Rowing Golf - can you beat Par?!

Rowing Golf - can you beat Par?!

Ross Arnott Ross Arnott
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Rowing golf is a fun workout concept based loosely around the scoring system of golf.  It can be adapted for a wide range of rowing abilities and is also a great way to challenge your friends to a challenging workout!  Read on to find out what it is, how to set it up and score.

How does Rowing Golf work?

How does Rowing Golf work? Well it’s basically 9 holes (sets) of 1 minute rowing with 1 minute rest in-between sets. Loosely modelled on golf’s scoring your aim is to achieve the lowest score you can. The goal is to row the target distance to meet or beat “Par” (score 0 or level par).  If you manage to go further in your minute of rowing you might get a Birdie (-1), an Eagle (-2) or even an Albatross (-3), if you go less far then you’ll get a bogey (+1) or a double bogey (+2) added to your score. 

This might sound complicated but it's a great competition to challenge your friends and if you are rowing in the asensei app it takes care of all the scoring for you, so all you need to do is row and row hard!

One of the defining characteristics of golf is that it comes with a number of ways to level the playing field between those of different abilities - including allowing some golfers (such as youngsters) to play a shorter course by choosing different tee-off locations. That's something that we have tried to do with this workout session by allowing rowers to choose the difficulty level of the session by setting shorter distance targets in some versions.

Which Rowing Golf workout is for me?

This workout is for anyone, they key thing is to decide how tough a challenge to take on.  The table below summarizes the different tees (levels of difficulty).  If you are new to rowing or your pace is limited you might choose the Junior or Front tees, and for more advanced or ambitious rowers there are the middle and back tees.  You can see the target distances for each hole and try to match those to what you can achieve in 60 seconds of rowing.

In the asensei app we have implemented two levels of difficulty in separate rowing golf workouts.  Just like on a golf course BACK TEES are hardest since you have to row further (300m or more) in each minute to make par.  The MIDDLE TEES workout is slightly easier to make par, you need to row at least 265m.  Both workouts are available for asensei subscribers in the CREW X ASENSEI program.

In the app asensei gives you full instructions, sets you a target pace to hit par on each hole and keeps track of the score so you don't have to. You can go faster than target pace if you want to get a great score, but there are 9 holes to complete so make sure you don’t blow up before you get to the end, pacing is going to be important!

If you want to try this session yourself outside the asensei app you can calculate your own score with just a little effort (see section below).  You'll need to setup your machine to row 9 sets of 1 minute active rowing and 1 minute rest.  In the table below we’ve listed out the distances you should row for the various different tees, including some easier tees - forward and junior - but these are not (yet) implemented in the app.

If you want to pick an easier challenge you can still row along in the app and use the workout summary which contains the distances for each hole to manually calculate your score.  

While we created this as a bit of a fun workout, be warned that the existing in-app versions may not be for everyone as there are no handicaps (maybe something for the future!), so it can be pretty tough to make Par.

Score Back Tees Middle Tees Forward Tees Junior Tees
Double bogey (+2) row 279m or less row 249m or less row 199m or less row 149 or less
Bogey (+1) row 280-299m row 250-264m row 200-214m row 150-164m
Par (0) row 300-319m row 265-279m row 215-229m row 165-179m
Birdie (-1) row 320-339m row 280-294m row 230-244m row 180-194m
Eagle (-2) row 340-359m row 295-309m row 245-259m row 195-209m
Albatross (-3) row 360m or more row 310m or more row 260m or more row 210m or more

Rowing Golf distances - pick an appropriate set of 'tees' for your workout by choosing the target distance for each 'hole' (60 seconds rowing).

Rowing Golf - Workout Structure

This is a short but intense workout, It will be around 22 minutes in total so is ideal when you don't have a lot of time.  You'll work hard for each of the 9 minute intervals (holes) of the session and you need to make sure you have enough left in the tank to allow you to keep scoring well right to the end.

  • Warmup - 4min or more. 
  • Nine holes (sets) of 1 min with 1 min rest between holes
    • Choose which tees you want to set the difficulty level then try and beat the distances in the table above. 
  • Short Cooldown - 1 min
    • asensei will tell you your score or calculate your own (see below).

Rowing Golf - Keep your score

Manual Rowing Golf Scoring

Note your distance for each hole so that you can tot up your rowing golf score later using the table above.  To make life a little easier you can setup your monitor to do some of the work for you - by setting 1 minute intervals with 1 minute rest.

Setup an interval workout with 1 min on and one minute off - instructions for a Concept 2 PM5 and a WaterRower S4 are shown below:

Instructions for setting up a time interval workout on a Concept 2 PM5

Instructions for setting up a time interval workout on a WaterRower S4 Monitor

When the monitors are programmed you will get a summary of the distance rowed in each interval at the end of your workout.  Using the table above you can calculate your score for each hole based upon the distance rowed.  Sum the hole by hole scores and that's your total for rowing golf!  

Automatic Rowing Golf Scoring

If you workout using the asensei app your score will be calculated for you automatically, you will know how you have scored on each hole and given a summary at the end of the session.  This means you can enjoy your workout without having to program the monitor or perform any of the calculations manually, asensei does it all for you.

Once you are done can see the breakdown of each workout in the Workout Summary entry in the asensei app, with the rowing golf scores there alongside all the usual interval breakdowns showing distance, time, calories, stroke rate, power and more.

Rowing Golf - challenge a friend or a team

Rowing golf is a great workout to challenge a friend or team mates.  Do you have it in you to achieve a perfect score (27 under par, -27)?

If you want to involve a less experienced rower then why not suggest that they use an easier set of tees and see what score they can achieve.

We've heard of sports teams from all sorts of different disciplines such as rugby and football using this type of rowing golf workout as part of their training, it's definitely not just for rowers!  Send them a link to this page using the icons at the foot of the page and tell them to give it a try!

Rowing Golf - Summary

We've given you the rules for a fun golf-themed rowing workout, why not give it a try for your next session?  It's a short but intense session and great for sharing and challenging on social media.

We'd love to hear what you think so feel free to reach out via or share your scores, did you beat par?  Do you like the concept?  Do we need to add some easier versions to the asensei app? Should we add a handicap to level the playing field using asensei's knowledge of your performance?


asensei is compatible with WaterRower rowing machines with Bluetooth support.  This means that great indoor rowing workouts and training programs from asensei's coaches such as Eric Murray, British Rowing, Dark Horse Rowing and Johan Quie are now available for WaterRower users for the first time.

asensei is FREE to download and with no commitment you can trial the first 3 workouts in the (RE)COMMIT program and also workouts from MASTER THE BASICS, (RE)FOCUS, SWEAT FACTORY and BE A DARK HORSE.

All you need is an iPhone and access to an asensei Compatible rowing machine from Concept 2, WaterRower or FluidRower with a bluetooth capable monitor.

download asensei from the appstore


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