Thinking About Your Mental Health? Here's Why You Should Try Golf

Health Benefits of Playing Golf

Dr. Purushothaman
February 8, 2023

Mental health is just as important as physical health… Maybe even more so. But the two are so closely linked that trying to work on one without working on the other means you won’t make as much progress as you should.

If your mental health is on the decline and you’re looking for ways to boost it, you can bet that physical exercise is going to help.

Not sure what to do? Here’s why you should try golf over other sports! Unlike many other sports, golf perfectly balances exercise, fresh air, and enjoyment. Keep reading to learn more!

Physical Exercise Lowers Anxiety & Depression

More and more research is coming out about how exercise can be used to treat and manage depression and lower anxiety levels.

That’s incredibly significant! No matter where you are on your mental health journey right now, even the more relaxed physical exercise of golf can give it a boost.

If you’re already taking meds for your mental health, incorporating exercise can boost the effects of the medication so much that you may even be able to lower your dosage.

On the other hand, if you aren’t on medication but you’re worried about your mental health, using exercise as a form of medication before choosing to go on chemical meds can help so much that you may never need to go on meds at all.

Scientists have found that exercise leads to an improved mood, enhanced executive functions, and lowered stress levels. It also releases endorphins, which help to stimulate good feelings and happy emotions!

And although golf isn’t the most strenuous of sports, you can get in close to 10,000 steps and burn up to 1,000 calories in a round! So it still offers all of these benefits.

Nature Can Boost Mood & Mental Health

One of the best things about golf—and one of the reasons we recommend it over all other sports—is that it allows you the opportunity to spend hours in nature while you’re playing the game.

Other sports are played on grassy fields. But golf courses are something else, and even on the plainest ones, you’re surrounded by natural beauty.

There are plenty of studies out there indicating that spending time in nature is highly beneficial for mental health. One particular study points to the fact that as little as 10 minutes a day in nature can have a positive impact on mental health!

And then there’s the fresh air and exposure to sunlight, both of which are also known to be beneficial to mental health. You’re really getting the full package when you’re on the golf course!

Of course, keep in mind that if you’re playing mostly on simulators, mini golf courses, or using training aids on the driving range, you won’t get quite the same benefits. But it’s still better than no activity at all!

More Exercise = Better Sleep

One of the most crucial things for good mental health is sleep. Sleep is when the body heals, the mind consolidates memories, and you get to rest from the stresses of the day.

The more exercise you get during the day, the better your sleep at night. And the better you sleep, the better your mental health. In fact, studies also show that getting less sleep (or worse sleep) can worsen mental health, so the importance of quality sleep is clear!

Sleep and exercise actually go quite a hand in hand. When you exercise more—ie. play a round of golf—you sleep better. And in turn, when you sleep better, your exercise is more effective.

So it makes sense that playing golf on a regular basis leads to improved sleep, better rest (physical and mental), and more of those happy chemicals pumping through your body!

Socializing Boosts Happiness

The last reason we give golf a great thumbs-up is that it’s an amazing way to socialize. While it’s tempting to keep to yourself and stay away from social interaction when you’re feeling mentally fragile, the evidence points to socialization being extremely good for mental health, whether with friends or family.

Playing a round of golf together is an excellent way to socialize! The golf course can be a place to simply enjoy each other’s company and have a bit of fun and laughter. Or, it can be a safe place to discuss feelings, fears, and the deeper intricacies of mental health.

This is where golf simulators are also a super idea. Just like old-school bowling alleys, many cities now have golf simulators you can book a round at with your friends! This is a great opportunity to get some light exercise (even if you aren’t walking, you’re swinging!), share some snacks, and have some fun together.


Whatever the state of your mental health, physical exercise can help. If you’re feeling unmotivated, you’ve lost your enjoyment for life, or you're stuck in a rut, getting your blood pumping and your muscles working can give you a much-needed boost.

And don’t think it can’t help if your mental troubles are more severe. Research has proven that exercise can significantly affect depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

You know why we chose golf. One thing we didn’t mention is how easy it is to start! You don’t need to go out and spend a fortune on fancy drivers and putters, join an expensive club, and spend 4 hours there each week.

Get a cheap set of clubs or rent some when you go play. You can play a round at a public club for an affordable fee. Or, hit the driving range instead. You can even limit your golf experiences to the mini golf course or the simulator, although you won’t get all of the same benefits!

Whichever you choose to do, golf is a low-impact, calorie-burning, muscle-building, blood-flowing, endorphin-stimulating, nature-experiencing game! It’s an excellent choice of physical activity if you want to boost your mental health in a fun, versatile, and outdoorsy way.

The Article contributed by Jordan Fuller

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