Golf on prescription

Tuesday 7 February 2023

A pioneering health initiative has been piloted in Fife with golf  ‘prescribed’ for individuals to encourage a more active lifestyle.

The R&A and the University of St Andrews School of Medicine have collaborated with partner organisations to develop ‘Golf for Health’ – a pilot social prescribing project that aims to connect eligible primary care patients with appropriate golf activities in Fife.

Researchers in the School have developed a model in partnership with The R&A, Fife Golf Trust, NHS Fife, Scottish Golf, PGA Scotland, the European Tour Group and Ladies European Tour to enable primary care professionals and community link workers to prescribe golf for eligible patients. Respected medical professional Dr Andrew Murray has also been involved.

GP practices in Fife were invited to take part in the pilot study, with participating practices linked with, initially, four local golf clubs offering a six-to-eight week, free-of-charge programme. The clubs running the programme are Cluny Clays, Dunfermline, Dunnikier Park and Elmwood.

Around 30 participants were involved last year with more programmes planned for this spring.

Frank Sullivan, Professor of Primary Care Medicine and Medical School Director of Research at the University of St Andrews, leads a team of expert academics in the School of Medicine to support the activity.

“This pilot initiative has been carefully designed to offer an accessible and social introduction to golf and to provide long-term health and wellbeing benefits for patients across Fife,” said Professor Sullivan.

“Our focus on developing connection pathways that are acceptable and feasible to implement for all involved is crucial. The most effective intervention in the world will not achieve its intended outcomes if patients are not connected with it.”

Read the full story on the University news  site

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