Is Golf the Best Sport for your Health?

Three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington talks to Paddy Morgan about why he loves golf and how it maintains physical health.  

“I started playing golf when I was four years old at Stackstown Golf Club and I got clubs fitted when I was seven years old, I realised from an early age that this is where I should spend my Summers – on a golf course.” 

Padraig Harrington

Speaking to Paddy Tees It Up Podcast, Padraig Harrington says it’s better to get into golf while you are young because it teaches you important life skills. The benefits of golf can also be seen from an early age. Blainroe Golf Club increased the numbers in their juniors category from 60 to 200 in 2019.  

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Golf Pro Padraig Harrington. Credit: Twitter

Obesity: 

Harrington discusses the health benefits for him. “I average about 3,900 calories a day when I’m playing golf and this helps me to control my weight”.  Obesity is an increasing problem in Ireland. According to the CSO, in 2017, 62% of adults were confirmed as being overweight. Doctor Aoife Ni Sheaghda from Trinity Clinic told Paddy Tees It Up, “the whole idea with exercise is 30 minutes 3 times a week, with focus on getting your heart rate up.”   

Golf is an ideal low impact sport, meaning it causes less stress to your muscles and joints. Ni Sheaghda says “sports like golf and cycling are good for people that have arthritis. On average, a golfer takes 11,948 steps in an 18-hole round, which equates to a 6 mile walk.”  

On average, a golfer takes 11,948 steps in an 18-hole round, which equates to a 6 mile walk.

Dr. Aoife Ni Sheaghda
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Left to right: Pat Morgan, Paddy Morgan, Jack Chambers and Paul Paterson. Credit: Patrick Morgan 

Covid-19: 

Active golfers struggled with a lack of routine with not being able to play golf due to covid. Golf courses were closed for 209 days during 2020 & 2021. Greg Allen said “distraction while playing golf takes you away from the hustle and bustle of life and I was out of routine while golf courses were closed.”  

Trinity Clinic’s Dr. Aoife Ni Sheaghda also said “overall there is still a hangover effect from Covid and some people are afraid to go back to playing Sport.”   

Minister for Sport and Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, told Paddy Tees It Up “The Government ambition is to keep sport open as much as possible while battling with the risk of coronavirus.” Many golfers complained of frustration that it was fine for groups of people to meet up in a park but you couldn’t play a round of golf. Golf is a social distance sport, players rarely come closer than one metre when playing a round.

Since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in April 2021, golf has increased in popularity due to the impact of role models such as Padraig Harrington & Leona Maguire. Golf Ireland announced that 540,000 people played golf in Ireland in 2021. The Minister for Sport says “funding helps golfers compete at a local and national level, we have strong representation throughout the world.”   

Mental Health:

Playing golf is also good for your mental health. Males especially achieve higher levels of wellbeing by engaging with sport. Golf pro Harrington agrees, “yes, being outdoors and having a dream, goal, company and having a focus is all good for your mental health.”  Jack Chambers says “there has been a big focus on wellbeing with Minister Mary Butler getting an increase in the budget to help improve people’s mental health.” 

Marlay Park:

Putting is a part of golf that can be done anywhere, either at home or in your local park. The putting green at Marlay Park was recently set up for different generations to have loads of fun and frustration.  Harrington says “there is an enjoyment to holing a putt and the more people that enjoy that element, might play golf down the road, especially kids which will hopefully bring more people into golf.”

Jack Chambers also said on Paddy Tees It Up “the Marley Park putting green is supported by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Golf Ireland. Sport Ireland provided Golf Ireland with €25,000 in 2021 towards the putting green.”  This putting green that has been designed at Marley Park is a great way for people to take up a short form of golf before going to a proper golf course. 

Written By – Patrick Morgan

You can listen to the Paddy Tees It Up Podcast here:

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2 thoughts on “Is Golf the Best Sport for your Health?

  1. Good man Patrick. This is all really excellent. You’re flying with the stars. You have dared to dream and I really believe that all this is a dream come true for you. Keep up this excellent work and always remember,Patrick,that you have a friend for here in Navan who will always support you. Talk is cheap but words are what define us as people and your use of words and has reached a new level. I had a good listen to the Padraig Harrington podcast in particular. He’s a man that’s never lost for words as a few hundred people in Co Meath will verify following a charity event that he was a guest at 6-7 years ago. As I always say to you keep up the very good work. Kindest regards to you and to your family. Ed Maguire.

    Liked by 1 person

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