The sound of regular golfers the world over breathing sighs of relief must have been palpable when it was recently announced by some ,no doubt extremely well funded, sports science research teams ,following months and months of rigorous study, that they have now concluded that not only is GOLF the greatest of all sports but it is in fact good for you as well. Who Knew ?
Well to be candid about it, approximately 99.999999% of all those who have ever dared to step on to the hallowed turf of any golf course could have told them that.
By current estimates that amounts to regular players alone of 55 million doing battle on 32,000 courses in over 200 countries !
Before we get into the big positives on the health benefits we just need to point out that to get the full effect you really need to be a walking golfer; in the great tradition of the game.
If you are able, walking your local 18 holes is reckoned to burn up to 1500 calories. Given that recommended daily levels are approx 2500 for men and 2000 for women, this should still allow for a refreshing ale at the 19th without too much guilt; not sure about the Full Golfer’s Grill unfortunately. These figures on calorie burn assume around 5 miles walking, something like 12500 steps and deemed equivalent to a half hour gym session ( whatever that is ? ). Your total distance covered is of course dependent on the ability of you and your playing partners to keep it on the short stuff most of the time.
It is being claimed that walking for at least two and a half hours every week reduces the risk of heart attack by 30 – 40%.For those regularly playing 3 or 4 times per week and spending probably 15 hours plus per week on their course this must be very comforting. As well as the excellent aerobic exercise this level of walking also promotes healthy bones, aids weight loss ( remember that Golfer’s Grill ! ) and of course plenty of invigorating fresh air, particularly if you are fortunate to have one of our great Scottish links courses to play on.
The physical demands and benefits are fairly obvious. However a large part of the recent health benefits analysis on playing golf has now tended to focus on the mental health side. This particular factor has not just been acknowledged in our modern world, where every top performer seems to include a sports psychologist within their backup team. Indeed back in the 1920’s one of the U.K’s Prime Ministers David Lloyd George was quoted as stating
“ Golf is the only game where the worst player gets the best of it.He obtains more out of it as regards both exercise and enjoyment, for the good player gets worked up over the slightest mistake, whereas the poor player makes too many mistakes to worry about them, “
Was he correct ? Well partly. You could easily argue that the better players tend to play more often, therefore their benefit is increased, but certainly in the strange situation we have all had to deal with during 2020, those fortunate to be able to head off on to their local golf course have been rewarded with a genuine boost to their own well being.
Significant reductions in feelings of stress, anxiety and depression leading to improved levels of happiness, relaxation and self respect.
All very encouraging but we may have to include for some anger management for those few members in every club ( you know who you are ! ) whose regular meltdowns are a regular feature and on-going concern at the monthly medal.
Of course all of us who love the game of golf appreciate the importance of a strong mental game….the most important shot in golf is the next one….and we all occasionally dwell too long on that silly missed putt, fluffed chip or hooked drive out of bounds but however we play and however poor the conditions we cannot wait for the next opportunity to tee it up again.
A beautiful course. Some good shots. Some great company and Great for our Health.
What more could any golfer want ? Oh yes almost forgot. A Covid free clubhouse.