The Benefits of Golf
Golf is a great game. I love it, but a recent conversation with a colleague made me realise that a lot of people have an outdated view of this wonderful sport and don’t realise the wide range of mental and physical benefits that it offers.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh recently published a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which highlighted golf’s many benefits. It stated that playing golf is likely to increase life expectancy, help prevent chronic diseases and improve mental health. The researchers found that golf is likely to improve cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health, as well as helping sufferers of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes. What’s more, the physical benefits of golf increase with age, and balance and muscle endurance in older people are also improved by playing the sport.
The study found that golfers typically burn at least 500 calories over 18 holes. Those walking can cover between four to eight miles (the way I zig-zag across the fairways it’s probably more like nine!). Increased exposure to sunshine (which provides us with vitamin D) and fresh air were found to be additional benefits. The physical aspects of golf could also help reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and dementia.
“We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits, and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer. Evidence suggests golfers live longer than non-golfers, enjoying improvements in cholesterol levels, body composition, wellness, self-esteem and self-worth. Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages.”
Dr Andrew Murray, Lead researcher – Golf & Health Project, Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh
Golf provides mental well-being benefits. Research highlights that golf can help individuals improve their confidence, self-esteem and anxiety levels. Physical activity is a proven treatment for depression and anxiety and can help to prevent these conditions. A good walk in the fresh air does wonders for endorphin and serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and reduced levels of stress and anxiety. Coupled with an escape from the hassles of work and day-to-day living the game can provide great relaxation.
As well as being a fiercely competitive sport (if you want it to be), playing golf can be a great social activity. Playing a round with one, two or three fellow golfers you’ll strike up conversations about anything and everything. The golf clubhouse is a wonderful venue for socialising, meeting people with a variety of lifestyles and making new friends – I’ve made a number of good friends through golf with people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise and we’ve had some great laughs on and off the course.
Maintaining Mental Alertness
Weighing up the risk / reward elements of a particular shot, working out yardages, calculating points, adding up scores and the other various facets of the game all aid in keeping the mind sharp.
Easy to learn, impossible to master
Getting to grips with the basics of golf is pretty straightforward, however if you think you’ve got it mastered you’ll get a rude awakening! Many clubs offer programmes for beginners and golf pros are keen to give lessons to help golfers improve.
Dungannon Golf Club is offering a variety of activities to help people get into golf. www.dungannongolfclub.com/getintogolf/
Their free 30 min individual “Taster Sessions” are proving popular. There is also a Five Week Starter programme which gives all new starters and those returning to the game a fun and relaxed introduction. The five-week programme for only £50 provides expert tuition, by PGA Professional David Graham, on all aspects of the game. Lessons last one hour and are in small groups, with separate classes for men and women.
No dress code. No equipment. No experience required.
When you complete the Five Week Starter Programme you will be entered in a draw to win a £250 membership voucher that can be used to pay for for all or part of your membership. (Terms and conditions apply.) There are several other good deals on offer.
Click on the link for further details, www.dungannongolfclub.com/getintogolf/ or phone Wallace McCarroll on 028 8772 2098.