The benefits and fun of playing golf

 

National Golf Month aims to inspire more people into the game and highlight the benefits of a good round of golf.

How the game is played

The objective of the game is to get your golf ball into the hole on the green, in as less shots as possible. A standard golf course has 18 holes, although you can find 9-hole golf courses which are ideal for beginners. Every hole has a ‘tee off’, which is where you take your first shot at the beginning of each hole.

How golf could help you

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine researched into the physical and mental benefits of playing golf and found that the physical gains increased with age.

Here are a few benefits to why golf may be the sport for you:

  • Walking from hole to hole helps to get the blood pumping stimulating brain activity and making it function better. Golf also requires a certain degree of concentration and memory helping reduce cognitive decline.
  • Golfers on average walk over 10,000 steps during a typical round of 18 holes of golf, helping players to lose weight and stay in good, healthy shape.
  • The amount of physical exercise that is accomplished during golf helps towards improving sleep, as well as reducing stress.
  • Golf is perfect for someone looking for a low injury sport as it requires a lot of walking and allows players to take their time with each shot.
  • As a sociable sport, it is a great way to meet new people and make lasting friends. This can help with reducing anxiety and depression.

Starting golf

If you’re completely new to golf knowing where to start can seem a bit daunting, with its different rules and numerous clubs to play with. To get you started, it’s best to have at least one lesson from an instructor, they will be able to show you how to hold a club properly, how to swing and aim, as well as give you advice on the basic rule.

Practise makes perfect. Like every sport or skill, practising will help you get better. Practise each aspect of the game the same amount, not focusing on one more than the other. For instance, focus on putting (pronounced PUTT-ing) and using irons, just as much as driving.

Visiting a driving range is a great chance to hit as many balls as you like to get a feel for your swing. It is also a quick way of releasing stress.

Preventing injuries while playing golf

  • Make sure you warm up before playing, paying special attention to your back, shoulders and arms. Try gently swinging your club a few times or holding your club in front of you and stretching your body side to side. This will also help improve your flexibility, consequently improving your swing.
  • Stand at least four steps away from someone who is about to swing their club, to avoid getting hit and causing injury.
  • Practise the etiquette of the game, for instance shouting ‘fore’ to warn other players and spectators to look out for your ball. Also, if you’re playing quite slowly, take into consideration the people behind you or ask them to play on in front of you.
  • Apply lots of sun screen regularly to avoid sunburn. We recommend re-applying every two hours with a sun screen at least factor 30 and UVA protection of 4 stars and above. Also, wear sunglasses to avoid the glare of the sun and a hat to keep your face and head from burning.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. For instance, if you wear shorts, skirts or dresses be aware of walking through long grass for ticks and other insects that may bite. It is also wise to wear golf shoes or trainers to provide better grip on the ground, this is especially beneficial in wet slippery weather.
  • When holding a golf bag across the golf course, make sure it is as light as possible and you’re holding it correctly to avoid harming your back. Otherwise, use a buggy to pull/push your bag around.