New members at golf clubs say stress relief has been an important reason to join during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day (October 10), a snapshot survey of 250 golfers in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, indicated that more than half (55%) of those who had joined a club in the past six months cited ‘mental wellbeing’ as their primary reason for joining.

Sporting challenge (50%), physical wellbeing (38%) and social wellbeing (31%) also proved important, while 12% indicated they joined to participate in club competitions.

The social media poll, conducted by Syngenta Golf, follows the publication of a multimedia article ‘The new value of golf’s green spaces, highlighting the stress-relieving benefits of golf and golf courses. 

In the article, environmental psychologist Prof Jenny Roe of the University of Virginia, explains, “Contact with nature slows down our stress response and induces calm. 

“It is promoting stress resilience, it is improving our mood, it’s decreasing our risk of depression and increasing our social wellbeing, particularly on a golf course where you are interacting with other members of that community.” 

Scientific research published in 2019 has also indicated spending at least two hours per week in nature is good for health and wellbeing.

Mark Birchmore, Syngenta Global Head of Marketing, Turf and Landscape, said: “This is a simple, snapshot survey with a small sample, but it gives an indication of some of the reasons people have joined golf clubs in recent months and suggests further research into golf and mental welling would be worthwhile.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted issues of stress in day-to-day life, the reality is that the experience of spending time in nature on a golf course has always been one of the sport’s key benefits – it’s just rarely communicated as a marketing message. But it is something clubs might consider as it could be an important factor in the value proposition for golf and club membership.”  

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