A Success – The People ‘Prescribed’ Golf For Their Health

EuropeanGolfSociety, news

The Golf for Health pilot is having a positive impact in Scotland

The physical and mental benefits of playing golf are starting to get more widely shared

People with health conditions have spoken about how their lives have changed for the better since being “prescribed” golf as a treatment.

The physical and mental benefits of playing golf may be well known within the sport, but these are now being discovered by a wider group of people thanks to a pioneering health pilot in Fife.


Linda McTavish is one of these people. The 77-year-old was told about the project at a class for her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and became one of the first participants to get involved.

“I just grabbed the opportunity and it’s been great,” she told BBC Scotland News.

Four local golf clubs took part offering a six to eight week free programme.

People were able to access it in a number of ways including via their GP or other health professionals.

Although McTavish had never played golf before, she’s settled right in.

“I enjoyed the company and the exercise and fresh air – I love meeting other people,” she added.

The Golf for Health pilot saw the University of St Andrews School of Medicine and The R&A work with other bodies to develop the scheme – and on early evidence it’s proving a success.

Gordon Baker used to play golf, but gave it up six years ago. He’s benefitting from a coaching programme that has allowed him to alter his grip to take into account some arthritis.

“I’m finding that it is actually benefitting my health and I’m making a lot of good friends and a bit of company – it all helps,” said the 72-year-old from Rosyth.

Although the project for McTavish and Baker has come to an end, they still play together, which is a success story in itself and is proof of how the programme can also benefit the game of golf as well as the individuals taking part.

A study in Sweden, suggests that, on average, golfers live five years longer than non-golfers.

Raising the awareness of the physical, mental and social health benefits of golf has been a project that The R&A has been working on for some time.

“From our perspective it was showing that we could create a referral process that works,” says Kevin Barker, director of golf development at The R&A.

“We can take this pilot and make it sustainable and scalable and take it to other parts, whether that’s in Scotland, Great Britain and Ireland or around the world.”

So far a total of 60 people have taken part in the pilot, and the task now is to work with this group to find out more about why they took part and why they stuck with it.

It is hoped that at some point down the line the programme can be rolled out in other parts of the UK and beyond.


Leave a Comment

Open chat
Need Help ?
Can we help you ?