There are so many benefits to golfing so, as courses around Ireland re-open, we're offering five reasons to the get into the swing of things.
According to a new study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine - The relationships between golf and health: a scoping review - golf offers a wide variety of health benefits.
In fact, playing golf may contribute to increased life expectancy and improved mental health, plus it is thought to be a social activity with an overall moderate risk of injury compared to other sports.
However, although approximately 60 million people play golf at least twice a year, the panel acknowledged that players tended to be older, male and white.
They even argue that more needs to be done to boost the inclusivity of golf, as "it is often perceived as expensive, male-dominated, difficult to learn, and not a game for the young or those on the lower rungs of the social ladder".
If you’re keen to give Tiger a run for his money, here are five reasons why you should give golf a go…
1. It’ll increase your fitness levels
Golf is actually great exercise, although it may not always look it when you’re watching it on TV. If playing a full course, you can expect to be walking around four to six miles in a game, depending on how far and how often you deviate from the main greens.
Combine that with pushing a golf cart and you’ll be racking up a decent amount of aerobic activity. Golfing can be a great way to increase balance and core strength too and is gentle on the joints.
Plus, you’ll be soaking up a load of vitamin D from being outdoors for a couple of hours (just don't forget to wear your suncream).
2. It’s a stress buster
Golf can be a form of stress relief; again, being outside in the open air can be hugely therapeutic, while it’s also a versatile game. You can make it social and play with friends, or do a round alone if you need a bit of peace and quiet.
Focusing on your putting will also occupy your mind, pushing out stressful or worrisome thoughts, and whacking balls at the driving range can certainly help after a bad day.
3. Golf is a game for all ages
Unlike a lot of sports where there is a shelf life for athletes, with golf, you can just keep playing and playing, no matter how many birthdays you see come and go. Look at American golfer Angela Stanford, who landed her first major championship at the Evian Championship in France at the age of 40. You can start young too – every generation in your family can get involved.
4. It’s fun!
No really, golfing is a very good way to release some much-needed endorphins, whether putting on a mini or crazy golf course, or on a full one. There is a lot of skill and patience involved, as well as a real sense of accomplishment when you hear the ball drop into the hole. Grab a group of girlfriends, get a competitive edge on.
5. Golf course scenery can be pretty scenic
Many golf courses are set in stunning surroundings, whether with a view of the ocean or a tree-lined course with forest for miles. Everyone deserves a look-in.