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Public health considerations regarding golf during the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review
  1. Patrick Gordon Robinson1,
  2. Charlie Foster2,
  3. Andrew Murray3,4
  1. 1Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  3. 3Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4Medical and Scientific Department, The R&A, St. Andrews, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew Murray; docandrewmurray{at}


Background Golf is a sport played worldwide by >60 million people from a variety of backgrounds and abilities. Golf’s contribution to physical and mental health benefits are becoming increasingly recognised. Countries have adopted a range of restrictions to playing golf during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aims The purpose of this narrative review was to (1) explore the literature related to the possible health benefits and risks of playing golf during the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) provide recommendations on golf-related activity from the relevant available literature.

Results Golf can provide health-enhancing physical activity. Regular physical activity is associated with physical/mental health, immune system and longevity benefits. Sense of belonging and life satisfaction significantly improved when golfing restrictions were relaxed after the first lockdown in the UK. Golf is an outdoor sport, where social distancing is possible, and if rules are followed, risk of COVID-19 transmission is likely to be low.

Conclusions Policy-makers and governing bodies should support the promotion of golf because participation brings wide ranging benefits for physical health and mental well-being. When effective risk reduction measures are used, the benefits of playing golf in most circumstances outweigh the risk of transmission.

  • COVID-19
  • golf
  • physical activity
  • public health
  • health promotion

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  • Contributors PGR: Data collection, data analysis and manuscript writing. CF: Manuscript writing. AM: Manuscript idea, data analysis and manuscript writing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AM has paid roles with The R&A, European Tour and Ladies European Tour and is an associate editor at the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.