This week is Golf and Health week, a collaborative campaign across golf promoted by big institutions such as England Golf, ETPI, R&A and promoting the health benefits of golf.

With a theme for everyday, the week aims to highlight the huge benefits that golf has on our health.

Areas such as fitness, mental health, inclusiveness and disability in the sport are all of particular focus throughout the week.

Golf is currently at a stage in which fitness and athleticism seem to be one of the keys to success – just look at the top 5 and ties in the Masters last weekend.

Being fit(ter) for golf can contribute to some huge improvements in your performance on the course.

However, this week the focus is reversed and we need to remember that golf alone can improve our health – both physically and mentally.

Health benefits of golf

Mark Twain is said to have noted that golf results in “a good walk spoiled”.

I beg to differ.

In terms of health and fitness you are sure to get some good exercise when you play golf, especially as a beginner as you zig-zag your way hole-after-hole.

Playing the sport ensures that you head outside and take some fresh air into your lungs and brings a welcome distraction from the stresses of everyday life.

A game not previously thought of as athletic is not proving that it now genuinely is.

Not only will you stroll for miles, carrying with you a bag of 14 metal clubs among other things, you will move your body in all three planes of movement – this is certainly good for the body.

Recent studies have shown that regularly walking 18 holes will burn a minimum of 500 calories and can increase life expectancy.

As well as the obvious physical benefits there are also crucial mental health benefits.

Regular physical activity and exercise can reduce your risk of anxiety and depression and on the flip-side, can increase self-esteem, confidence and the feeling of self-worth.

Golf gives you motivation, something to focus on and look forward to which is great for the mind and can fill our lives with purpose.

Let’s not overlook the social benefits of golf, either.

We learn a lot about people during the four hours spent on a golf course. Some of the best friendships are forged on the fairways.

There’s nothing better than playing with like-minded people who share the same interests and goals, building relationships over the inevitable post-round analysis in the 19th.

All of this adds to our sense of belonging and according to Maslow, after safety and our basic physiological needs, this is the single most important human requirement.

The greatest thing about golf is that in can be enjoyed at any age.

Whether aged 8 or 80, we should be encouraging more people to take up the sport, the benefits are simply too big to ignore.

Golf and Health week

Rachael Tibbs is a TPI Level 2 Certified Golf Fitness Professional, who specialises in golf-specific strength and conditioning. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter for more information.