In case you’re living under a rock and haven’t heard, thirty outstanding athletes have descended upon the Denver area this week to participate in the Solheim Cup, a biennial golf match featuring the best female golfers from the United States and Europe. The three-day match-play competition is set to tee off tomorrow morning at 7:30 sharp at the beautiful Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado. Judging from the media blitz, the Solheim’s a pretty big deal – Coach Stacy tells me it’s referred to as the “Ryder Cup of Women’s Golf.” And Coach is playing host to several VIP friends from the fitness and sports world who are in town for the match. With so much fanfare surrounding this women’s athletic event I was surprised to learn that only 19% of golfers in the United States are female, a sad statistic that the PGA is actively campaigning to improve.
The last time Coach Stacy and I played a round of golf, I double bogeyed the first hole, missed the green entirely on my drive to the second, and shanked so far out of bounds aiming at the third that I never located the ball and had to concede the hole altogether. Naturally after that disastrous start, I never recovered. Coach Stacy, on the other hand, shot a respectable 110.
At the local watering hole afterwards, Coach began outlining a textbook of tips geared at helping me improve my stroke as well as my concentration. I, in turn, offered to sell her my clubs for twenty bucks. When she persisted, I offered to pay her twenty bucks and throw in my clubs for free if she’d just quit trying to refine my game.
“Perhaps I’m not altogether cut out for the game of golf,” I grumbled. Like a dog with a bone, however, Coach Stacy wouldn’t let it go.
“Ridge, golf is just too darned healthy a sport for you to give up on it after one bad round,” she said, and proceeded to regale me with the myriad health benefits of the game of golf. And so, here they are – ten healthy reasons for you to hit the links before the weather turns cold:
- Golf is an excellent venue for getting your steps in. The Surgeon General recommends that we move to the tune of 10,000 steps a day. Ironically enough, during an average round of golf, you can expect to walk about 5 miles, which just happens to add up to around 10,000 steps.
- Playing golf burns calories – over 1,000 per 18 holes if you carry or pull your clubs.
- Regular rounds of golf can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis.
- Golf is relaxing for most people (especially those who, unlike me, routinely manage to drive or putt a ball with even the slightest degree of accuracy). Therefore, golf is a great stress reliever and a sport that helps the body release mood-enhancing endorphins.
- Most people report that they sleep better at night after a round of golf by day.
- Playing even a few holes of golf or hitting a bucket of balls on the driving range is a fine way to catch a few healthy rays and a lot of Vitamin D.
- Golf helps keep you mentally sharp, improving your focus, discipline, and decision-making skills. As such, playing golf helps reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers.
- While golf can be played alone, it’s also an excellent sport to play in groups – and it soothes the soul to be able to go out and play with one’s friends from time to time.
- Golf is a sport that involves finesse rather than visceral force. As such, this low-impact form of physical activity helps improve balance, flexibility, endurance, and muscle tone and strength. AND, golf provides a first-rate core workout.
- Contrary to popular belief, golf is a relatively inexpensive pastime. The average cost for a round at a public course is around $27.00 – WAY less expensive than a ticket to a baseball or football game – and in the long run, easier on the wallet because of the health benefits associated with playing the game.
Okay, so maybe I was too quick to give up on golf. Coach has had me tuned in to the Golf Channel for the Solheim Cup all week and I’m rather inspired by these gifted women athletes as they’ve played their practice rounds. Perhaps one of these days I’ll venture out to the local course again for some healthy activity and good dose of Vitamin D. Of course that will require me to buy back my clubs. Knowing Coach Stacy, the price has probably gone up…