Members of Parliament have hailed the health benefits of golf, following a recently published scientific review by researchers at the University of Edinburgh.
A motion has been tabled in the House of Commons welcoming the review, which highlights the considerable physical and mental health benefits of the sport.
The review, supported by the World Golf Foundation, found that golfers live longer than non-golfers, playing golf improves cholesterol levels and body composition, and also appears to improve wellness and self-confidence. Golf is also expected to decrease the risk of more than 40 major chronic diseases.
The motion welcomes “the collaborative approach highlighted thus far by the World Golf Foundation, the Royal and Ancient, PGAs of Europe, the European Tour, and the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews” and “looks forward to members and the public alike benefiting from the health benefits of this great sport.”
The motion was tabled by Co-Chairman of the Parliamentary Golf Group, Stephen Gethins MP. He said “this report is welcome and shows the huge range of health benefits that golf brings to people of all ages. This review will be of major interest to policymakers in the UK, as it reveals the benefits of the sport for longevity, but also for quality of life. Golf clearly plays an important role in maintaining a healthy, active population, and I look forward to seeing further research into the impact of the sport on health, particularly for older people. I hope that people in my constituency of North East Fife and across the UK will continue to pick up their clubs and enjoy the considerable health and social benefits that golf delivers.”
Also signing the motion was Group Co-Chairman and Member of Parliament for Lincoln, Karl McCartney MP. He said “since the Parliamentary Golf Group was established last year, we have been keen to promote the health benefits of the sport. I welcome this review, and in particular it’s finding that golfers of all ages and abilities can gain the same health benefits as those at the elite level, including better physical and mental health outcomes and likely longer life. Golf is the fifth largest sport in the UK in terms of participation, and I hope that we can continue to encourage people of all ages to take part, and enjoy the health benefits that a round can provide.”
Lead researcher, Dr Andrew Murray, commented “our review is clear that golf has overall health benefits. Golf provides moderate intensity physical activity, which is recommended by the World Health Organisation for its key role in improving life expectancy, helping prevent over 40 major chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, and improving mental health. Golf can provide health benefits for people of all ages and backgrounds. The interest and leadership of Stephen Gethins, Karl McCartney and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Golf in promoting the health benefits of the sport, and policies that promote growing the game is so important in helping people and populations gain the physical, mental, and social benefits golf can provide.”
Steve Mona, World Golf Foundation CEO, added “this scientific review is clear that golf can improve the health and well-being of the 55 million people in over 200 countries that play the game worldwide. The World Golf Foundation is committed to growing the game, and to do this we warmly welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Golf at the UK parliament, with a clear focus on increasing interest and participation in our sport.”
The full text of the motion is as follows:
Early day motion 409 – Golf and Health
That this House welcomes the recent scientific review by the University of Edinburgh relating to golf and health published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine; notes that this study highlights that golf can provide moderate intensity physical activity as advocated by the World Health Organisation and our four home nations’ Chief Medical Officers’; further notes that this study outlines that, whilst the 55 million golfers worldwide, ranging from four to 104 years old may not win the Ryder Cup, or indeed the Open Championship, they can gain the same benefits such players obtain through golf including better physical and mental health outcomes and likely longer life; is pleased that the report is being widely shared by player ambassadors such as Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player, Padraig Harrington as well as members of our European and United States Ryder Cup teams; encourages others to consider the report’s implications, and look out for future research from this group; further welcomes the collaborative approach highlighted thus far by the World Golf Foundation, the Royal and Ancient, PGAs of Europe, the European Tour, and the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews; and looks forward to hon. Members and the public alike benefiting from the health benefits of this great sport.