Golf has a lot more health benefits than you might think, and they go well beyond physical.

Teeing off regularly won’t only help your swing, but your physical wellbeing as well.

When you think of playing a round of golf, you probably think of a relaxing sport that you play far too infrequently, and is generally enjoyed by retirees - and you’re not entirely wrong! But, golf could be a lot better for you than you might think.

In 2016, scientists from the University of Edinburgh reviewed almost 5000 existing golf studies, to build an overall picture of the sport’s health benefits. Their results found that golf is excellent low impact exercise, but can also give you far more than just physical benefits.

We all know about the benefits of regular, moderate exercise, but a lot of people don’t think of golf as serious exercise. The data might surprise you though; one of the most interesting findings was that over 18 holes of golf, the average person will walk between 4 and 8 miles (6.4-12.8km). While this might depend on how often you hit the fairway, even golfers who use an electric cart still covered around 4 miles (6.4km) on foot over 18 holes.

This equates to around 500 calories burned per round. There’s even more calories to burn (and core muscles to work out) if you’re carrying your clubs on your back! The benefits of playing regular golf even increase with age - in fact, it was concluded that golf players live longer than non-golf players. Golf is also a very low-impact sport, so the chance of injury is rare. One study showed the rate of injury among amateur golfers was between 0.28 and 0.6 injuries per 1000 hours played.

When you join a golf club, you’ll be hard pressed to not enjoy the social benefits, too. Even if it’s just playing a round with friends, it’s a great chance to get outside, and be active and social.

Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of golf was suggested improvements to mental health, including self-esteem, self-identity, and impulse control. Maybe it’s getting out in the fresh air and the sunshine, perhaps it’s the social aspect of the golf club, or even learning to control your urge to have a mini-meltdown after a mis-hit; the data suggests that golf is pretty good for your overall wellbeing.

One of the biggest barriers to entry for people looking to get out for a round is the cost. Between annual memberships, green fees, cart hire, and a set of clubs, the costs can add up quickly. Fortunately, Medibank members can get a free 6 month bronze membership for GolfLife, where you'll enjoy access to more than 400 golf discount offers at over 200 golf courses around Australia, including special 2-for-1 deals, so you can even treat a friend to a round! All you’ve got to do to claim is head over to the Golf Life website with your Medibank membership number - better start cleaning those clubs.

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