This topic is one of the foundation reasons I started Fairway Birdies.
Social connectedness has been shown by J Dusheek. Standford Medicine 2016, to be the single largest driver of wellness. As we all know it takes a lot of work to have a healthy level of social connectedness. You have to have the desire, the inclination, the energy, the time, the confidence, the people, the place, the ability and the consistency to keep your social wheels turning. Attending golf clinics, play golf regularly and even joining a golf club are terrific tools to achieve social connectedness which will improve your sense of wellbeing.
By aiming for a better sense of wellness you will, as a spinoff, do a better job of preventing other negative issues in your life.
Less boredom, depression, anxiety, isolation can be some negative issues if you don’t have an individual outlet, recreational activity or a group to connect to.
What sort of person are you? When it comes to doing something about your own wellbeing – J Hibbard et al (Kings Fund) 2014 used some interesting categories to determine this level.
Level 1 – You passive or lacking of confidence? Often associated with low knowledge, poor adherence and needs someone else to organise things for them.
Level 2 – You know you should do more, know what to do but still haven’t taken the first step.
Level 3 – Action. Goal orientated.
Level 4 – Can adopt new behaviours but struggle with change.
These categories have been shown to be a better predictor of health outcomes than known socio-demographic factors such as ethnicity and age. More activated people are more likely to adopt positive behaviours suggesting a strong correlation with wellness. You can change levels/categories.
Taking the step to taking up golf or being involved in golf on a more regular basis is a terrific example of being an activated person.
You have to activate your ability to change to embrace golf and the ‘spin offs’ it has to offer other than hitting golf balls. Some positive ‘spin offs’ from golf include- travel, long lunches, conversation, fashion, off the course friendships, and being able to enjoy an activity with your spouse or family instead of sitting on the sidelines and missing out.
With my own personal experience some of the friends I have made on course provide me with an enormously valuable sounding board for anything going on in my life and theirs. We have great conversations and I learn things from them. We now holiday together, have dinners and are involved in fun activities such as charity events, and some club committees. I have met dozens and dozens of women who are all fantastic people and I would have never have met these people if I didn’t play golf.
Generations ago the golf club was a community hub where most members of the towns community met and socialised. When I look around at my golf club I see many older people who are happy, fit and obviously living a longer healthier life. I don’t think it is a coincidence, as increasing data on wellness now shows that social connectedness improves your emotional health, sense of self and physical health.
It has been shown by Farahmand et al (Scand J Med Sci Sports 2009) that measurable differences in health of golfers verses non-golfers can be made. They used the Swedish Golf Federations membership registry of over 300,000 and compared mortality rates across the population. It showed that low handicappers had the lowest mortality compared with those with the highest handicap. *Check one of my past articles for effective habits of good golfers ‘What does your Health your Brain and your Golf all have in Common’. Overall, golfers had a 40% decreased mortality rate corresponding to an increase in life expectancy of about 5 years.
We can conclude that golf was not the sole reason for this, but the differences are significant between the groups, it shows that the type of person who embraces a life with golf in it, with all the other side influences of socialisation, organisation, structure, happiness and physicality is likely to achieve better wellness and live longer.
You don’t need to consult your ‘Fitbit’ to know that your 10,000 steps for the day has been achieved after a game of golf. Also, interestingly enough you will have achieved a new measure- 10,000 words over a game of golf with lunch and lattes afterwards – a good measure of wellness.
What to do next? Contact me to get some support to find beginner golf clinics. Subscribe to my website (fairwaybirdies.com) and social media platforms, Instagram & Facebook to get motivated. Read my articles to learn, stay interested and connected. Bite the bullet and take the plunge. I’ll guide you through the process every step of the way and what to buy, how to practice, what to wear and how to get started.
Set some goals. Commit. Reap the rewards.