Golf is an enjoyable sport for people of all ages, offering a peaceful venue for both companionship and competition. The sport is good exercise and a great way to appreciate a natural setting with the people you enjoy spending time with most. Golf also has the advantage of being a sport that you can play your entire life. Europe has over 6,000 golf courses, providing the opportunity to play different courses and enjoy a wide range of natural environments.
Playing golf has numerous health benefits – it’s a great way to be active, stay active, and enjoy being active.
- During an 18-hole round of golf players take at least 10,000 steps and travel over 8 km.
- The spectators at a golf championship, such as The Open being played at St Andrews this week, will walk many kilometers to watch their favourite golfers.
- Walking 18 holes of golf while carrying your clubs can burn over 2,000 calories.
- Playing golf regularly improves your balance. Older golfers especially have better static and dynamic balance than their non-golfing peers.
- The walking involved in playing two rounds of golf per week is equivalent to the UK government advice on weekly physical activity.
- The walking involved in playing two rounds of golf per week is equivalent to the exercise component of the Diabetes Prevention Project which prevented 70% of high risk individuals from developing diabetes.
- A Swedish study found that the death rate for golfers is 40% lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status, which correspond to a 5 year increase in life expectancy.
Wellbeing benefits of golf
Although the sport can be played individually or in pairs, golf is often played in groups of three or four people. Many golfers enjoy friendly competitions with their playing partners, which is a great way to make the sport even more exciting.
- Because golfers walk between shots, these windows of time are perfect for talking with your playing partners.
- Golf courses have clubhouses which provide further venues to enjoy the company of good friends before or after your game.
- Research has shown that participation in golf can reduce anxiety and increase self-confidence.
The integrity of a golfer
Most forms of golf do not have referees and, therefore, the sport relies on the integrity of individual players. Golfers are expected to keep their own score and report it honestly. Golfers are respectful of one another and often will applaud a good shot of a playing competitor. The etiquette of golf is an integral part of the sport and it features in the Rules of Golf. Playing golf is an effective way to teach young people values such as honesty, integrity and respect.
Golf and the natural environment
Golf is a sport that is often played in beautiful natural settings. Whether it is amongst mountain ranges, by the coast or through a forest, playing golf is a wonderful way to get outside and enjoy the natural environment; experts call this “green exercise”. While on a golf course you can hear birds singing, wind rushing through the trees, or waves crashing on the beach. Recent research has shown that golf courses can provide high quality bird habitat, and thus many courses appeal to naturalists and bird watchers.
What are you waiting for? Start playing golf
There are lots of choices for how to play golf and many venues will loan or hire the equipment you need to get started. If you have friends that already play, ask them to take you along and introduce you to the sport. If you don’t know anyone that plays, you can simply approach any local golf facility where you will receive a warm welcome and all the advice and support you need to get started.
Your national golf governing body will also be able to help you identify a suitable facility at which to start playing; be it a driving range, practice centre or local club. You can find your national governing body in Europe by visiting the website of the European Golf Association at ega-golf.ch
About Golf Europe
Golf Europe is a group of major golf stakeholders collaborating to develop the sport and enhance golf’s contribution to European society. Approximately 7.9 million European citizens play golf in an industry that contributes over €15.1 billion to the European economy. Golf Europe seeks to operate in the best interests of golf at the pan-European level.
The Open Championship
Golf’s oldest major championship, The Open, is being played this year July 16-19, when it returns to St Andrews, the home of golf. Please check your local listings for television coverage.