The University of Edinburgh's 2016 Scoping Review on the health benefits of golf.
Objective To assess the relationships between golf and health.
Design Scoping review.
Data sources Published and unpublished reports of any age or language, identified by searching electronic databases, platforms, reference lists, websites and from consulting experts.
Review methods A 3-step search strategy identified relevant published primary and secondary studies as well as grey literature. Identified studies were screened for final inclusion. Data were extracted using a standardised tool, to form (1) a descriptive analysis and (2) a thematic summary.
Results and discussion 4944 records were identified with an initial search. 301 studies met criteria for the scoping review. Golf can provide moderate intensity physical activity and is associated with physical health benefits that include improved cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic profiles, and improved wellness. There is limited evidence related to golf and mental health. The incidence of golfing injury is moderate, with back injuries the most frequent. Accidental head injuries are rare, but can have serious consequences.
Conclusions Practitioners and policymakers can be encouraged to support more people to play golf, due to associated improved physical health and mental well-being, and a potential contribution to increased life expectancy. Injuries and illnesses associated with golf have been identified, and risk reduction strategies are warranted. Further research priorities include systematic reviews to further explore the cause and effect nature of the relationships described. Research characterising golf's contribution to muscular strengthening, balance and falls prevention as well as further assessing the associations and effects between golf and mental health are also indicated.