Why golf is good for you
Playing a sport is very good for you but golf is best of all, according to the latest Roy Morgan Research data.
Sport is widely acknowledged to have benefits beyond the physical, with sporty folks commonly reporting below-average rates of anxiety, stress and depression.
And according to Roy Morgan, Australians who play golf are among the least susceptible to these mental health conditions.
For example, while 15.1 percent of Aussie adults suffer depression and 18.3 percent report experiencing anxiety in an average 12 months, among golfers these figures fall substantially, to 8.7 percent and 11.9 percent.
Around 1.7 million Australian adults (or 9.3 percent) play golf either regularly or occasionally, putting it among our ten most popular forms of exercise.
Compared with the average Aussie aged 18 plus, or even people taking part in most other sports, these golfers are less likely to experience depression, stress, anxiety or panic attacks, the Roy Morgan single source survey between July 2015 and June this year shows.
While golf is a male-dominated sport (more than eight in every ten Australians who play golf are men, says Roy Morgan), its mental-health benefits can be seen among men and women who get out onto the fairways.
The most striking difference between men who play golf and the average Australian man is in anxiety and depression rates, but prevalence of stress and panic attacks is also lower among male golfers.
Among women, the main disparity is in incidence of depression: while 16.9 percnt of Aussie women aged 18+ experience depression, this falls to 10.5 percent among those who play golf.
Data reveals that even watching golf on TV appears to have a positive effect on the viewer’s mental health, with golf viewers reporting below-average incidences of anxiety, depression, panic attacks and stress!
Says Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, Norman Morris says: “It’s a wonder doctors and psychologists don’t prescribe golf as a treatment for people with depression, anxiety, stress and panic attacks.
“Not only are participants surrounded by nature as they play (which has been found to relax people and reduce stress/anxiety), but they have social interaction with other players (also known to benefit mental health), and have to engage their concentration skills.
“In fact, the only sport with participants less susceptible to all four mental-health conditions is sailing.
“Golf is well known for its popularity among older Australians, however, Roy Morgan data shows that golf’s mental health benefits apply to participants of all ages.
“For example, 30.9 percent of 18-24 year-olds overall report having felt stressed in the last 12 months—compared with 17.3 percent of those who play golf.”