Surveys sometimes tell us what we already know, and that was certainly the case when I learned about a recent poll conducted by the Syngenta Golf consultancy. Of the Canadian, American and British golfers surveyed, more than half (55 percent) cited “mental wellbeing” as their main reason for joining a club in the past six months.
Pre-pandemic, extensive research backed this up. A 2018 European study cited golf as a means to better mental and overall health, while a 2009 Swedish paper found that golfers’ average life expectancy is about five years longer than non-golfers. Statistics Canada, meanwhile, is reporting that Canadians who have been exercising outdoors during the pandemic are more likely to assess their own mental and physical health as very good or excellent than those who did not venture outside.
Having hosted the ModGolf PodCast since 2017, I know all about these benefits. For Episode 65 I sat down with Dr. Roger Hawkes, Executive Director for The Golf & Health Project, who explained how his organization is sharing golf’s positive impact on mental health with the health community. Another standout example was Episode 64’s inspiring conversation with Tanelle Bolt, an adaptive paragolfer who shared her difficult yet personally rewarding journey of a life transformed by devastating injury.
Since March, these stories and insights from podcast guests and fellow golfers proliferated markedly as more people used the game to stay mentally and physically fit when gyms and other exercise facilities shut down. For my part, I played more golf than ever this past season, partly due to COVID and partly due to even more stressful personal circumstances.
Now, Canada’s 5.7 million golfers face an unprecedented dilemma: With government restrictions making international travel all-but-impossible, and with most domestic courses closed for the season, how will they continue their healthy golf regimens?
One option, the innovative GolfAIApp – the first app to introduce artificial intelligence into golf improvement – will be the focus of an upcoming ModGolf episode.
Past episodes also offer numerous golf season-extending insights. Dogu Taskiran, CEO of Stambol Studios, provided a fascinating look at how the worlds of Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality are impacting and influencing the future of golf entertainment experiences. On another episode we spoke with Billy Casper Golf VP of Operations Nick Bednar about how their 150+ golf courses are creating welcoming experiences for people who are picking up the game for the first time.
With so much uncertainty surrounding lockdowns and business closures, it’s comforting to know that virtual golf is making great strides. And we could all use a little extra comfort these days.