An observational study of spectators’ step counts and reasons for attending a professional golf tournament in Scotland [Research Paper]

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An observational study of spectators’ step counts and reasons for attending a professional golf tournament in Scotland [Research Paper]

Murray AD, Turner K, Archibald D, et al. An observational study of spectators’ step counts and reasons for attending a professional golf tournament in Scotland. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med 2017;3:e000244. doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2017- 000244


Abstract

Background Spectators at several hundred golf tournaments on six continents worldwide may gain health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) during their time at the event. This study aims to investigate spectators’ reasons for attending and assess spectator physical activity (PA) (measured by step count).

Methods Spectators at the Paul Lawrie Matchplay event in Scotland (August 2016) were invited to take part in this study. They were asked to complete a brief questionnaire with items to assess (1) demographics, (2) reasons for attendance and (3) baseline PA. In addition, participants were requested to wear a pedometer from time of entry to the venue until exit.

Results A total of 339 spectators were recruited to the study and out of which 329 (97.2%) returned step- count data. Spectators took a mean of 11 589 steps (SD 4531). ‘Fresh air’ (rated median 9 out of 10) then ‘watching star players’, ‘exercise/physical activity’, ‘time with friends and family’ and ‘atmosphere’ (all median 8 out of 10) were rated the most important reasons for attending.

Conclusion This study is the first to assess spectator physical activity while watching golf (measured by step count). Obtaining exercise/PA is rated as an important reason for attending a tournament by many golf spectators. Spectating at a golf tournament can provide HEPA. 82.9% of spectators achieved the recommended daily step count while spectating. Further research directly assessing whether spectating may constitute a ‘teachable moment’, for increasing physical activity beyond the tournament itself, is merited.

By Aston Ward