Health Benefits of Golf

Inside IGF



Golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by players of all ages. Simply put, golfers live longer, have better overall physical health, and gain wellness/mental health benefits. These associations are likely due to the golden combination of walking, muscular activity, and social interaction (amongst other factors).

  • Physical benefits include: improved cardiovascular risk-factor profiles; improved blood-glucose levels; and increased life expectancy
  • Psychological benefits include: improved self-esteem, improved confidence, and reduced anxiety
  • Golf also provides a great opportunity for developing interpersonal skills, emotional control, and enhancing social connections

Golf and Health Project

The World Golf Foundation - the non-profit organisation developing and supporting initiatives that positively impact lives through the game of golf and its traditional values – launched the Golf & Health Project, academically researching and highlighting how the game can benefit peoples’ lives.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, led by Dr. Andrew Murray and under the supervision of leading international academics, Professor Nanette Mutrie and Professor Helen Grant, have conducted the largest, most comprehensive study of golf and health, with the results shown in a Scoping Review published in the world’s leading sports medicine and science journal, The British Journal of Sports Medicine. In total, 5,000 papers were reviewed to provide a comprehensive view on the impact of the game on health, illness prevention (and management) and associated injuries (infographic).

The aim of the Golf & Health Project is to help drive an increased participation in golf, improve the public image of our sport, and increase support for golf in the political arena. It will achieve this by analysing the benefits of golf for health to include improvements in life expectancy, physical and mental health. It will also assess and advise on illness and injury associated with golf. Once this information has been gathered, it becomes centrally available, whilst also being communicated and disseminated to golfers, potential golfers, and decision makers to increase awareness of golf’s positive influence on health and well-being.

Part of the project aim is to provide information about the benefits of golf, and how this can be achieved for people of both genders, all ages, and all backgrounds.

By aggregating and reviewing existing research into the health benefits of golf, a clear picture is being established of what benefits there are and what others there might be. Identifying the gaps in research then provides an opportunity to conduct new, innovative, and peer-reviewed research to academically assess benefits.

More information on this project may be found here:


Article from British Journal of Sports Medicine - 3 October 2016 - The relationships between golf and health: a scoping review

Infographic with overview of Golf and Health

Video outlining the scope of the project

Conditioning and Stretching

In order to play longer and enjoy the game more, it helps to be in good physical condition. Health and fitness are priorities for professional players who work out regularly and follow good nutrition guidelines. That helps them perform at the highest levels of competition. Do you want to be stronger, feel good and perform better on the golf course? If so, then follow The PGA Fitness Trail to enhance your fitness experience and benefit your golf game!

Medical Guidance for Golf Events

The IGF Event Coverage Guidelines are intended to assist event organisers to deliver safe events and set a standard for the medical cover at golf competitions. The principals and guidance provided can be also used as the basis for any golf event cover but may be modified to adhere to local and national legislation, which is present in many countries. The IGF Event Coverage Guidelines may be found here.

Pre-Participation Evaluation

The scope of “Pre-Participation Evaluation” is to screen athletes for injuries or medical conditions that may place them at risk. It aims to ensure that an athlete’s wellbeing is pursued and heath conditions are monitored, ensuring prevention measures are activated when possible. Athletes may be affected by conditions that do not have overt symptoms and that can only be detected by periodic health evaluations. The information generated by such testing can be first used for assessing the best way to intervene in case of need during sport events: then to improve the athletes’ health, monitoring of changes in their medical situation and evaluating interventions. Lastly the data collection might be used to create statistics supporting medical analysis and decision. This template may be used by event organisers to assist in gathering data for pre-participation evaluation.