A number of health-related themes will be promoted during the week of the campaign, including:
- Monday 15 April: Fitness – professionals and amateurs
- Tuesday 16 April: Mental health, including dementia
- Wednesday 17 April: Disability golf
- Thursday 18 April: Golf for everyone, featuring various health projects such Parkinson’s, loneliness, stroke
- Friday 19 April: Club focus, including fitness, food, drink and gym classes
The collaborative campaign is being co-ordinated by the R&A with the support of England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf, the Golfing Union of Ireland, Irish Ladies Golf Union, the European Tour, the Ladies European Tour, The Professional Golfers’ Association and the Golf Foundation. A number of other organisations have expressed interest in supporting the week, including EDGA, formerly the European Disabled Golf Association, the PGAs of Europe and Golf Australia.
Nick Pink, England Golf Chief Executive, said: “It’s great to spread the message that golf is good for you. We know golf can make a real difference to health and well-being and we need to share that with the wider community. We’re very proud to be involved in a scheme which has successfully pioneered golf on referral from GPs, with impressive results. We also know that golf, and being active, can significantly cut the risk of dementia and heart disease. These are just some of the benefits – and the very good reasons to encourage more people to take up and keep playing the sport.”
The campaign is also to be backed by professional golfers including Annika Sorenstam, Brooke Henderson, Padraig Harrington and Zach Johnson, who are ambassadors for the Golf and Health Project.
The dedicated week builds on the work of the Golf and Health Project, which since 2016 has studied the many and varied health and wellbeing benefits of golf, considered any risks and had research published regularly in international, peer-reviewed journals.
To drive interest and encourage activity in the days before the dedicated week, golfers will be asked to tweet their steps achieved and calories burned from any golf they play, again using #GolfHealthWeek. The week then finishes on Good Friday at club level, with golfers to be encouraged to head for the fairways over the Easter holiday weekend.
Last year, a global consensus amongst leaders in public health, public policy and sport backed golf in the race to tackle physical inactivity and the prevention of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer of the breast and colon. Previous research has also highlighted that those that play golf live five years longer than those that don’t play, while the sport has been shown to have self-esteem and self-worth benefits.