Golf ‘could hold key’ to improving lives of physically inactive

A study has found that introducing Golf to those who are not meeting the recommended levels of exercise could have a transformative effect on their lives.

Research suggests that previously physically inactive people who get into golf are likely to pick it up regularly and become healthier – partly because they don’t see golf as exercise.

The findings are the result of an investigation by England Golf, Mytime Active and ukactive into the impact of playing golf on health and wellbeing.

More than 3,200 golfers at 12 Mytime Active courses were surveyed about their participation.

The study showed that the more people play the happier they’ll be, with the golfers who took most activity scoring well above the national average for their mental wellbeing.

As a result, it is estimated that golf is saving local authorities in the survey area a total of £3.4m a year in health costs.

There are even bigger potential savings if the golfers who play the least continue their participation and become more active.

The findings will now be used to investigate the possibility of making golf available on referral by GPs.

Steven Ward, CEO of ukactive, said: “This research provides further evidence that simply by undertaking regular moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking during a game of golf, you can improve your overall health and happiness.”

Research highlights:

• Golf has a particular appeal to people who undertake less than 150 minutes of exercise each week – the recommended level in the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) guidelines. More than 70 per cent of the people surveyed in the study were in this category.

• Golfers are likely to stick with the sport. More than 70 per cent were positive that they would play golf regularly during the next year. However, the evidence showed that some people don’t count golf as exercise, highlighting the need to promote this aspect of the sport.

• A large number of golfers (78 per cent) are satisfied with their lives and the survey finds their mental wellbeing increases very noticeably, the more they play. The most active golfers scored an average 8.35 out of 10, when assessing how satisfied they were with their lives; the score fell to 7.12 for inactive golfers.

To download and read the report in full, click here.