The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care has this week hailed the health benefits of golf.
At Health and Social Care Questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday (19 June), All-Party Parliamentary Golf Group Co-Chair, Craig Tracey MP, raised the benefits that golf delivers to participants, following research from the Golf and Health Project, supported by The R&A.
“As the Minister may be aware, I currently Co-Chair the All-Party Group on Golf, a sport sometimes unfairly labelled as a good walk spoiled.
“Would the Minister agree with me that there are many positive health benefits associated with participation in golf, especially for those people with long term conditions?”
One of the best leisure activities
The Minister, Steve Brine, responded: “I certainly will, as somebody who used to work in the golf industry before coming to this place.
“I was at Wentworth last month and a good example of what he is referring to is a social enterprise that I met called Golf in Society, led by an inspirational chap called Anthony Blackburn, who founded this project at Lincoln Golf Centre.
“It works with people with dementia and Parkinson’s disease and shows that golf is one of the best leisure activities out there, and gives people with long-term conditions a sense that their life is not over, and that they can still play golf, and rather well.”
Golf & Health Project
The Golf and Health Project is driven by The R&A, and seeks to provide information about the many and varied health and wellbeing benefits of golf and how these can be achieved for people of both all genders, ages and backgrounds.
Speaking afterwards, All-Party Parliamentary Golf Group Co-Chair and Member of Parliament for North Warwickshire, Craig Tracey MP, said, “Golf clearly plays an important role in maintaining a healthy, active population, and can deliver benefits to participants of all ages and abilities.
“It is fantastic that the Minister has recognised the health benefits that golf delivers to the population, and I look forward to working closely with him to ensure that these benefits are clear to policymakers.
“Golf is a sport for people of all ages, and I hope that we can encourage more people to take part in the sport, and enjoy the physical, mental, and social benefits that golf can provide.”
Overall health benefits
Golf and Health Project Executive Director, Dr Roger Hawkes, added, “It is clear that golf has overall health benefits, and research has shown that it provides moderate intensity physical activity, with key benefits including improvements in life expectancy, cholesterol levels and body composition, and also decreased risk of over 40 major chronic diseases.
“Golf is an inclusive sport that allows people of all ages and abilities to participate together, and we hope that further research, including on muscle strength, functional ability and balance will show that golf has the potential to increase quality of life at all ages.”
The Golf and Health Project, supported by the World Golf Foundation which comprises the major golfing bodies worldwide including The R&A, USGA, LPGA and the European Tour, has been working hard to show the overall health benefits of the sport, both physically and mentally.
The Project has sought to raise awareness of the health benefits of golf in order to increase participation among golfers and non-golfers, improve the public image of the sport and increase support for golf in the political arena.