Above par: why patients really should tee off

More people should be encouraged to play golf because of its cardiac benefits

Perhaps a round of nine holes will be part of a GP's prescription for heart patients, if an expert panel has its way.

A recent consensus statement in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says the evidence shows playing golf regularly can reduce heart disease and stroke risk factors.

The sport also provides aerobic physical activity, can boost strength and balance in older people, has mental health benefits and can improve overall health of those with disabilities with minimal risk of injury.

Evidence is growing about the health impacts of the sport and more players could be encouraged to take up clubs, said the consensus statement.

Around 60 million people play golf at least twice a year, yet players tend to be middle aged to older, male, of white European heritage, relatively well off, and living in North America, Europe and Australasia. 

The consensus