in their own words: Andrew McKinlay

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 8, 2019 17:06

Writing exclusively for The Golf Business, the CEO of Scottish Golf previews the inaugural Golf and Health Week, which takes place as soon as The Masters ends.

For too long, golf has taken for granted its universal appeal: from spanning more generations of active participants than arguably any other sport, to the impact a simple round will have on physical and mental wellbeing.

Until now. Scottish Golf has signed up to support the inaugural Golf and Health Week, a campaign co-ordinated by The R&A to raise awareness of the myriad of benefits of the game to people of all ages and abilities.

This month, we will be helping to shine a light on the impact the sport has on those who take part in various ways, with the purpose of recognising the wider benefits for those regular golfers but also to inspire non-players and lapsed players to get involved.

Sport has always been reluctant to lavish self-praise and golf is no different but it is imperative that we not only remind ourselves of the wider benefits of the game we love but also remind government and the population at large.

For many thousands of people in Scotland, golf is a fabric of everyday family life and through the Golf and Health Week we will showcase the many and varied ways that we improve the lives of those who take part – with a view to a more consistent and proactive approach to communicating the wider benefits of the biggest participation sport in Scotland.

Simply put, golfers live longer and have better overall physical health. Last year, a global consensus amongst leaders in public health, public policy and sport backed golf to tackle physical inactivity and the prevention of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer of the breast and colon.

Evidence linking golf and health, commissioned by the World Golf Foundation and supported by The R&A, was presented at Westminster following research led by the University of Edinburgh and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Previous research has also highlighted that those that play golf live five years longer than those that don’t play, while the sport has been shown to have both self-esteem and self-worth benefits.

Whether it is the 1,000-plus calories that are burned during the average of four miles around the course, or simply the social interactions that encourage friendship, golf is unequivocally good for you.

We will be focusing on the mental health benefits, including how golf can help prevent the onset of cognitive decline and, in those who have dementia, reduce the decline in physical and mental activity; and how golf can be used positively in the lives of those who suffer Alzheimer’s, whether as a means of exercise or through projects that evoke memories of sufferers’ pasts through great golfing triumphs.

We will also be looking at programmes designed to prevent loneliness, especially among the older population, and outline how clubs can play an increasingly important role in promoting fitness, healthy eating and community involvement.

The aim of the week is to collaborate with The R&A, European Tour, PGA, Ladies European Tour and our network of clubs to share inspirational stories and reaffirm that golf as an activity can and should be enjoyed by all.

As someone who has previously spoken about the benefits my life-long love of golf has had at various stages on my own mental health, I am a huge advocate of this important week of awareness.

Solheim Cup

With less than six months to go until the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, we are excited by the return to form of Carly Booth this season, not least since becoming a new ambassador for Women and Girls’ golf in Scotland.

One of our key strategic priorities is to grow participation among girls and women and Carly’s commitment to making Catriona Matthew’s team has been demonstrated by her recent fourth place finish in the Canberra Classic.

It would be an amazing feat for Carly and we look forward to working with her to inspire girls and women to take up the sport.

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Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 8, 2019 17:06
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