Golf and Health

Some people are interested in golf; even more are interested in health. This new article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine is a consensus statment “to guide action by people, policymakers and the golf industry.” It is also quite readable.

These are some of the consensus statements:

The best available evidence reports golf can have overall health benefits, being associated with increased longevity and improving known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Golf is associated with mental well-being benefits, and can positively influence health for those with disability.

Golf can provide social interactions, health-enhancing physical activity, green exercise and nature connection for persons of all ages, and specifically can provide moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. Strength and balance benefits are likely for older adults … Health benefits are likely greater for those walking the course as opposed to riding a golf cart, although those playing and riding a cart do gain health benefits.

To increase participation in sport, there is a need for an inclusive environment that embraces, encourages and welcomes individuals, groups and families from all of society, and this is true of golf. Efforts to provide an infrastructure, social norms and regulations that are welcoming to all can lower barriers to participation.

Some factors that may hinder interest and participation in the sport include perceptions that it is expensive, less accessible for those from lower socioeconomic groups, male dominated, a sport for older people, or difficult to learn. The cost of playing golf can hinder participation in some countries and at some facilities.

Golf facilities and the golf industry should build on existing initiatives promoting inclusivity, and encourage increased participation by developing environments and price structures that are welcoming to all … Facilities should make every effort to promote equality and diversity, and make golf accessible and environmentally sustainable. Facilities should consider being multifunctional (having facilities in addition to golf; eg, gym, walking routes, or child care) and having diversity of golf facilities.

There is a lot more, and I encourage you to read the full article if you are at all interested in these topics.

Micah Woods
Micah Woods

Scientist, author, consultant, and founder of the Asian Turfgrass Center