When you decide to take up this lifelong sport, you could burn some calories, help strengthen your core, and that’s just the beginning. Here are five reasons why you should give golf a try.
1. It may boost your step count…a lot
As tempting as it may be to zoom around the course on the golf cart, leave the keys behind at the clubhouse. If you opt to walk and carry or cart your clubs from link to link, you could cover 4 to 8 miles over 18 holes of golf—that’s about 9,200 to 18,400 steps! More than merely clocking a high number, walking about 10,000 steps per day could help you sleep better, too, according to a small study of Japanese adults.
2. It could be equally fun with friends
“Golf is a sport that can help bring everyone together,” says Steven Lorick, EdD, president and head of golf performance at Leadbetter Golf Academy in Orlando, FL. Beyond the 18 holes, you could take a group lesson, join a beginner-friendly “Nine and Wine” program (play nine holes and then drink wine—4 SmartPoints for a glass!), or plan golf-themed getaways.
3. It might improve your health
Walking the course has been associated with potential positive effects on cholesterol, body composition, and metabolism, according to a review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. “You have to have good flexibility, core stability, and strength to play well,” says Kyle Kunash, head PGA golf professional at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI.
4. It could help you focus
The fact that you’re hitting a very small ball forces you to concentrate and may also help improve your problem-solving abilities. Kunash takes his students through a 30- to 40-second pre-shot routine that teaches them to focus and breathe before they swing. “It’s a technique that you can apply to your daily life, too, learning how to take breaks and refocus throughout the day,” he says.
5. Getting started can be affordable
The game isn’t just for well-to-do country-club types. Scout local garage sales or resale sites for your first set of clubs. The PGA has a Get Golf Ready program, or you can head to Groupon to look for any discounts on golf lessons. “Plus, check with your local courses to see if they offer cheaper tee times after a certain hour, like afternoons or evenings,” recommends Lorick.
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