For more than 230,000 fans flocking to Royal Portrush this week for The 148th Open, following their favourites will provide excitement – and also direct health benefits.
The many benefits of golf for your health, including spectating, are being significantly highlighted over the famous Dunluce Links as The Open returns to the venue after a 68-year wait.
As part of The R&A’s continued work to more widely communicate the health benefits of golf for all ages and abilities, and building on significant robust research, Royal Portrush is full of golf and health messaging.
After the First International Congress on Golf and Health held in London last October and the first-ever Golf and Health Week staged in April – a dedicated campaign involving various golf bodies that reached over 20 million on social media – the messaging continues The R&A’s focus in this area.
For example, in the Spectator Village, information towers outline the benefits of 9-hole golf and shorter formats. Did you know, for instance, in a 9-hole round, a player will walk two to three miles, take over 5,000 steps and burn over 450 calories?
Getting your steps in
Over the practice days, LED scoreboard screens on the course are also promoting the positives of golf for your health. Did you know research has suggested that if you play golf you could live five years longer?
Or that if you follow the entire spectator Red Route around Royal Portrush you will walk over the recommended 10,000 daily steps (approx. 6km in total)?
The Golf & Health Project, supported by the World Golf Foundation which comprises the major golfing bodies worldwide including The R&A, USGA, PGA Tour and the European Tour, has been reviewing the evidence for the role of golf in health and has shown the overall health benefits of the sport, both physically and mentally.
It has sought to raise awareness 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.
The work has also been supported by a number of leading golf figures past and present, including Gary Player, Padraig Harrington and Annika Sorenstam.
Dr Roger Hawkes, Executive Director for the Golf and Health Project, said: “Great progress is being made on golf and health. This is important as we know that golf can be played from the aged of three to 103 and has overall physical health and well-being benefits. Simply put, golf is good for the body and the brain, with research from Sweden showing golfers live longer.
“Some of the recent golf and health highlights included Golf and Health Week in April which shared so many examples of the health benefits of golf.
“While we know one of the best things you can do for your health is playing golf, actually coming to The Open or any golf tournament and walking the course, seeing what the players can do at close quarters, gives you a healthy dose of exercise and fresh air.
“We are also studying examples of clubs who are hosting players with chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s Disease, dementia and strokes, who can gain from the social interaction, green space, memories and golfing activities.”
Kevin Barker, Director – Golf Development at The R&A, added: “It’s great to have the health benefits of golf widely advertised at The Open at Royal Portrush, not only on the information towers but also on the LED screens around the course. We believe clear and concise messaging can positively affect behaviour in this area.
“It’s an exciting and historic week at Portrush and for the thousands of fans in attendance they can enjoy following all the action on the fairways – with the additional health benefits it brings.”
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