Golf top health benefits
PUBLISHED: 13:36 27 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:20 02 November 2018
Get fit with a midweek round of golf in Suffolk.
Trying to keep fit? Aren’t we all! Going to the gym is fine. It passes the time, and if you work really hard and don’t spend the whole session gossiping or shuffling through your Spotify list for the perfect ‘workout tunes’ you can see real results.
But, if you want to maintain your fitness, experts say you’ll see better health benefits in the long term if you take up a sport.
Engaging with others, practising hand-eye coordination, and indulging your competitive streak while participating in sport all contribute massively to your physical and mental wellbeing. And one sport that ticks all theses boxes is golf.
Forget any preconceptions you have. Once considered elitist, this challenging and fun activity has opened its doors massively and everyone can play – with many clubs offering ‘pay and play’ sessions throughout the week.
Mid-week is the ideal time to perfect your swing on the driving range, or head out with friends to dabble in a round on the greens. It’s less likely to be busy, you can take your time if you already play but have a high handicap, and it’s certainly much more fun than hitting the treadmill or rowing machine!
So, what are the health benefits of playing golf? As any exercise, golf gets your heart rate going as you walk around the course – and walking is recommended by doctors and mental health professionals as one of the best ways to improve the wellbeing of your body and mind.
The average 18 hole round will burn between 1,500 and 2,500 calories! And, during 18 holes, you’ll walk an average of six miles – which will take you over and above the 10,000 steps we’re all meant to do each day.
Add to that the fact that being outside in the fresh air reduces stress, and that golf is low impact (being played on a soft surface) and you’ve got the ideal low-risk sport for any fitness level.
You don’t need any specialist equipment to get started. Golf clubs, balls and tees are all available on-site at every golf facility. Depending on the club, simply book or turn up and play.
Of course, if you do decide the sport’s for you, onsite golf shops usually have pros and experts at hand to help you choose the right clubs for your swing and height. Many will sell secondhand equipment for entry level players as well, making getting into the sport longer term even more affordable.
Whether you’re just starting out, or are a former player who’s got out of the swing of things, a few lessons wouldn’t go amiss. Learning or perfecting your technique will help you make the most of your time at the driving range or on the green, and knowing how to handle the clubs correctly will minimise any chance of injury.
Stuart Robertson (Doctorgolf) is one of East Anglia’s leading golf instructors and a PGA pro, based at Ufford Park Golf Club near Woodbridge. His philosophy when starting out is to keep the swing “as natural as possible around a structured framework so it is consistent with minimal effort”.
He recommends taking as many lessons as you need to feel comfortable – likening learning golf to driving a car, “it really depends on how quickly you get the hang of it”.
Mid-week there are some great deals to be had at Stuart’s home club of Ufford Park, so why don’t you check it out and improve your fitness and wellbeing in a whole new way?
Wednesdays with Wheels will get you two balls and a buggy for £60. On mid-week evenings you can play nine holes for £9 per person. And under 16s play free with a paying adult Monday to Friday – so the whole family can get involved.
The undulating, professional course at Ufford is regularly listed as one of the top in the East of England and is playable all-year-round, even in wet weather due to its excellent drainage, which saw it voted top winter course by Today’s Golfer Magazine.
You don’t need a handicap to play the par 71 18 hole course, run over 120 acres. Ufford Park is also home to Suffolk’s only two tier floodlit driving range and has an American Golf superstore on site too – plus restaurant, bar and spa facilities.
“Many visitors have said it is one of the most enjoyable and visually attractive newer courses in Suffolk and it’s still improving year-on-year.” adds Stuart.