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Sports researchers at Sheffield Hallam University have found that golf has a profound effect on the nation's health and wellbeing, with a social benefit worth £1.8billion.  

According to a report by the University's Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) and commissioned by England Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association, every £1 spent on golf generates £1.17 worth of social benefits.*

The research takes into consideration the total social value of golf participation measured through factors such as subjective wellbeing, health and social capital and divides this by total inputs into the sport from golf players, volunteers, funders of the game and the delivery bodies.

Enhanced wellbeing is by far the most striking reward for players, equating to £2,380 per person or a total of £1.2 billion. But the report also found that you do not even have to play the game to benefit, as a further 10% or £178.8 million is found in the positive emotions generated by volunteering. Quite simply, people who are regularly involved in the sport are happier and feel the benefits across their everyday lives. 

Improved health is the second biggest benefit (22% of total social value), with players aged 55 and upwards recording the most significant rewards including a reduced risk of dementia and coronary heart disease. For example, playing a round of golf improves cardiovascular health and reduces healthcare costs associated with cardiovascular disease. Other health benefits include a reduced risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

All ages benefit from being involved in golf, from youngsters who play at university who typically have a higher starting salary than their non-sporting counterparts** through to the older generation who receive the health benefits detailed above.

The industry-leading report represents the first time that such research has been undertaken for a specific sport. 

Professor Simon Shibli, head of SIRC at Sheffield Hallam, said: "The Government's strategy for sport, Sporting Future, requires a completely different look at the benefits of sport.  We were delighted to help with this ground breaking research.  We have shown for years that golf events have a positive economic impact on host locations.  Now we know that the simple act of playing golf generates significant social benefits both for individuals and society as a whole, day in and day out."

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Nick Pink, chief executive of England Golf, said: “Until now, golf-related studies had only been able to consider the economic value brought about by the sport. By exploring the associated social benefits it has become clear that the sport’s overall impact extends far greater than just financial rewards and that there is a powerful argument for continued investment in golf participation across young and old alike. We are keen to highlight the importance of golf to the older generation whether a new or existing player.”

He added: “We’re delighted to have the facts that show that not only is playing golf good for you but, importantly, it can positively influence the wider community. We urge lapsed or current players to ensure golf is part of their weekly lives and new players to get involved in our Get into Golf campaign, which is presently in full swing and available at clubs across the country.”

England Golf actively promotes golf through a range of campaigns directly targeting the consumer including Get into Golf, Women’s Golf Month in June and Family Golf Month in July and through partnerships with county unions, associations and county golf partnerships, golf clubs and volunteers.

For press information: Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email

For a full copy of the report, interviews for specific case studies, or to attend events, please contact: Becky Fairlie-Clarke / Damy McConnell on +44 7974 306 579 or email