Is Golf Good For You? 12 Reasons Why

Introduction

I don’t think there can be any doubt about the answer to the question: is golf good for you? It is a resounding yes!

The sport of golf has wide-ranging physical and mental health benefits including:

Improves Mental Health

Exercise causes your body to release endorphins. These can help improve your mood and even reduce pain. Playing golf can be a great stress reliever for many although you do need to watch that you don’t get to hang up on your performance and start throwing clubs!

Is Golf Good For You

Reduces Risk Of Dementia

Regular exercise such as golf greatly reduces your risk of dementia. Some studies have shown this could be by as much as 30%. You will also be reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s by around 45%!

Socializing

Golf is usually a very social game. This has been highlighted particularly during the pandemic when interactions with other people were often limited. Golf is a great way to meet new people and potentially make friends.

According to the Mayo Clinic socializing has been shown to improve memory and cognitive skills. It may help to increase your sense of happiness and well-being and stave off loneliness.

You might even make some useful business connections on the golf course.

Calorie Burning

Even those of you that like to ride in a cart can take comfort in the fact that you are still burning some calories. If you walk then you will be pleased to know you burn considerably more and even better if you carry your golf bag.

Those of you carrying some extra weight, like me, will also use slightly more calories than someone who is nearer their ideal weight!

Typical Calories Burned (168 lbs/ 12 stone)Typical Calories Burned (224 lbs/ 16 stone)
Riding in a cart (buggy)10001300
Walking with a pushcart (trolley)15002000
Walking and carrying12001600
Calories burned using MET rating

Above are some example figures using the MET rating for each activity based on two individuals weighing 168 lbs against 224 lbs playing golf for 3.5 hours. Obviously, you need to take these figures as a guideline as the number of calories you burn will depend on many other factors such as the length and hilliness of the golf course plus many individual factors such as age and gender.

Interestingly, based on these figures, you use more calories using a pushcart than carrying which sounds odd. In another study Neil Wolkodoff (director of the Center for Health and Sport Science at the Rose Medical Center in Denver) found that golfers carrying for nine holes used an average of 3 calories more than those using a pushcart (trolley)! 

So depending on which source you believe you may use slightly more calories carrying although I suppose that depends on how heavy a bag you have as well. I know on the occasions when I carry I tend to do so with only half a set and as few items in my bag as possible!

Good For Your Heart

All the exercise involved in golf like walking and swinging a club is a great exercise for your heart. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle dramatically lowers your odds of developing a number of diseases including heart disease.

Weight Loss

While not as strenuous as some types of exercise the calories burned playing golf do add up, particularly if you play several times per week. Obviously, you still need to watch what you eat as exercise alone won’t usually achieve your weight loss goals. Maintaining an active lifestyle is going to help you lose and more importantly keep the weight off.

socializing golfers
socializing golfers

Longer Life Expectancy

A Scandinavian health study covering more than ¼ of a million players calculated that they lived approximately five years longer than nongolfers. The same study also found a correlation between life expectancy and lower handicaps. You might want to start brushing up on your game!

Low Risk Of Serious Injury

Compared with many other pastimes golf is relatively low risk in terms of picking up serious injuries As it is a relatively ‘low impact’ activity. 

One of the more common problems that golfers might face is golfer’s elbow. This is similar to tennis elbow in that it is caused by overuse of the tendons when swinging a golf club. It is often relatively simple to fix with a combination of rest and stretching exercises. 

Some golfers experience issues with wear and tear on hips and knees and back problems may also develop.

Vitamin D

The body generates vitamin D during exposure to sunlight. This vitamin is important because it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients help to keep your bones, teeth and muscles in good health.

During the spring and summer months being out and about on a golf course for three or four hours should be a great way to give your body a chance of generating some vitamin D but take precautions.

Fresh Air

Being out in the fresh air is a great boost to your health. It should increase the oxygen flow in your body which improves your health in several ways. Your digestive system will receive a boost and also your white blood cells.

Better Quality Of Sleep

The combination of fresh air and exercise is likely to improve your chances of a good night’s sleep. Improving your sleep can also lead to other health benefits as poor sleeping patterns can lead to many different issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and heart disease.

Develops Life Skills

Golf… is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.

P.G. Wodehouse

Golf teaches you to play by the rules, with integrity and respect for your fellow players. 

Is Golf Good For You: Conclusion

There you have it. 12 different ways in which golf can be good for you. Both mentally and physically golf can be an important part of improving or maintaining your health. It’s also a sport that can be played by all ages.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

Is 18 Holes Of Golf A Good Workout?

Between walking and swinging a club a round of golf is a great workout. An 18-hole round is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute gym session! 

If you walk then you should easily go past 10000 steps!

How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking 18 Holes Of Golf?

Depending on your weight, age and a few other factors you will burn around 1500-2000 calories in a round of 18 holes.

Playing on a shorter, flatter course will reduce the number of calories you use while playing on a hillier, longer this will lead to greater calorie expenditure.

Are Golfers Healthier?

Several studies have shown that golfers tend to be healthier than the general population. One Scandinavian study calculated that golfers had a greater life expectancy to the tune of five years!

However, it should be noted that playing golf once a month is unlikely to have any significant health benefits. Whatever exercise you decide to undertake needs to be consistent and regular.

Can You Lose Weight By Golfing?

Golf can help you to lose weight as part of a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, the bitter truth with losing weight is that reducing calorie intake will provide quicker results than any form of exercise unless you are intending to undertake a training program that an Olympic swimmer might use! 

Playing golf regularly will see you hit your 10,000 steps per day target easily on the days that you play.

For many people that would be a massive increase in activity given that the typical American manages only 3000-4000 steps a day.

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