The R&A has published a new golf and health report to help further educate existing golfers, non-golfers, golf bodies and policy makers in government and health on the physical and mental benefits of the sport.
Highlighting The R&A’s work and the endeavours of others in this sphere since 2016, the 28-page document provides a comprehensive overview of golf as a health-enhancing activity for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
Through striking graphics, data and imagery, the report details the benefits by summarising the scientific research, the public exposure and increased interest among national federations, policy makers and other organisations.
Case studies on health
Ten case studies highlight the impact of collective endeavours, spanning various countries and at leading professional events, with associated media coverage.
The future of golf and health is also assessed as the sport seeks to build on the foundations set in recent years and continues to attract more golfers onto courses and into facilities around the world.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “The scientific research clearly shows that there are significant physical and mental health benefits to be gained from playing golf. We believe that golf can provide a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to have fun, get fit and socialise with family and friends – something that is important to today’s society.
“We need to position golf as a leisure pursuit that can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone and encourage advocacy for the sport as a moderate intensity physical activity by government agencies, public health bodies and health professionals.”
Evidencing the benefits
An epidemic of physical inactivity-related disease in most of the world’s populations – physical inactivity is responsible for more than three million deaths worldwide – has led to the World Health Organization calling for action by sports.
Since 2016, The R&A and its partners, including the World Golf Foundation (WGF), the United States Golf Association and the European Tour, have sought to: raise awareness of the health benefits of golf to encourage interest in participation by people of all ages and abilities; improve the sport’s image; and increase advocacy for golf by government agencies and public health bodies.
The Golf & Health Project, supported by The R&A and the other WGF partners, was formed to achieve these aims by producing and publishing high quality science that evidences golf’s physical and mental health benefits.
The R&A has played a key role in the Project by funding research undertaken by Dr Andrew Murray of the University of Edinburgh, who is the lead research scientist. The R&A has also directly supported other activity, including being the sole funder of a Strength and Balance Study and sponsoring the First International Congress on Golf and Health.
Robust research, data and key findings have been regularly published in the world-leading international journal, the British Journal of Sports Medicine, to support the principle that golf can lead to greater health and wellness benefits for participants and spectators attending events.
The R&A Golf and Health Report (2016-20) can be viewed here.