Unlike football or rugby, golf is a sport that many moderately fit older people could take part in and enjoy. So could it be the answer for widowers who are facing life alone?
The charity Independent Age warns that men are increasingly experiencing social isolation in old age. With loneliness currently blighting the lives of many older people, the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) believes golf could provide the solution.
The PGA, formed in 1901, is the professional body of men’s golf clubs in the UK and Ireland.
“Loneliness is a big problem for many people in Britain today,” says chief executive Sandy Jones. “It affects so many people. It’s a big issue when a lost husband or wife is left alone in the home with no social contacts.
“‘m not sure that there are many other sports where you can participate so actively beyond the age of 55 and 65, and the social aspect of being part of a golf club also helps ward off loneliness.”
Mr Jones made his comments following recent national headlines on the issue of loneliness. He is calling on the government to provide golf clubs with grants to help solve the problem. Various initiatives have been launched in recent years to make golf more accessible to all members of society, regardless of age and ability.
The combination of fresh air, green space and social interaction can boost wellbeing, according to Miriam Akhtar from www.positivepsychologytraining.co.uk. She says: “Golf really does tick all the boxes for things you need for optimal wellbeing. It offers some important feel-good factors, such as an active social life and regular physical activity of the best kind – what we call ‘green exercise’ outside in nature.”
The UK’s Get Into Golf website lists local golf taster sessions which are frequently offered free for or a small cost.