The World Golf Foundation has announced the launch of the Golf and Health Project to academically research and highlight how the game can benefit peoples’ lives.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, led by Dr. Andrew Murray and under the supervision of international academics, Professor Nanette Mutrie and Professor Liz Grant, have conducted a comprehensive study of golf and health, with the results shown in a Scoping Review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
In total, 5,000 papers were reviewed to provide a comprehensive view on the impact of the game on health, illness prevention (and management) and associated injuries.
Key benefits include improvements in life expectancy and quality of life, as well as physical and mental health benefits.
The project launches with support from all of golf’s major organizations, along with an initial eight ambassadors from around the world with more than 30 majors and 350 wins between them, including Canadian Brooke Henderson, who had this to say about the health benefits of the game.
Henderson is joined by other ambassadors such as Aaron Baddeley (Australia), Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), Gary Player (South Africa), Padraig Harrington (Ireland), Ryann O’Toole (USA), So Yeon Ryu (South Korea), and Zach Johnson (USA).
Current information from the Scoping Review and future research findings will continue to be available through the Golf and Health website here.
This information is designed to be practical and usable by golf’s stakeholders to help develop the sport around the world.
The project also aims to show existing and future benefits that are identified are applicable to individuals of all ages throughout society, not just a specific sub-section of the population.
The WGF and the major golf organizations represented on its board of directors, along with partners such as the PGAs of Europe and the University of Edinburgh, academic collaborators and supporters from the University of California at San Francisco, and various other organizations, are working together on the project with a view to sharing its work around the globe.
“The importance of the Golf and Health Project in the development of the sport is vital, not just for the WGF’s partners, but everyone involved with golf around the world,” said Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation.
“This project is something we can all get behind, as it is universally agreed that golf is good for you. It is going to provide real, tangible resources that can be used by governments and politicians, professional tours, governing bodies, golf businesses, PGA professionals and more – all to the sport’s benefit,” added Mona.
The project is planning various research-led activities to further prove areas of interest and also expand into currently under-researched areas such as the mental health benefits of golf, physical benefits in older players and the positive effects of spectating.
“For a number of years we’ve felt we’ve underplayed the likely benefits of golf on peoples’ health,” added Golf and Health Project executive director and European Tour chief medical officer, Dr. Roger Hawkes.
“Over the last two or three years, there seems to be an interest from various bodies and we’ve been able to bring together that interest to actually study this area.”