Golf and Health

2nd International Congress on Golf and Health staged in Edinburgh

The R&A
18 Aug 22
3 mins

The 2nd International Congress on Golf and Health was recently staged in Edinburgh to further highlight the sport’s health-enhancing benefits for golfers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh hosted leading medical professionals and research experts from across the globe as the world’s best golfers competed in major golf championships in Scotland during this summer. The 2nd International Congress followed on from the successful 2018 event in London, which had input from the World Health Organization, national government, international governing bodies and world-leading research regarding all aspects of golf, health and performance.

Raising health awareness

The 2022 edition took place straight after The 150th Open in St Andrews and the same week as the Senior Open presented by Rolex at Gleneagles. The AIG Women’s Open was also staged at Muirfield from 4-7 August. Each championship highlighted the physical, mental and social benefits by playing the sport and also spectating. Leading individuals from across golf and health attended a reception to open the Congress, ahead of new research being presented by researchers the following day. Those attending the Congress included:
  • Fiona Bull, Head of Unit, Physical Activity, World Health Organization
  • Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport
  • Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A
  • Dr Andrew Murray, Medical and Scientific Adviser at The R&A
  • Beth Allen, Professional Golfer
Maree Todd said, “This is an exciting and unprecedented year for golf events in Scotland. For the first time, The R&A’s three major championships took place in Scotland in the same year, alongside our men’s and women’s national open championships.  “The Congress was a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge and experience, to celebrate what golf is accomplishing, and to understand barriers to participation and how we can work to remove them.”
Two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour and former Order of Merit winner, Beth Allen, was part of the panel at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Promote physical activity

Fiona Bull, Head of Physical Activity, WHO, added, “We're globally trying to promote physical activity and increase participation, for the health benefits, for the many social benefits and enjoyment that sport – particularly golf – can bring, and learn from the research that's being shared. “I think the challenge is to make golf inclusive. It has a history, a perception amongst many, perhaps to be less inclusive, whether that’s for people of different economic advantage, gender or age.  People won't come unless there’s good opportunities created, welcoming clubs and ways in which they can start for the first time or return to it.” The R&A, a presenting partner of the 2nd International Congress on Golf and Health, continues to  strive to communicate golf’s health benefits to a global audience and underline the role the sport plays in health and social wellbeing. With golf participation on the rise – the number of total golfers globally has increased from 61 million to 66.6 million in a five-year growth period – and 290,000 spectators attending The 150th Open over the Old Course in July, the Congress continued to highlight the sport’s health-enhancing properties.

Fantastic opportunity

Alastair Gibson, Honorary Treasurer, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said, “It was a fantastic opportunity to bring together, to Edinburgh, delegates from all over the world. I hope everybody will take something away in terms of what they can do to promote golf in their individual counties.” Charlie Foster, Professor of Physical Activity & Public Health at Bristol University, added, "I was so lucky to be at the first Golf and Health Congress four years ago. We're looking to see how the evidence and the science for playing golf, injuries relating to golf, professional golf, and of course amateur golfers like myself, has moved forward in those last four years.  “The Congress was a great event to bring together people from all over the world to share their knowledge and pool this information so we can decide the most important thing to do next when it comes to this work.” For more information, visit the event website: