routines in work consists of:

  • Coming in, booting my laptop and making a cup of coffee while it starts
  • Logging on, opening Outlook and printing my calendar for the day
  • Checking the morning reports and logs from the night before
  • Highlighting any areas that will potentially cause problems for the day
  • Checking my calendar and engaging for the rest of the day

Note that my day doesn’t consist of necessarily doing the same thing everyday. After this, I could have all day meetings, be sorting through backlogs of emails, working on projects, dealing with customers or staff or planning out new ideas.

The structured routine of the morning creates, in the words of Mason Currey from his book Daily Rituals, “a solid routine fosters a well worn groove for one’s mental energies and help stave off the tyranny of moods.” Currey studies the routines of many famous creatives throughout the ages and lists them out. In his introduction he cites chronic procrastinator William James talking about this very topic. James said by forming good habits we can “free our minds to advance  to really interesting fields of action”

Readers of this blog will know that I wrote a post entitled 10 ways to make yourself write every day. I have strived to make this a reality and, in another post was charting the use of Habitforge to create a new habit of writing every day but have so far failed to make it an “every day” habit. Perhaps this is down to the lack of a routine for writing.

While my writing output has been better and more than ever I thought possible, I feel that I need to generate a routine around my writing that makes it more and more like the golf swing or eases my mind into it the way the routine does in my workday morning.

Some quick takeaways for building routines:

  1. Start simple with something small. It’s important to give yourself quick wins
  2. Give yourself some time to groove the new routine to see the benefits. Ever go to bed early one night and wake up the next day feeling worse than you did the day before? There’s no benefit to be had doing something just once.
  3. Use something positive to build the routine rather than forming a routine that focuses on preventing something negative. Smoking is the classic example. Form new routines with your hands rather than focusing on not smoking.
  4. Change one thing at a time. More than that and you’ll overwhelm yourself.
  5. Willpower is a finite resource. If you find you are dealing with a lot of change, the simpler the change the better
  6. Make the barrier to entry as low as possible. If you are planning to go for a run each morning, make sure that you leave out your running kit in the handiest place to get changed into – consider even sleeping in your jogging bottoms ready to get out and start running – clean ones obviously!

I intend to explore some more ideas, including some from Mason’s excellent book and have some fun trying to implement them with my own writing. I’ll be posting about some of the best on this blog in the near future.

Published at last! (well in print anyway…)

Behold – my first attempt at writing with an end in mind. Inspired to write a letter to Golf Monthly at the end of The Open Championship I thought i might stand a chance using what I have learned in my writing course to get published! Who’d have thought 1st time out!

To check it out in big print click on the thumbnail below!

The original letter is on the blog here

Golf_Monthly_Letter copy copy

Nice to see

Watching the final moments of the 142nd Open Championship from Muirfield on the BBC, it was great to see the reaction at the end of the Woods/Scott pairing between Tiger Woods and his former caddy Steve Williams. While many who do not follow the ins and out of golf may not understand the significance of the moment between the world #1 and his former caddy on the 18th on Sunday evening, for those of us that do it must warm the heart. As Tiger missed his birdie putt and yet another major rolled by with Tiger falling short, Steve Williams was straight over as Tiger pulled his last putt out of the hole. With one hand extended and the 18th flag in the other, Williams met his old employer and with a few firm shakes epitomised the spirit of golf. Williams has been particularly blundering with some of the comments he has made but with Williams coming off a Major win with new boy Adam Scott, the day must have been difficult for Tiger no matter what the renowned mental strength of the man. Similarly, arguably the greatest golfer of the modern era has not been a paragon of behaviour on or off the golf course himself. I personally was pleased to see them both behaving with the dignity and respect that the game of golf deserves. Whether it was media coaching or good manners either way it demands recognition as the only way to end a round of golf – even in the most competitive arena on earth!