The All-Party Parliamentary Golf Group welcomed representatives of the Golf and Health project to the Palace of Westminster on the 17th January. New BGIA Chair Philip Morley attended along with Nigel Freemantle from the BGIA Executive Board and Doug Poole from National Golf Month.
Executive Director for Golf and Health, and Chief Medical Officer at the European Tour Golf, Dr Roger Hawkes, and lead researcher, Dr Andrew Murray of the University of Edinburgh, made a presentation to Peers, MPs and associate members on the health benefits of the sport. The project is supported by the World Golf Foundation, with the aim to increase interest and participation in golf.
The presentation focused on the considerable physical and mental health benefits of golf. Research carried out by the project has found that key benefits include improvements in life expectancy, cholesterol levels and body composition. Golf is expected to decrease the risk of over 40 major chronic diseases, and also appears to improve wellness and self-confidence.
The meeting was chaired by Vice-Chair of the Group, Baroness Nye of Lambeth. Speaking afterwards, she said “the Group was delighted to welcome Andrew and Roger to Parliament, and to hear about the significant health benefits that golf provides. Golf is a sport for people of all ages, and I hope that the findings of the Golf and Health project can help to improve the public image of the sport and increase support for golf among policymakers. The Parliamentary Golf Group is committed to growing the game, and I also hope that the clear health benefits of golf will help to drive increased participation in the sport.”
Group Co-Chair and Member of Parliament for North East Fife, Stephen Gethins MP, said “the work of the Golf and Health project in showing the huge range of health benefits of golf is very welcome. Golf clearly plays an important role in maintaining a healthy, active population, and I look forward to seeing further research from the project on areas such as the mental health benefits of golf, physical benefits to older players and the positive effects of spectating. The Parliamentary Golf Group will continue to work closely with the project to ensure that the health benefits of the sport are clear to policymakers.”
Dr Andrew Murray added “it is clear that golf has overall health benefits, which for many years have been underplayed. Golf can provide health benefits for people of all ages and backgrounds, providing moderate intensity physical activity. This has a key role in improving life expectancy, helping to prevent major chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart attacks, and improving mental health. The Golf and Health project has brought together golf organisations from across the world, including partners such as the Royal and Ancient, the PGAs of Europe and the European Tour, and I hope that the work undertaken will raise awareness and support for the sport. This is only the start, there is much more research to be done.