Whether you’re a scratch golfer or regularly top 100 on the scorecard, golf can be a fun and relaxing way to pass the time. As an added bonus, if you walk those 18 holes, golf also counts as heart-healthy exercise — which should give you even more incentive to get out of the house and onto the course.
A study from the Center for Health and Sport Science at the Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, found carrying your own bag over 18 holes can burn upwards of 1,400 calories. So if you want to get some fresh air and have about four hours to kill, playing golf is a legitimate workout.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best golf courses to walk in America. So, the next time you hit the links, skip the motorized cart, schlep your own bag and burn serious calories.
1. BANDON DUNES GOLF RESORT
If you like your land rugged and your walks wind-swept, then Oregon’s Bandon Dunes is for you. Nestled along a remote patch of coastline, and situated among massive sand dunes and formidable pine trees, walking the course is akin to taking nature hike but with clubs. And with six courses to choose from, you can keep walking all week long.
2. PEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS
Pebble Beach, California
It’s not cheap, and you’ll need to book a tee time well in advance, but there’s a reason Pebble Beach is so popular. With nine holes perched above the Pacific Ocean, the views are stunning. It’s the type of place you’d want to take a stroll anyway, golf or no golf. (But definitely play some golf.)
3. STRAITS COURSE AT WHISTLING STRAITS
Kohler — yes, the company that makes faucets — happens to own one of the country’s best golf resorts. All four Pete Dye-designed courses on the property are worth visiting, but if it’s a good walk you’re after, play the Straits Course. The walking-only course runs along Lake Michigan, offering dramatic views, challenging golf (beware the hundreds of bunkers) and plenty of exercise.
4. BETHPAGE STATE PARK
Farmingdale, New York
This public collection of five courses is a go-to for serious golfers, in part because the renowned Black Course has hosted two U.S. Opens, and will host the PGA Championship in 2019. If you venture out there yourself, you can expect a 6-mile walk, plenty of elevation change and — depending how you’re hitting it that day — a scramble into and out of deep bunkers. Hey, all in the name of cardio.
5. PINEHURT RESORT
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Many know Pinehurst from its reputation — it’s hosted more major championships than any other course in the country. But it’s not just for pros, so go ahead and make a tee time on one of the property’s nine courses. You really can’t go wrong, but Pinehurst No. 2 is the centerpiece of it all, and offers long walks down tree-lined fairways. If you don’t want to carry your own bag, or just need some sage advice, hire a caddie — Pinehurst offers some of the best around.
6. CHAMBERS BAY
University Place, Washington
Opened in 2007, this walking-only golf course brings a taste of Scotland-style links to the Pacific Northwest. With views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, you’ll be glad to stretch your legs along the fairways and greens of this beautifully designed course. Hey, it was good enough for the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open, so there’s a good chance you’ll like it.
7. STREAMSONG RESORT
Bowling Green, Florida
One of the best public golf resorts in the country is also one of the finest places to take a nice, long walk. Choose between three courses — Red, Blue or Black — and enjoy a walk among rolling fairways, verdant greens, lakes and striking sand dunes. There’s always something to look at, whether you’re on the tee box, lining up a putt or hunting for your ball in the brush.
8. ERIN HILLS
Home to the 2017 U.S. Open, Erin Hills is a walking-only course that doesn’t even allow pull carts. So prepare to carry your bag or hire a caddy. But relish that stroll, because walking is the best way to enjoy the 652 acres of rolling hills and unique terrain this course has to offer.