Don’t get fooled by those pictures showing smiling senior people carrying clubs and dragging themselves across a green emerald field. Golf is not a boring pastime but a sport for all ages combining strength, precision, concentration, stamina and tactical thinking.
Those who have never swung a golf club in their life would be surprised by just how addictive this sport can be: the game frustrates and delights whilst you burn over 1000 calories. The best part is that you don’t even really realise that you are exercising: a round of golf tends to mean that you are covering a good few miles on foot, you will easily surpass your 10,000 steps when you’re out on the links.
While walking and low-intensity jogging may be comparable exercises, they lack the competitive excitement of golf – explains Adnan Qureshi, M.D., lead author and executive director of the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institutes and professor of neurology at the University of Missouri. – Regular exercise, exposure to a less polluted environment and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health.
The very best thing about this sport is that it is absolutely never too late to start. In particular, golf’s ability to exercise both body and mind while having the added benefits of promoting fun and friendship makes it the ideal game for gen x women searching for a new and healthy activity in midlife, providing necessary infusions of challenge, reward and social interaction. A way to take their mind off of their daily routine and help them escape to a place they can enjoy.
Golf, like midlife, also offers another chance – says the golfer, author and Pulitzer Prize Ellen Goodman-. No matter how badly you hit one ball, you can still recover on the next. Some time on a beautiful October day, when you are searching for a ball, or for that matter your swing, you look around and realize for the first or 50th time that in this game, you’re the one keeping your own score.
In fact, unlike many team sports, golf is personal. Most of the time, you play against yourself to try to beat your own previous record but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t interaction with other people, including your opponents.
And did you know that it’s becoming more and more popular amongst women? According to the National Women In Golf Foundation, female golfers are the fastest-growing segment of new players. It’s predicted that women comprise around 40% of the 2.5 million beginning golfers in the U.S. That is roughly 22% of all 24 million American golfers are female. A large audience which several clubs in the UK can’t wait to accommodate, too.
Clubhouses have introduced women-only golf courses and coaching sessions – says Alistair Dunsmuir, editor of the magazine The Golf Business– and have looked to attract more female coaching staff. They have also tried to create a more sociable environment, where women can stay behind for a glass of wine afterwards. Other clubs have introduced creches so that mothers can have a relaxing round of golf or meet with friends in the clubhouse.
If you are tired of being on the fence, that’s the perfect time to join a friend who plays this sport regularly and then a golf club. Don’t be intimidated by elite amateurs: as you start to play more you will start hitting better shots more often. In the end, learning to play golf takes time and getting good takes consistent effort.
Success in golf does not come without practice. The best female golfers in the world, LPGA professionals like Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson, Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer and Laura Davies (58, one of the longer hitters on the LPGA Tour, competing against women half her age or younger). spend hours practising and perfecting their games. Recreational golfers too must put in a lot of time making their games better.
Practising golf is about setting goals for yourself, as well as planning how to achieve them. If you can do this, it shows you are someone with discipline. It forces you to battle with yourself and overcomes self-doubts. It teaches you endurance and resiliency, which help you become a better person. It gives you self confidence and trust in yourself which gain you the respect of others.
Before you know it, you’ll join a group, a course and be heading out for a celebratory drink with a new friend or two.