(ST. ANDREWS, SCO) – The University of Edinburgh in conjunction with the Golf & Health Project released new research about the health benefits of golf spectating, showing those who attend golf events could potentially gain benefits similar to those playing in them.
The study is the first to assess spectator physical activity while watching golf, showing that of the fans surveyed, 82.9% met the recommended daily step-count levels by achieving on average 11,589 steps.
The study suggests that golf spectating can provide health enhancing physical activity; whilst also allowing spectators to spend time in green space, socialise with friends and family, and watch their sporting heroes compete in real life.
Those surveyed rated obtaining exercise as an important reason for attending golf events, equal to seeing star players, being part of the ‘atmosphere’ around an event, and getting fresh air. 60% also said they would like to be more physically active after the tournament.
These reasons for attending events could have benefits for event promoters in terms of engagement with spectators, local communities and funding organisations, along with wider public health implications in encouraging people to be more active more often.
The studies, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and BMJ Open Sports and Exercise Medicine are part of the Golf & Health Project, which is supported by the World Golf Foundation.
Find out more about the Health Benefits of Golf Spectating at www.golfandhealth.org/spectating
Researcher, Dr Andrew Murray, from the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, urges golf executives to emphasise the physical benefits of golf spectating:
“Walking is one of the best things you can do for your health, adding years to life and increasing health and happiness. These pilot findings show golf spectators can experience physical activity to benefit their health while watching a top quality sport at close quarters. This could have huge implications on event attendance and encouraging more people to attend a professional event or begin playing the sport.”
Further research could include assessing how best to provide physical activity information to spectators at events, larger and more representative samples allowing for a better estimation of accrued physical activity and potential gender and age differences, along with whether golf events could be used as ‘teachable moments’ to help educate and inform people on the benefits of physical activity in general.
Anecdotal evidence found that over 20,000 spectators had tagged all the checkpoint locations around the 2014 Ryder Cup site at Gleneagles walking 5 miles each, and collectively walking a distance equal to four times around the world. 6500 spectators completed a health walk of 10km each during China’s Shenzhen International in 2016, collectively walking the equivalent length of the Great Wall seven times.
The health benefits for spectators at tournaments may vary depending on weather conditions, culture, types of tournament and golf course terrain.