Regular rounds of 18 holes improve mental and physical wellbeing

by Maura Hutchinson

Just in case you’re looking for an excuse to get out on the course this weekend, studies show playing golf is good for both your mental and physical wellbeing. So grab your clubs and book up your next tee time.


Professor Jenny Roe, a leading environmental psychologist and Director of the Center for Design & Health, University of Virginia has confirmed how getting out on the course could be even more beneficial than working out in a gym.

“I think to get out and play golf you are really helping manage your mental health in a very holistic way,” Roe says in an article featured on last month.

She adds that, “Contact with nature allows us to recover from brain fatigue, reduces our stress levels and improves our mood. In turn, improved mood is linked to what’s called the ‘broaden and build’ hypothesis, with an increased capacity for creative thought and cognitive flexibility that can – potentially – lead to new thought-action repertoires on and off the golf course, and improved performance.”

You can expect to walk an average of 12,000 steps or eight kilometres over a round of golf. This gives players the 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise recommended by the American Heart Association. With regular, low-impact exercise you can reduce your risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and strokes. So ditch the cart and get out on the course!


Listed as a moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, golf poses a limited risk of injury for most players and boasts an increase in mental health as well as giving players a good social circle. In an article published last year in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, experts revealed regular rounds of golf could have added benefits for the mind as well as the body. The panel reviewed more than 300 studies on the sport to determine its many positives, including the improvement of strength and balance (especially in older players).

Widening your social circle is also a great way to improve your mental health. Getting out on the course with others who share a common interest can help with communication skills and also foster new friendships. This gives a golfers a stronger sense of community.

As you walk the course and your heart rate increases, you are also exercising your brain. Planning your strategy throughout 18 holes can help to boost confidence and self-esteem, but it also gets your nerve cell connections working – this can help to delay mental illnesses like dementia. Another major positive is that fresh and outdoor activities can help you sleep better at night.

We knew all along how great the game of golf is but now it’s scientifically proven you should be playing more!