The World Golf Foundation (WGF) today announced the launch of the Golf & Health Project, a unique initiative focused on academic research 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 Liz Grant, have conducted the largest, most comprehensive study of golf and health, with the results 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.
Three-time major champion and Golf & Health Project ambassador Padraig Harrington hopes the research will help showcase how golf can have a positive impact on peoples' lives.
"The Golf & Health Project is clearly taking an important step forward to shine a light on the benefits of our sport,” the 14-time European Tour champion said. “I'm really pleased to be involved as an ambassador and I hope I can help spread this message.
"For me being healthy and happy is key to enjoying my own game and throughout my career I have seen how impactful golf can be on peoples' wellbeing - now it's time to get this message out there."
Key benefits include improvements in life expectancy and quality of life, as well as physical and mental health benefits. Golf is expected to decrease the risk of more than 40 major chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, colon and breast cancer with current research showing golf has positive impacts on cholesterol, body composition, metabolism, and longevity.
The Project launches with support from the European Tour and all of golf’s major organisations, along with Harrington, an initial eight ambassadors from around the world with more than 30 majors and 350 wins between them including Aaron Baddeley, Annika Sorenstam, Brooke Henderson, Gary Player, Ryann O'Toole, So Yeon Ryu and Zach Johnson.
''I am delighted to be an Ambassador for the Golf & Health Project and wholeheartedly support the work they are doing to prove the health and wellbeing benefits of golf,” explained Gary Player, nine-time Major champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member.
“The systematic and academic confirmation of the physical and mental benefits golf gives people will be of great use to us all to spread the word to institutions, governments and the entire world!”“
The project also aims to show existing and future benefits that are identified are applicable to individuals of all ages throughout society, not just a specific sub-section of the population.
The WGF and the major golf organizations represented on its Board of Directors, along with partners such as the PGAs of Europe and the University of Edinburgh, academic collaborators and supporters from the University of California at San Francisco, and various other organizations, are working together on the Project with a view to sharing its work around the globe.
“The importance of the Golf & Health Project in the development of the sport is vital, not just for the WGF’s partners, but everyone involved with golf around the world,” said Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation.
“This Project is something we can all get behind, as it is universally agreed that golf is good for you. It is going to provide real, tangible resources that can be used by governments and politicians, professional tours, governing bodies, golf businesses, PGA Professionals and more - all to the sport’s benefit.”
The Project is planning various research-led activities to further prove areas of interest and also expand into currently under-researched areas such as the mental health benefits of golf, physical benefits in older players and the positive effects of spectating.
“For a number of years we’ve felt we’ve underplayed the likely benefits of golf on peoples’ health,” added Golf & Health Project Executive Director and European Tour Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roger Hawkes.
“Over the last two or three years, there seems to be an interest from various bodies and we’ve been able to bring together that interest to actually study this area.”
The WGF is a non-profit organization developing and supporting initiatives that positively impact lives through the game of golf and its traditional values. For further information, please visit www.golfandhealth.org
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