Exercise Intensity and Activity Energy Expenditure of Professional Golf Players in Official Competitive Setting

Sports Health. 2023 Jun 6:19417381231175149. doi: 10.1177/19417381231175149. Online ahead of print.


Background: Research regarding the physical needs of professional golf players is lacking. With advances in wearable technology, it has become easier to analyze physiological responses such as heart rate (HR) to determine activity energy expenditure (AEE). The purpose of the study was to evaluate exercise intensity (EI) and AEE during 4 consecutive tournament's golf rounds using a popular wrist-based HR monitoring.

Hypothesis: Wearable systems for HR monitoring can be used to provide an accurate estimate of energy expenditure.

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Level of evidence: Level 3.

Methods: A total of 20 male professional golfers participated in the study. Each player was monitored during an official tournament consisting of 4 rounds of 18 holes. EI and AEE were determined using HR wrist monitoring (Whoop Strap 2.0). We calculated the percentage of HRmax (%HRmax) and the percentage of HRres (%HRres) and the AEE in kcal/min using Keytel's formula.

Results: The calculated mean %HRmax and %HRres for the study population were 56.4% ± 1.8% and 40.5% ± 2.6%, respectively. Considering American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, these average percentages correspond to a moderate EI. The average caloric expenditure was 5.4 ± 0.4 kcal/min and 1555.8 ± 157.8 kcal per round considering an average golf round duration of 288.3 ± 19.5 minutes.

Conclusion: A professional player's golf round is moderate physical activity. The AEE of this activity was equal to 5.4 cal/min, which is moderate energy consumption.

Clinical relevance: These data could help golf coaches and conditioning coaches to have a better understanding of the load placed on golfers during tournaments.

Keywords: energy expenditure; golf; wearable device; work intensity.