Health Benefits of Golf Spectating Showcased at Scottish Open

By: Golfshake Editor | Wed 10 Jul 2019 | Comments


The health benefits of playing golf have long been noted, but have you considered the positives of spectating at a tournament? Well, that's something that is being celebrated and promoted at this week's Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club.

Spectators would likely not be confident of beating Rory McIlroy or the world’s best players assembling at The Renaissance Club for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, but while they may not get close to beating Rory on the golf course, or win the event, they may get some of the same health benefits these leading players get, by racking up over 10,000 steps while out on the course. The European Tour’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Andrew Murray outlined just some of the benefits from attending golf tournaments;

  • Spectators rate gaining physical activity, fresh air and time with family as important reasons to spectate
  • Golf spectators in UK gained 11500 steps while spectating, 85% meeting daily physical activity guidance
  • Spectators, when given information are keen to become more active in daily life (Legacy)

Dr Murray - whose PhD is in Golf and Health from the University of Edinburgh, explains: "The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open players will take 11,000 steps on average while out on the course. We know from the 2018 International Consensus on Golf and Health, (presented at recent World Health Organisation affiliated meeting) that golfers live longer than non-golfers, and can get well-being and physical health benefits from playing the sport.

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“Our research at European Tour events in Scotland shows that spectators take an average of 11,500 steps, getting out and watching the golf. So, while they may not win trophies, this is well in excess of the 10,000 steps per day advised to improve health.”

So how do spectators keep tabs on the distances they walk at this year’s event? 

• Maps will be available for everyone which provide details of routes around the 18 holes and the distances covered.

• Huge deckchairs will be situated throughout the venue providing photo opportunities and important health statistics

• Walk to the 5th hole and post your selfie for the chance to win a signed pin flag

It’s not just health professionals who are aware of the benefits to spectators, the players from the European Tour acknowledge that watching golf is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Richie Ramsay, Scottish European Tour professional said: "When you come to a tournament and you play golf obviously you’re walking around the entire golf course and you’re probably not realising how far you’re going and how much energy you’re using up and maybe not realising how good an exercise it is.

“I remember playing when I was younger and playing 18 holes a day for 6 or 7 days. And you don’t realise it but you’re getting a huge amount of exercise from it. Because at that point you’re growing. It’s just good for you, it’s good to be out there socialising and obviously the main thing is to get the exercise.

“I buy into this completely. I practice what I preach so I go out, like I said I played when I was a junior, you know I go to the gym at the moment. Any kind of exercise just makes you feel so much better.  It puts you in a positive mind frame, and it’s good for your body. 

Many other Tour players acknowledge the health benefits from golf:

  • “Despite the frustration of missed putts, golfers overall live longer. A study from Sweden showed golfers live 5 years longer, regardless of age or income.” Henrik Stenson 
  •  “Golf can put a big smile on your face. Research shows that golf can help improve self-esteem and provide a range of mental health benefits.” Padraig Harrington 
  • “I owe a lot to the fact that I was encouraged to be active throughout my life from an early age. I hope to encourage generations to do the same.” Gary Player, Golf and Health Ambassador

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open will once again be followed by the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, which will be played over the same course, from August 8-11, 2019.

Fans can buy tickets to see some of the world’s best golfers – including official Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open hospitality packages – at www.asiscottishopen.com.


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