Science shows a Batcaddy saves strokes!

Hello BATCADDY Community! In this week's Walk-A-Round, we want to highlight Neil E. Wolkodoff, PhD, Sports Scientist. Neil just finished his study on the physiological effects of golf in different transport modes, one being BATCADDY Electric Push Carts!

Based upon his original study in 2012, Neil E. Wolkodoff, PhD, conducted a new study to further investigate the physiological effects of golf in different transport modes. These modes include using a pushcart, an electric trolley (this years study uses Batcaddys), and riding in a motor cart. In the first study, electric trolleys were not tested as they were used very little, now they account for a significant number of golfers walking the course. In short, carrying a bag, while still significant in numbers, has dropped with the addition of more pushcart and electric trolley use over the last three years.

How difficult was it to conduct the tests?
The tests themselves involved the subject being measured for 9 holes with the metabolic gear. As usual, there were numerou beta tests to determine how to approach this best. For example, we determined that the subjects used motor carts and pushcarts yet had little experience with and electric trolley. That resulted in putting that mode of transport and play last so the subjects could get used to the metabolic system without having to think about directing the BatCaddy. That also resulted in having the person arrive early for the ET session and go through an orientation session. From that point, we tried to find the same time of day for the subject as much as possible, so worked around course play and events. From actual study start to finish, this took 4.5 months for those reasons.

Does golf burn calories at a significantly higher rate than just walking?
Two important points here. Most people don’t walk for more than 30 minutes, and not at an accepted brisk pace. The comparison really breaks down and loses significance for both those reasons. Part of the reason golf works to aid health, especially regarding walking, is the kcal total for four plus hours is significant. Golf in any comparison will burn more energy than walking because the act of swinging the club is a whole-body activity. Terrain tends to have ups and downs, especially around greens and tee boxes, higher EE for that reason as well. So, on a minute-by-minute comparison, it is simply much better in the walking modes. The BC averaged 236 kcal per hour while the pushcart was 288 per hour for the golf subjects.

Does walking the course instead of riding in a cart give you better mental focus?
This was the first ever study to look at this relationship, and the limited answer is yes. Both the pushcart and the BatCaddy were significantly better than the motor cart using our mental focus scale. When walking you burn off a bit of bad mental thoughts and their results just from physical activity, or so it seems. And walking to the next shot tends to start the focus and planning process for that shot, so the golfer tends to get out of the past into the present. So, something to the physical part of walking imparting rhythm and focus from my observation.

Score was not quite significant in terms of change but trended strongly. As we know, you can have the best focus and several things can happen. Bad bounce, wind, mud on the golf ball, hard or soft ground, and other variables. The fact we only did one trial with each mode of transport/play, and score trended strongly actually supports the statistically significant changes in mental focus.

What was the main data you captured regarding pushing a cart, riding or using an Electric Push Cart?
First, a motor cart for those that can’t walk does add some kcal for the weekly total, so it has some value. It is just not moderate-level activity, so it is likely to have a minor health benefit compared to any forms of walking during golf play. Both the pushcart and the BatCaddy come in as moderate activity in relation to health improvement. Even though the BatCaddy was lower in this regard than the pushcart, it wasn’t that much lower. I think the question the golfer needs to ask themselves is using which mode correlates best with my mental focus and potential score? The BatCaddy and electric trolleys have a slight edge in our data regarding optimizing mental focus.

What were your main conclusions on the study?
First, golf, while walking, is a health building activity and unlikely a robust fitness development activity. It just doesn’t hit the threshold for changes. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t do something, yet we don’t really know fully, and unlikely if you are fit it will make you fitter.

I think the question the golfer needs to ask themselves is which walking mode correlates best with my mental focus and potential score? While some still like carry bags, my first study demonstrated score was better in the other walking modes. The BatCaddy and electric trolleys have a slight edge in our data in both mental focus and score. It also takes at least a couple of rounds to understand how to best use a device like the BatCaddy or a pushcart. It simply opens up various transport directions and options. For example, with the electric trolley, grab your putter when approaching the green and send the unit to the other side part way to the next tee box. It will take the golfer some thinking and practice to develop their personal strategy.

From a personal perspective, I hope the study will get golfers and others to think more about the relationship between various activity and health. It simply does not have to be a remake of The 300 movie and training program to improve health.

Neil Wolkodoff Bio


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