60% of golf industry professionals report increase in mental health problems

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 8, 2021 07:19

More than 60 percent of greenkeepers, PGA professionals and golf club managers have experienced increased work-related mental health problems in the past year, a new survey has found.

The Syngenta research found that, of these, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said they had felt anxious or worried, 57 percent said they experienced sleep problems and 43 percent said they had felt depressed with a continuous low mood.

Three of the 256 respondents admitted thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

The online survey, which was anonymous, also found that only nine percent of respondents had sought professional counselling in the previous six months.

And while two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents said their organisation or employer should offer mental health training and support, only 21 percent confirmed their employer did have a mental health policy or wellbeing programme (57 percent said their organisation did not offer support; 22 percent were unsure) and 12 percent had received stress or anxiety training at work.

Syngenta’s Mark Birchmore said: “While this is a snapshot survey, it provides evidence of what we have been hearing anecdotally throughout the pandemic, that mental health problems are prevalent.

“I’m especially worried for the three industry colleagues who reported the most severe symptoms and I would encourage anyone in this situation to urgently seek professional advice.

“For the industry, the survey highlights a potential gap between the prevalence of mental health problems and the level of support available.”

More than half the survey respondents (52 percent), from countries including the United States, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands, said they were aware of colleagues who had experienced mental health problems since March 2020.

Of those who completed the survey, 66 percent were superintendents or greenkeepers, 13 percent were PGA professionals or directors of golf and 11 percent were club managers.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 8, 2021 07:19
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  1. ErnieLong March 9, 01:53

    The difference between this situation and severe mental illness is that fairly soon life will go back to normal, and the majority of peoples mental health issues will go away after a period of adjustment, it may be normal to feel anxious in situations you were not anxious in before, try and be aware of it, and accept that its a normal feeling that will subside given time. Perhaps this will make people more empathic towards those people unfortunate enough to have to battle with mental ill health all the time, and for people to be more supportive and understanding. As for golf it really should be on prescription for those suffering long term mental health problems as its now proven that it really helps and without golf a lot of people are literally lost whether they work in golf or play golf or both. I hope what comes out of this is more compassion, and for people to care a bit more about others, and have time to listen in a supportive and non judgmental way, golf can be a great healer aswell as a wonderful game.

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  2. Peter March 8, 17:28

    This has been a year, 2020 like no other before !! Our daily lives have been interrupted, not only by a severe virus, but highly contentious political happenings, demonstrations, racial tensions and issues and economic strife !! Friends, family and neighbors have lost jobs, savings and some homes !! It’s no wonder, we’re all askew !! Our levels of anxiety, pain and suffering from losses are through the roof !! Remaining, at home for long periods have only exasperated problems !! I’ve been through, many times of crisis, in NYC and other places, this has been different and in many ways, more emotional than 911 !! We get through these tough times, with elevated levels of compassion, empathy and understanding !! We succeed when determination, persistence and resilience are part of the formula !! I was fortunate, growing up on the streets of NYC, I learned, “giving up is not an option !” We didn’t know it was persistence, we thought it was like practicing the piano…we just keep going !!!

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  3. Picken March 8, 15:12

    Excellent article . As golfers we have responsibility to look out for ALL people involved in our sport. It’s an important issue. “One snowflake comment becomes a snowfall then a blizzard. “ https://www.golfshake.com/news/view/14748/How_Golfers_Can_Support_Mental_Health_of_Greenkeepers.html

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