What are the health benefits of playing golf?

Wanting to exercise and get fitter but the thought of going to the gym is putting you off. Playing golf can give you tremendous health benefits over other sports or pastimes.

Unlike tennis, squash and other physical sports, golf is less intense and demanding on the body. Also mentally, golf is a sport that is played outdoors in the fresh air, and in beautiful surroundings, which helps reduce stress. 

No matter your age unlike other sports, golf can be played from a young to old age, and so will always have health benefits throughout your life, and the risk of injury in golf is minimal compared to other sports.

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine golf helps reduce the risks to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other killer diseases.

What are the physical benefits of golf?

Walking 18 holes for a beginner can be daunting, and you need to be in fairly good shape to walk the 6000 yards or more of a golf course.

As you start to play more and more your body will become increasingly fitter, and your muscles will become stronger.

If you carry your own clubs for a full 18 hole round you’ll certainly find it hard work to begin with. Many golfers will hire a golf cart which makes life easier.

After a few rounds your body will become stronger and playing 18 holes won’t be so hard. If you’re finding it hard work, you could just consider playing 9 holes and then build up your stamina.

Your legs are not the only part of the body that will become stronger, your arms and shoulders will be getting a workout too.

Swinging the club is not in itself hard work. You will however need to build up upper body muscle due to the repetition of swinging the golf club.

To help you develop your physical fitness quicker, it’s a good idea to do some physical exercise.

Small weights are useful for building up your wrists and arm muscle, and cycling if possible will help with your lower body.

You’re not looking to body build, just to make your body muscle stronger for the body movement when walking or swinging your golf club.

healthy tips for golfers

How many calories burned during a round of golf?

On average an 18 hole golf course averages 6000 yards and can take between 4 to 5 hours to complete.

Completing a round of golf can burn approximately 2000 calories, and walk an average of 13,000 steps which is over the 10,000 recommended daily average.

Golf Activity (1 Hour)Calories burn
Golf driving range215
Golf, With power cart251
Golf walking, carrying clubs308
Golf walking, pulling clubs387

See what 2000 calories looks like!

The R&A Golf and Health Report (2016-20) that 51% of the population consider themselves to be in good health, this rises to 72% of golfers surveyed here

Golf courses are undulating giving moderate exercise which helps improve cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health, for all ages. 

Related Article What does golf teach you?

What are the social benefits of playing golf?

Meeting up and playing with friends and family on the golf course encourages social interaction in an outdoor environment, which benefits a healthy mind, and lifts the spirits.

As a society we are becoming more isolated and communicate by email and social media further depriving us of social interaction.

Golf gives us that opportunity to meet and mix with friends family and work colleagues in a relaxed environment away from the stresses of everyday life.

We have the opportunity to spend several hours walking and conversing with no 20th century distractions.

You learn to mix with people within and outside of your group. One day you could be playing on your own and the next playing with a group of friends or business associates.

What are the mental benefits of playing golf?

You’ll know if you’re a golfer that every golf shot is different, you maybe lying off the fairway with a difficult shot to the green, or your ball lands inn to the trees or you’ve got a 20 yard foot putt on an undulating green to make par.

You’ll also need to take into account wind direction, how to avoid hazards or do you go for the hole over the water, or play safe and land up short of the water.

All of these shots and many more will require you to work out how to make the best of the situation. Questions that will test your problem solving capabilities.

As you get older these problem solving situations will benefit you mental fitness, and will help you against diseases like Alzheimer’s.

A report in the Seattle Times report on the benefits people with dementia have gained.

If you’re a person who finds it hard to concentrate and focus on tasks, golf is a sport that can help you train your mind. Golf can be won and lost by small margins. A lack of concentration, and you can be a shot down to your opponent.

Striking the ball not only needs focus but also coordination skills. There are many moving parts that have to work together to hit the ball where you want it to go.

From the way you hold your golf club, to your back swing, to striking the ball, all need your lower body, upper body, arms shoulder and wrists to work in sync.

Is golf good for you

Playing any sport or taking physical exercise is beneficial to your physical and mental health, and playing golf is no different.

Being able to play at your own speed is one advantage that make golf a good sport to play. A benefit for anyone who cannot play more physical sports.

You can play for as long as you feel comfortable. If you prefer, you can play just 9 holes rather than 18 and cut the the time in half, walking around the course.

If you have problems walking you can hire a golf cart and this too can be good for seniors wanting to keep fit.

Golf’s handicap system means that you’re able to play other golfer’s with different skill levels.

The social scene too makes golf a good sport to play. Most clubs will have a social club or members area in the club house. Making new friends is a great way to broaden your social circle.

If you’re a business person, golf is a sport I would learn over any other. Golf is associated with business people, and can be a great environment to mix and do business on the golf course.

Read about: Million dollar deals done on the golf course

Disadvantages of playing golf

For anyone wanting to take up a sport the cost of equipment can be expensive. Playing a racket sport like tennis or squash is inexpensive compared to golf.

The cost of golf clubs and accesories can be costly. You’re going to need a set of golf clubs, wet and dry clothing, shoes, golf balls, golf tees. Once you’ve got all your gear your going to pay membership fees if you choose to join.

Your going to need patience to learn to play golf. It can be a frustrating sport to learn, and it will take time, and you if you want to speed up the learning process you’ll have to invest in some coaching lessons.

If you’re a busy person with family and work, playing golf can be a time consuming sport. Time on the driving range and the golf course will take up many hours per week, to keep up your level of play.

Around the country there are thousands of golf clubs lying in garages and lofts untouched for years. You can be sure of this with the amount of used golf clubs selling on ebay etc.

Golf is not for everyone, it can be time consuming, so you need to be sure your you have the time and commitment for the game.

Important: Playing outside in the sun can cause skin cancer, and you can be outside for several hours, so always wear sunscreen even on overcast days.