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Unspoiling a Good Walk: Masters Style

Posted by Adam Naylor  April 12, 2013 04:24 PM

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Masters weekend is upon us, so time to take a break from this blog’s running and gym talk… time to give a bit of respect to the fitness potentials of golf. Did you know that walking 18-holes of golf burns about 1450 calories? Did you know that you walk in the range of 6-7 miles over the course of a round of golf? Because you are not running and the ball is not moving, it is easy to be a fitness snob when it comes to appreciating golf. Nonetheless it is good exercise for both mind and body.

This being said, the saying often attributed to Mark Twain, “golf is a good walk spoiled,” resonates a bit too loudly. Golf is a great walk if approached with the right mindset and a bit of good humor. Regardless if you are a weekend hacker or striving to be the club champ, here are a few thoughts towards unspoiling a perfectly good walk:

Give yourself the break you would give others. We are funny social beings who can get caught up in putting false thoughts into the minds of others. Perhaps you have thought, "They will think I'm a real idiot if I shank this tee shot." Rory Mcllory put his tee shot deep into the backyard of Augusta National's cabins in 2011. Your playing partners probably think he's a decent golfer and a decent person. They probably also pay little ill will to your scuffs and struggles over the course of a round. Try to be as accepting of your golf game as your playing partners will be.

Flake out rather than focus intensely. There is a lot to see and appreciate around a golf course. Between the wildlife, ingenious course design or affable playing partners, there is something for everyone. Intense focus is only required when you are standing over your golf ball. Enjoying the walk is allowed in between swings. Take time to stop and smell the azaleas.

Play with perspective. Golf appears so easy… neither the ball nor you are moving. Yet if we put it in perspective, the club head is pretty small, the golf ball is even smaller, and your plan is to put it into a cup with a 4.25 inch diameter that lies over 100 yards away… quickly. Recent research has highlighted the value of how stepping back, smiling, and accepting the challenge really improves one’s golf game. This weekend, many PGA professionals will find themselves hitting shots off of pine straw and a few will watch their ball roll unapologetically into Rae’s Creek. Finding trouble around a golf course is just part of the good walk.

A good walk can be as healthy as a good run. Mark Twain is a funny guy… he may be off base about golf if you approach it with the right mindset. This Masters weekend enjoy the eye popping color of Augusta National that streams into your living room. Then consider getting outside for a good walk… perhaps while playing a handful of holes of golf.

NaylorMug.jpgDr. Adam Naylor leads Telos Sport Psychology Consulting and is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Boston University’s School of Education. During the golf season, he serves as the mental game professional at The Bay Club Mattapoisett and Nashawtuc Country Club. He is the author of A Quick 9 for the Mind: Reflections from the Public Links to the US Open and is active in helping develop New England’s future collegiate golfers. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ahnaylor.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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