This equates to a five-year increase in life expectancy, according to a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.
Golfers with a low handicap are the best protected. “A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours, walking at a fast pace for about four miles, something which is known to be good for health,” said Anders Ahlbom, one of the study’s authors. “People play golf into old age, and there are also positive social and psychological aspects to the game that can be of help.”
The study, based on data from 300,000 Swedish golfers, considered other factors such as a generally healthy lifestyle that may help explain the lower death rate among golfers, the scientists said.
The effect on the death rate was greater for golfers from so-called blue-collar professions than for those from white-collar jobs, the researchers found. The lowest rates of mortality were found in the group of players with the lowest handicap.