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JUN 26, 2024

The Health Benefits of Golf: Swing Your Way to a Longer, Happier Life

Golfing is more than just a pastime, it’s a gateway to health benefits that you may not have considered. Let’s talk about it.

Read time: 12 minutes

There’s a bit of contention around who coined the phrase “golf is just a way to spoil a good walk.” Some think it’s a Mark Twain quote, others say it’s Winston Churchill. Regardless, we disagree. As to some 80 million golfers worldwide.

And while golf is seen as a leisurely activity (something that retired folks do to pass the time) it’s actually a sport with significant health benefits. In fact, studies have shown that golfers live, on average, five years longer than non-golfers.

So let’s get into the details of why taking up golf might just be one of the best decisions you make for your health.

Lower Your Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol is a common health issue that can lead to serious problems like heart disease and stroke. That’s why regular physical activity is a key factor in managing cholesterol levels, and golf fits perfectly into this picture. Walking around the golf course, swinging your clubs, and even the occasional digging around in the rough all contribute to increasing your heart rate and promoting cardiovascular health.

Golfing helps in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL), leading to a healthier heart and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Walking Keeps You Active

One of the primary physical activities in golf is walking. An average golf course spans between 5 to 7 kilometers (3-4 miles). When you walk the course instead of using a golf cart, you can easily cover these distances over the duration of an 18-hole round. This amounts to an excellent form of low-impact exercise. Walking not only helps in burning calories but also improves your overall fitness, keeps your joints moving, and enhances your stamina. Regular walking is linked with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes and hypertension.

Muscle Movement Without Over Exertion

Golf involves a wide range of movements that engage various muscle groups. The action of swinging a golf club works your arms, shoulders, back, and abdomen. Bending down to pick up the ball or lining up a putt also engages your legs and core. Unlike high-intensity sports, golf provides muscle activity without the risk of over-exertion, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. This gentle, sustained physical activity helps maintain muscle tone and joint flexibility, reducing the risk of injuries and promoting overall physical health.

Improve Your Balance

Balance is an incredibly important part of playing golf. Each swing requires a stable stance and coordinated movements, which help in developing and maintaining good balance. Regularly playing golf can improve your balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls, especially as you age. Improved balance is not just beneficial on the golf course; it translates into better overall physical stability in daily life, enhancing your quality of life and independence.

Soak Up Vitamin D from Sun Exposure

Spending time outdoors is one of the simple pleasures of playing golf. Being out in the sun exposes you to natural sunlight, which is a primary source of Vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for bone health, immune function, and overall well-being. Many people suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, especially those who spend most of their time indoors. By playing golf regularly, you can naturally boost your Vitamin D levels, leading to stronger bones and a healthier immune system.

Boost Your Concentration

Anyone who’s played golf even once knows it’s a game of precision and strategy. Each shot requires focus, concentration, and mental calculation. Over time, regularly engaging in this level of mental stimulation can enhance your cognitive function. Improved concentration and mental sharpness gained from playing golf can carry over into other areas of your life, making you more alert and focused in everyday tasks.

Relieve Stress and Improve Mental Health

Life can be stressful, and finding effective ways to unwind is vital for your mental health. Golf offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The serene, green landscapes of golf courses provide a peaceful environment where you can relax and enjoy nature. And then there's the social aspect of golf - whether you're playing with friends or making new acquaintances on the course - it all plays a significant role in reducing stress.

Engaging in a sport you enjoy, in a calm setting, helps release endorphins, which leads to improved mood, reduced anxiety, and overall better mental health.

One Final Swing

Golf is much more than a leisurely pastime. It's a sport that offers a whole host of health benefits: from improving physical fitness and cardiovascular health to enhancing mental wellbeing and prolonging life.

Whether you're a seasoned golfer or a beginner, hitting the links can be a fantastic way to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and invest in your long-term health. So, next time you're looking for a fun and beneficial way to spend your time, consider picking up a golf club – your body and mind will thank you for it.


Q: How does golf contribute to overall fitness?

A: Golf contributes to overall fitness by combining walking, muscle activity, and coordination. Walking the course provides cardiovascular exercise, while swinging the club and other movements engage various muscle groups, promoting muscle tone and flexibility.

Q: Is golf a suitable exercise for older adults?

A: Absolutely! Golf is a low-impact sport that doesn’t place excessive strain on the joints. It’s ideal for older adults because it helps maintain physical activity without the risk of over-exertion, improving balance and overall health.

Q: Can playing golf help with weight management?

A: Yes, playing golf can help with weight management. Walking the course, carrying your clubs, and the physical activity involved in the game burn calories, which can contribute to weight loss or maintenance when combined with a balanced diet.

Q: How often should I play golf to see health benefits?

A: To see health benefits, aim to play golf at least once a week. Regular play helps maintain fitness levels, reduces stress, and provides consistent exposure to the positive mental and physical aspects of the game.

Q: Does playing golf have mental health benefits?

A: Yes, golf has numerous mental health benefits. The game requires focus and strategy, which can enhance cognitive function. Additionally, the peaceful environment and social interactions on the course help reduce stress and improve overall mood.

Q: What are the social benefits of playing golf?

A: Golf is a social sport that provides opportunities to meet new people and strengthen existing relationships. Playing with friends or joining a club can enhance your social life, providing emotional support and reducing feelings of loneliness.

Q: Can golf improve my sleep quality?

A: Engaging in regular physical activity like golf can improve sleep quality. The combination of physical exertion, mental engagement, and time spent outdoors helps regulate sleep patterns, leading to better rest and recovery.

Q: Is there a risk of injury from playing golf?

A: While golf is generally low-risk, improper technique or overexertion can lead to injuries. It's important to warm up, use proper equipment, and consider taking lessons to ensure you’re playing correctly and minimizing the risk of injury.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.


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