• Alistair Tait

Golf can extend your life... No kidding!

The health benefits of a regular game of golf was trending this week after a study said so. Playing on a regular basis can add 10 years to your life.

No kidding!

If that isn’t a reason for lovers of this stick and ball game to stress the need to play more to their non-golf loving spouses then I don’t know what is.

The Daily Telegraph published a story in the newspaper’s Health section on the benefits of playing golf. The newspaper reported that a study of nearly 6,000 people showed those who played at least once a month were likely to live 10 years longer.

I play three times a week. Does that mean I’ll live 40 years longer?

The findings came as no surprise to those of us who play this great game. We just thought: no kidding, tell us something we didn’t know.

The study found that out of almost 5,900 participants with an average age of 72, the mortality rate among golfers over the 10-year period dropped dramatically. Around one in seven (15 per cent) died, compared with a quarter (25 per cent) of those who never picked up a club.

University of Missouri in Columbia neurologist Prof Adnan Qureshi, lead author of the study, said:

“Our study is perhaps the first of its kind to evaluate the long-term health benefits of golf.”
“Regular exercise, a less-polluted environment and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health.
“Regular exercise, exposure to a less polluted environment and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health. Another positive is that older adults can continue to play golf, unlike other more strenuous sports such as football, boxing and tennis. Additional positive aspects are stress relief and relaxation, which golf appears better suited for than other sports."

Let me repeat: NO KIDDING!

The study doesn’t say whether those who took part walked or rode in a golf cart.

If they rode in a cart and still lived on average 10 years longer, then think how much longer they’d live if they ditched the cart.

I played Woburn’s delightful Duchess course yesterday in a three-ball. We took three hours and 20 minutes. Two of us carried, and the other used an electric trolley. (My dog Izzy didn’t bring her clubs. She just walked.)

You don’t need to commission a study to conclude that we were exercising, with myself and my mate Martin getting the extra health benefits of carrying our bags.

I’m going to guess we walked four miles over the three hours and 20 minutes. Put this way, my step count yesterday was 12,844, the equivalent of 5.8 miles or climbing 13 floors according to the step gizmo on my phone. My round of golf accounted for the bulk of those figures.

I don’t need professor Qureshi to tell me my walk yesterday was good for me. I mean, it’s bleeding obvious, isn’t it?

The beauty of playing golf in the British Isles is almost everyone walks. Even if some only play once a week then that’s good mild exercise no matter what age they are.

So keep playing, keep walking, and look forward to living longer as a result. We don’t need a study to tell us that.

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