Page 28 - GBC Eng winter 2021
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  This has never been more important than it is now, when the world is trying to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and its crushing impact on physical and mental health.
A more recent R&A study, “Post COVID Opportunity,” found that 36% of respondents said they experienced some negative impact on their mental health as a result of the pandemic. Of these, 83% identified that playing golf had a positive impact on their mental health. 31% said they had increased feelings of loneliness and isolation as a result of the pandemic. Of these, 79% said playing golf had a positive impact. Those feelings are not limited to any one demographic.
In May, during Mental Health Week, a survey by the Canadian Mental Health Association and the University of British Columbia found that 77% of adult respondents reported feeling negative emotions as a result of the pandemic.
In a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, during the province’s ill-advised and illogical lockdown of outdoor activities, the Canadian Pediatric Association said: “We cannot overstate the extent of the mental health crisis facing our children and youth. 70% of Ontario school-aged children reported
deterioration in their mental health. Social isolation is by far the biggest predictor of poor mental health for children.”
Is playing golf a panacea for all that ails us, mentally and physically? Of course not, but there are undeniable benefits.
Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood is a psychologist who has worked with many athletes, including the Team Canada men’s golf squad. She is also the chair of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association.
“The pandemic turned our lives upside-down. We lost a lot: a sense of control, of normalcy, routine, contact with family and friends, work colleagues. Golf gives us some of that back. We are in control for a change. We get away from the bad news, social media. We get outside, we reconnect with others in a social setting, in nature. That sense of connection, of community, that we are part of something, is incredibly important at the best of times.
“Another wonderful thing is that golf is a perfect setting for players of any age to golf together, whether that’s mom and dad and the kids and maybe even grandma and grandpa or with someone you meet for the first time on the first tee. It is a game that brings us all together and that is vital for good mental health.”
“The pandemic turned our lives upside-down. We lost a lot: a sense
of control, of normalcy, routine, contact with family and friends, work colleagues. Golf gives us some of that back.”
In a Toronto Sun column titled, “People need golf now more than ever,” golf writer Jon McCarthy talks about sneaking in a quick round before Ford shut things down once again in late April.
“One of the beauties of golf is that it’s full of breezy conversation. There’s lots to talk about but rarely is a serious topic broached. I’ll come home from a round with friends and my wife will ask what we talked about. The honest answer is, well, nothing. And it’s wonderful.
“To partake in this, a golfer doesn’t have to belong to a club or have a regular foursome. Once you get to a course, there will be people to talk to, people to share the day with, even if you show up alone. The golf course is a place where strangers can become friends for a day.
“Now more than ever, people need that.”
Editor’s Note: Golf may not be the magical cure for all that troubles us during these complicated and stressful times, but the positive impacts of golf on mental health are undeniable and more relevant now than ever before. Please consider using this important message in your future marketing and communication efforts to your golfers.
Golf Business Canada
28 Golf Business Canada

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