The Four F’s of Golf: Fitness, Fresh Air, Friendship and Fun
You drive the ball down the fairway, play with fourteen clubs and yell FORE when your ball strays toward another player
By Pam Swensen
CEO of the Executive Women’s Golf Association
Golf is a game with its own language and traditions and offers four compelling reasons to take up the sport – fitness, fresh air, friendship and fun.
Think again if the mention of golf conjures up images of pot-bellied players in plaid pants. Studies show that golfers live longer and there are numerous health benefits for those who play the game (business golf included).
A study conducted by a Swedish medical university and published in a 2008 Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports shows the beneficial health effects of golf. Based on data from 300,000 Swedish golfers, the death rate amongst golfers is 40 percent lower than the rest of the population, which equates to an increased life expectancy of five years.
"A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours, walking at a fast pace for six to seven kilometres [4.3 miles] , something which is known to be good for the health," says Professor Anders Ahlbom, who has led the study with Bahman Farahmand. "People play golf into old age, and there are also positive social and psychological aspects to the game that can be of help."
While not ruling out other factors, the study found that golf players have a lower death rate regardless of sex, age and social group, so the researchers concluded that it is likely that the playing of the sport in itself has a significant impact on health.
Riding in golf carts is more prevalent in the United States, yet still provides a good source of low-impact exercise. A scientific study conducted by the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, Colo., found that golfers who walk 18 holes burn over 1400 calories and cover about 5 miles. Those using a golf cart for 18 holes walk at least one mile and burn approximately 800 calories.
Strength, flexibility and balance all come into play for golfers, making golf a sport that can contribute to ones fitness and physical well being throughout life.
Golf gets you outdoors, and takes you to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful sights in the world. You may never play along the ocean at Pebble Beach or walk the lush fairways of Augusta National, yet the municipal golf course down the street also offers an oasis of green and welcome retreat from concrete. Where ever you play, nature will surround you with birds, flowers, trees and wildlife sharing your journey over 18 holes.
Golfers can experience a perfect sunset, a double rainbow, the power and fury of a summertime storm, a lone hawk soaring overhead – often all within a single round.
One of golf’s greatest benefits is how it helps you relate and connect to other people. Golf affords a uniquely valuable opportunity to spend four hours of uninterrupted time with someone. It enables you to really get to know your playing partners.
Here’s why playing golf is such an effective rapport and relationship builder. The golf swing takes on average about 1.4 seconds. If your score is 100, you’ve swung the club for 140 seconds, or slightly more than 2 minutes. If you are playing with three others, then only about 10 minutes are spent actually hitting the ball, making a golf shot. What are you doing the rest of the 4-hour round?
It’s undeniably an invaluable business tool yet the relationship building aspect of golf isn’t limited to just business colleagues and clients. If you want to spend more time with your family, then make golf a family affair. And because it is a lifetime sport, several generations can play together. Grandparents can share their love of the game with a grandchild or offspring. Couples can discover some quiet time to talk and where else could a parent get to spend four hours with their teenager.
Adults are often so involved in work and responsibilities that they have little time to cultivate friendships and enjoy time for themselves. Golf can fill that void, introducing them to like minded people in an environment that encourages light-hearted casual conversation. Golf can quickly reveal one’s personality, fostering friendships with people you respect and enjoy.
As the Swedish researchers pointed out, it is the positive social and psychological aspects of the game that contribute to a golfer’s longer life.
The final “F” is fun which is the result when you combine fitness, fresh air and friendship.
Pam Swensen is the CEO of the EWGA. Since founded as the Executive Women’s Golf Association in 1991, the EWGA has enriched the lives of over 100,000 women, connecting them to learn, play, and enjoy golf for business and fun. There are over 125 chapters throughout the United States, as well as international chapters in Canada and France.
This not-for-profit association delivers a wide range of golf, social and networking activities for new and experienced golfers. A welcoming environment, golf education and player development, organized play programs, unique golf experiences, and numerous discounts and savings are part of the many benefits of EWGA membership.