If you are a golfer you won’t need convincing of the benefits of golf in retirement. If you are not, you may have an image of the game that my grandson described as “officially the most boring game in the world”.
This post is about explaining the many advantages that golf has as a retirement activity. If is persuades a few waverers to head off to their local course for a try out, my work here is done.
Gender and golf
Golf in retirement
Retirement can be a lonely time – removed from the social contact of work, it takes an effort to get out of the house, make new friends and spend some time with them. Retirees need a hobby, something to fill the waking hours, and ideally an activity that combines social connection with fitness.
There are several options – Bridge Clubs, U3A, Men In Sheds, Choirs – all perfectly acceptable ways to make new friends and pleasurable activities I am sure. But not of them add to a senior’s fitness level, and it’s important to have some physical activity in a retirement lifestyle.
On the other hand we have sports like tennis, athletics, bowls (I am assuming that the retiree has left the worlds of soccer, rugby, squash etc behind in the “too strenuous over 50” department). The issue with all of these active sports is that they certainly raise the heart rate, but there comes a time when you have to hang up those rackets too.
Finally – swimming, athletics etc. Again acceptable activities and possible to fit into an active lifestyle. But none of these ticks the sociability boxes. Hill walking with a group might work – but frankly what’s the point?
So to golf. The greatest benefit in retirement is the sport’s biggest weakness in working life – time. A round can easily take 4 hours or so, plus post round drinks and travel to and from the course. You can write off the day effectively, a luxury that a family man cannot often afford.
But in retirement, a great way to fill time. Let’s look at those particular benefits:
Sociability – men don’t talk. That’s true, always has been. Men bottle up their emotions, which is not good for mental health. The ability to have conversations with other men in a social situation is rare, since the demise of the pub. Put men together for a few hours on a golf course – good conversations about health, family, holidays, football are guaranteed. Not politics though, never politics.
But let’s not forget the benefits of blessed isolation. There are few better sites than a golf course on a beautiful sunny day – peace, tranquility, no stress. Aside from the 2 foot curler that awaits on the green.
Fitness – golf will not raise the heart rate much, so other forms of exercise are necessary for that. But it will deliver several hours of walking, some of it hill walking, and that is a good non-impact exercise. Repeat it a few times a week and the benefits multiply.
Competition – there are few sports that allow the 70 year old to compete on an equal footing with a teenager, or the club champion. Or even Tiger Woods on a good day – because the handicap system is a great leveller and creates a competitive edge. Even in later years there is a deal of satisfaction is beating a younger man, with cunning, guile, luck and a decent handicap allowance.
Mental stretch – the brain needs exercise too, so calculating scores, handicaps, points gained, scorecard totals are all good mental stimulation. Plus the effort in trying to improve, new techniques, round analysis – all good for the cerebral cortex.
Mark Twain it was who offered the quote that “Golf is a good walk spoiled”. Naturally, that gets no truck here – I prefer “Golf – a walk with a point”. So head off to your local course, inquire about their senior rates – they will be delighted to see you I promise.