Putting Around? Take a Swing at This
Dreaming about living longer, culling stress and boosting self-confidence – and all in one hit? Forget reaching for the lotions, potions and pills, and go clubbing – golf clubbing that is. And, there’s no better time to take to the green than any time, say golf experts. Young, old, hip replacements, toddlers and Millennials, golf doesn’t pick and choose. And if fitness, fashion and formalities have been holding you back from giving it a swing, it’s time to rethink myths of old and drive all caution to the wind.
Break down the barriers
There’s no prerequisite for fitness when it comes to golf – it’s low stress and low-intensity – which makes for greater enjoyment whilst burning up a few calories.
“Golf can be played by people of all fitness levels – and any age too,” says Sue Falconer of Lakeview Golf and Country Club. “It’s probably one of the only sports that a family can play from the four-to-five-year old to the 90+ year old!”
Peter Spiers of Rotorua Golf Club, agrees. “Try it at two, any time close to that is great, the earlier you learn the easier it is,” he says. “Golf is unique in the sense you don’t have to be fit to play, however if you look at the world’s best players, they are 100% fit and strong! Golf is a metaphor for life – the fitter you are the more you will enjoy it.”
And regardless of what you start out with, ultimately it will improve your fitness long-term – physical and mental – says Felix Witte of Wairakei Resort Taupō.
“It’s a win-win: The swing action and walking keeps joints supple and agile, and getting out in the fresh air and sunshine, surrounded by greenery also does wonders for mental wellness.”
Lose an old train of thought
Just like any sport, golf is no stranger to misconceptions – myths of old and new that circulate and speculate. For example, golf’s a rich man’s game, you need a lot of time to play it, it’s all pomp and old people, you won’t find many women on the green.The only way to really understand it? Forget what you think you already know and get out there.
“Golf is affordable in New Zealand and an annual membership of around $1000 is cheap as chips – some golfers pay $500 per round!” says Peter.
“Golf’s a game for everyone in New Zealand – it doesn’t have to take a wealth of your time and you don’t have to be of a certain ilk.”
Felix agrees. “Golf was originally destined for the wealthy and male – the very name golf comes from the acronym Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden!” he says. “Times have changed drastically and golf has become accessible to ALL – especially in New Zealand. Take our course for example, we believe Wairakei Resort’s 9-hole is one of the best in the country. It’s just $15 a round for adults, and it’s also a public course with no membership or strict dress requirements.”
Bringing communities together is at the forefront for many clubs, says Sue. “We as a golf club are working on debunking the ‘exclusivity’ myth by engaging with our local communities, one initiative we are planning is an open doors wide day.”
Hitting the green – what’s the go?
If you’re a total newcomer to the golfing scene arming yourself with a few hints and tips doesn’t go amiss, alongside knowing what to wear and protocol to follow.
“Golf’s a game of knowledge, if you can find someone who has a good amount of experience to lean on, this is the best way forward,” advises Peter. “Learn from others what golf etiquette is – it’s an integral part of the game. When it comes to dress code my good friend is a prime example. He would say to his boys aged three, five and eight, ‘Okay time for golf’. And they would run into their rooms, change into clean pants, good shoes and a collared shirt, and off they would go. Moral of the story? Put your best foot forward, dress the part.”
Looking and behaving acceptably is key at all times, explains Sue. “Most courses require collared shirts, shoes not jandals or boots or bare feet. These rules have been relaxed a lot and leggings are acceptable for ladies,” she explains. “And when on the course be silent and still when people are playing their shot. Respect the course and the people you are playing with.”
Did you know…
Golfers live, on average, five years longer than non-golfers! Playing 18 holes of golf is roughly equivalent to 12,000 steps, burning 2,000 calories, 5 to 6km run and completing a 45-minute fitness class!Playing a round of golf has been proven to reduce stress levels and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Visit lovegolf.co.nz/health-benefits-of-golf to learn more.