GFAA Best Practice: Highlight the Health and Wellness Benefits of Walking the Course

Derrick Griffitts
, the 2021 Kentucky PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year and four-time Section Award winner, is the PGA General Manager at Clear Creek Golf Center in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Derrick Griffitts on the importance of highlighting the health and wellness benefits of walking the course:

Of the many benefits that golf provides – the challenge, the camaraderie, the competition – one of the most important and rarely highlighted benefits of playing the game is the effect on one’s health. I developed a website ( that calculates the distance in miles that a golfer has walked based on the number of holes he or she has played. For every nine holes walked at Clear Creek for instance, a golfer is credited with 2½ miles walked (1 mile for every nine holes played with a cart). The website has a search function that allows the golfer to select any course in the country and based on the algorithm built in, a resulting mileage is determined. I created this to foster an atmosphere of improving one’s health through golf. Through this website, golfers have a place to record their rounds and see the miles grow. Though the website was implemented in 2016, we started these efforts several years earlier to create a more social environment. Walking groups would form and golfers, primarily our seniors, started talking about how many miles they walked, rather than the scores they shot. We have “distance tracker” signage at points on the course that display how far they’ve walked and provide encouraging messages like “You’re almost there!” and “Congrats on your healthy round of golf!” to motivate them to go on. Before the website, I would calculate similar statistics based off our sign-in sheets. We have even had promotions over the years that included setting goals (10,000 miles for instance) and we’d plot these collective miles walked on our golf course in our “trek across the country”, highlighting points of interest and milestones along the way. It developed a sense of camaraderie around an aspect of golf that sometimes doesn’t get its due with the everyday golfer.

Derrick Griffitts on the business impact of highlighting the health and wellness benefits of walking the course:

With golf fitness becoming more mainstream, and the talk of the Tour these days, I felt the need to highlight the health benefits that our golfers were attaining by simply walking nine holes. People look at golf for the discretionary values that it adds to their lives. But I felt it was important to show them why they need the game in their lives. This way golfers could measure their participation in the game not by their scores, but by their health. I’ve had more than 100 golfers involved with this endeavor over the years, and it continues to grow as our vital message is communicated. It gets individuals together and highlights their health. We even have a Wall of Fame that showcases our biggest walkers and most ardent participants. I’ve used the program with my junior golfers as well, as they can be as competitive as our seniors. Rounds are up 30 percent over last year at our course – COVID had a lot to do with it, but so has our focus on health and fitness.

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