A dedicated campaign to raise awareness of the health benefits of golf for people of all ages and abilities is underway.
The first ever Golf and Health Week takes place from 15-19 April and aims to encourage golfers, non-golfers and lapsed golfers into taking part in the sport.
A number of health-related themes will be promoted during this week of the campaign, including:
- Monday 15 April: Fitness – professionals and amateurs
- Tuesday 16 April: Mental health (including dementia)
- Wednesday 17 April: Disability golf
- Thursday 18 April: Golf for everyone – featuring various health projects (e.g. Parkinson’s, loneliness, stroke and other programmes that can benefit health)
- Friday 19 April: Club level – focus at golf clubs (e.g. fitness, food, drink, gym classes)
This week’s collaborative campaign will run across digital and social media channels using the hashtag #GolfHealthWeek and include content focused on highlighting the physical and mental health benefits of playing golf and projects being delivered by golf bodies and clubs.
Focusing primarily on Great Britain and Ireland, it is being co-ordinated by The R&A with the support of the European Tour, the Ladies European Tour, The Professional Golfers’ Association and the Golf Foundation, as well as national associations including England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf, the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union.
Walker Cup stars
Challenge Tour pair Connor Syme and Ewen Ferguson, both former Walker Cup players, helped support today’s fitness theme through filming at the Institute of Sport & Exercise at the University of Dundee.
The Scottish duo went through their paces at the University’s gym, highlighting the importance of fitness for their games, as well as taking part in fun challenges.
Syme, 23, said: “I think health and fitness is a massive part of golf nowadays. Generally, I use the gym for injury prevention. I’ve been going to the gym now, as part of the sportscotland institute of sport, since I was around 15. I’ve had massive benefit from their support and I absolutely love using it, from the physio aspect to being able to train – it’s been great.
“It’s quite taxing on the body the amount of golf we do play and the travel. So I try and use the gym three times a week as part of my programme, when I arrive at a tournament on a Monday or a Tuesday, the Wednesday and the afternoon of the Thursday or Friday.”
More energised and stronger
The Drumoig-based player added: “People may think of the gym as tiring and not make you perform as well, but I see it the other way. I feel more energised and definitely stronger from being at the gym. It’s more about keeping flexible and moving fast, rather than just strength, that’s how I use it the best.”
Ferguson, 22, said: “Recently, fitness started to become a little more strict for me, especially with how fit most of the top players are. Younger guys like me aspire to be as good as those people, so I need to keep myself in good shape and work on the right muscles to compete at the top level.”
On his top fitness tip for amateur golfers, he added: “For young golfers trying to come through, I wouldn’t try and lift too heavy or go too extreme. Just try and keep yourself lean and in shape, going through the motions of different exercises without adding a lot of weight on to keep yourself flexible and loose.”
The dedicated week builds on the work of the Golf and Health Project, which since 2016 has studied the many and varied health and wellbeing benefits of golf, considered any risks and had research published regularly in international, peer-reviewed journals.