The R&A - Working for Golf

Step to it for golf’s health benefits

The health benefits of golf for all ages have again been highlighted in a new video from The R&A, proving that the recommended 10,000 daily steps can be surpassed in an 18-hole round.


At the recent Girls Amateur Championship at Ardglass in Northern Ireland, players, coaches and spectators were armed with step counters to see how many steps they would accumulate during a round.

With all participants averaging well over 12,000 steps, their results meant they had exceeded the recommended daily step count within four hours.

Scotland’s Hannah Darling, the inaugural Girls Under 16 winner in April, and Norwegian twins Thea and Tomine Bjerkelo revealed their tally and highlighted the health benefits they gain from playing golf, both physically and mentally. The Swiss coach, Marc-Pierre Campos, also outlined how many steps he undertakes through his work on the course.

Darling, 15, said, “Golf’s really good for steps as you don’t realise you are doing that many. You get fitter and your mind is definitely exercised by playing golf.”


Golf is also a unique sport for spectators. Previous research has found that during the 2012 Ryder Cup spectators collectively walked four times around the world. A study at the 2016 Paul Lawrie Match Play event demonstrated that spectators walked on average 11,589 steps with 82.9% of spectators achieving the daily physical activity recommendations.

Achieving these goals on a regular basis is associated with a number of physical and mental health benefits including 35% reduction in cardiovascular disease, 40% reduction in type 2 diabetes, 30% reduction in colon cancer, 30% reduction in depression and dementia.

The R&A has this year been stepping up its efforts to widely communicate 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.

International Congress

As a partner in the World Golf Foundation, The R&A has played a key role in the work of the Golf & Health Project, notably supporting the work of researchers at the University of Edinburgh – fronted by lead researcher and Chief Medical Officer on the European Tour, Dr Andrew Murray – who has conducted the largest and most comprehensive study of golf and health to date.

As part of this year’s activity, the 1st International Congress on Golf and Health is to be staged next month in London.

The R&A is sponsoring the Congress, with the objective to increase interest and participation in the sport by helping players, potential players, the golf industry and policy makers understand what actions can lead to better health, through golf.