New research highlights the wellbeing benefits of playing golf (but on a course)

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 9, 2021 07:27

New research showing the personal wellbeing benefits of golf during the pandemic has been published – and it highlights the need for playing the game on golf courses above driving ranges and home practice.

The joint study from Abertay University in Dundee and York St John University investigated the impact of lockdown on golfers.

Published in the journal Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, the research involved hundreds of UK golfers and analysed the effects of the closure and reopening of the country’s golf courses, both during and after the first national lockdown.

Dr Alexander Beaumont

As part of the research, a number of key personal wellbeing factors were measured, analysing golfers’ self-esteem, self-confidence, resilience, personal competence, sense of belonging, enjoyment, social connections and life satisfaction.

Participants were aged 16 to 89 and completed two surveys – the first carried out during the initial national lockdown in May and the second following the reopening of outdoor courses in July. The studies received more than 420 responses and all participants were active golfers, with more than 90 percent having a handicap rating.

Researchers found that driving range activity and golf-related activities which were possible at home during lockdown (putting, swing practice, chipping into a net, watching golf on TV, or taking part in online tutorials) could not match the levels of belonging, wellbeing, enjoyment or general life satisfaction golfers reported from playing outdoors.

Dr Graeme Sorbie at Abertay University said: “Based on our findings, we would recommend that on-course golf activity should be introduced at an early stage of any restrictive period, particularly given safety measures that have already been put in place by governing bodies responsible for golf. The personal wellbeing benefits that golf and other sports provide are well documented, but this study shows how difficult it can be to replace these under restricted conditions. It is absolutely right that all UK nations take a measured approach to easing lockdown restrictions, however our research shows a clear merit to opening up golf courses around the country where this can be done in a safe and controlled way.”

Dr Graeme Sorbie

Dr Alexander Beaumont at York St John University said: “While it is possible that increased life satisfaction with the reopening of golf courses was influenced by the easing of restrictions and more social interactions, our study suggests that golf activity, when performed outside, has the potential to provide golfers with opportunities to feel a greater sense of belonging to the sport, wellbeing and also life satisfaction. This could be down to increased golf-related physical activity, social interaction with other players on the course, or playing the sport in a natural environment.’’


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 9, 2021 07:27
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  1. Golf in Society March 10, 12:08

    YouTube “More Than a Game” with Golf in Society. Enjoy !

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  2. Peter March 9, 18:41

    When we ask these questions in the middle of a crisis, we’re likely to get a “skewed” response ! Everyone wants to be outdoors, on a course and enjoying social capital ! Today, vaccination numbers are low and people remain scared, outdoors and among friends or relatives !! Courses offer a great option !! However, the benefits to wellbeing have been know for years ! Young people especially understanding, social capital, can be found in many places, done in less time and be far less expensive !! That will be the challenge, post-pandemic ! Keeping young people engaged, playing and paying !!

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