Why Playing Golf is Great for Your Mental Health
Golf has become more popular over the last two decades, thanks to fresh energy being put into the sport. Professional golfers like Tiger Woods, Rory Mcilroy, and Brooks Koepka have made the game exciting to watch and draws new crowds to the game entirely.
Playing golf can benefit almost anyone- the game promotes professional development and networking, mental and physical benefits, and is a sport you can play and get better at for your entire life.
Personally I’ve been playing for over 10 years. I started playing more frequently in the last 4 or 5 years and have since gotten in better shape, made many professional connections, and am truly passionate about the sport.
If you don’t already play golf, here are a few great reasons you should consider picking the sport up!
Benefits of Playing Golf
Professional Development and Networking
When playing golf you’re trying to beat your personal best, but in a social setting you’re also showing off your skills and competing against colleagues and potential clients.
Golf is a great way to network. Many professional relationships and connections can be made on the golf course that can present you opportunities for career advancement. It’s pretty common for local businesses to host golf tournaments catering to specific industries. I’ve attended several golf tournaments in my industry and made both contacts and good relationships from attending and networking.
For COVID-19: Social Distancing Friendly
As we all know, social distancing has been a top priority for safety and health globally in 2020. Generally speaking, it is very easy to social distance while playing golf. While you can play with other players, there is no point in a round of golf where you need to be within 6 feet of another player. Many golf courses and country clubs have modified typical golf course conditions so that you don’t need to touch golf flagsticks and limit one person per golf cart.
It has been increasingly difficult to find social activities that are acceptable while states and countries are limiting social interaction, so a social distancing friendly activity is welcomed with open arms.
Playing Golf Lowers Stress
With golf courses spanning hundreds of acres of natural beauty, the outdoor natural aspect of the sport provides direct mental health benefits. Playing golf outdoors releases endorphins, the human body’s natural mood booster which helps put you in a good mood, directly lowering stress and anxiety.
The idea that natural and green landscapes lower stress and offer therapeutics go back to ancient Roman times and more modern studies have pointed to the fact that being in these environments lowers stress and anxiety. Being in such a natural environment is pleasantly stimulating for your senses.
Focuses the Mind
As Arnold Palmer said, Golf is an incredibly complicated and complex game. Playing golf requires a lot of focus and attention throughout 9 or 18 holes.
“Mistakes are part of the game. It’s how well you recover from them, that’s the mark of a great player.” – Alice Cooper
From evaluating distances to reading greens and understanding swing mechanics, you will be focused for the entire time you’re playing golf. It also helps you work on your vision and depth perception because following where your golf ball ends up can be a whole different challenge in itself!
Promotes Emotional Intelligence
A round of golf can bring a roller coaster of emotions, from extreme highs when you hit the perfect shot or sink a tough putt, to frustration when you hit a poor shot and underperform. It takes fortitude and perseverance to keep practicing and being patient with yourself.
Playing golf can help teach you to remain even-tempered and shake off bad shots, instead focusing on succeeding and improving throughout your round. Being able to remain level headed throughout a round of golf will help anyone play better and teaches better emotional intelligence.
Low Risk of Injury
Golf is a naturally low impact sport, and in turn, there is a low risk of injury compared to playing contact sports.
However, it’s still important to stretch and prepare to play golf to prevent common injuries like back pain or knee pain. Even though it’s a low impact sport, you get plenty of exercise while playing thanks to extensive walking and using your body to swing and rotate through the ball.
Walking and playing golf is a great way to burn calories while doing low to moderate-intensity exercise. If you walk 18 holes of golf, the average distance will be anywhere from 4 to 6 miles of walking, depending on the length of the course and the accuracy of your shots. This means usually you’ll be able to walk more than the recommended 10,000 steps a day in 1 round!
Walking and playing golf is the exercise equivalent of a brisk walk, and studies have shown that over 18 holes you burn between 800 and 900 calories. Alternatively, if you decide to ride in the cart instead of walking, you’ll still end up burning between 350-450 calories. Not bad for a leisurely sport.
Golf truly is a full-body exercise and requires balance, strength, and flexibility. If you decide to pick up golf you’ll be naturally working out most of your leg, core, and upper body muscles. Because of the fact that golf relies on an effective rotation, you’ll also be improving your hip mobility.
Walking and carrying your bag can be hard work. By the last few holes, you really start to feel the burn, but over time you’ll build up endurance and have an easier time with it.
Also, be sure to check out these great golf workouts care of FairwayApproach.com
Helps to Improve Hand-Eye Coordination
Every aspect of golf requires acute depth perception and the ability to execute a number of different shots, whether it’s hitting a long drive, a short chip, or putting the ball into the cup on the green.
The basics of the golf swing require intense attention to detail, and a well-struck golf ball needs to be hit in the precisely right spot to be perfect. Practicing golf and becoming better at the sport will naturally improve your hand-eye coordination, and get your mind and body to act as one.
Improve Sleep Quality
There have been countless studies on how exercise improves sleep quality, and a round of 9 or 18 holes of golf is plenty of work to help you get a more restful night of sleep. Exercise increases the amount of time you’re in a deep sleep, helping boost immune function and cardiac health. Golf is a great way to tire yourself out for a great deep sleep.
Golf is a game that you can play for the rest of your life and can benefit all aspects of your life. I have made great friends through golf, lost weight, and have found a true passion for playing the sport. If you’re thinking of picking it up, just go for it! Take some lessons and get out there, and you’ll be glad you did.