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Golf: a matter of life and death, health and happiness, or just Olympic medals?
  1. Roger Hawkes1,2,
  2. Omar Malik3,4,
  3. Andrew Murray5,6
  1. 1European Tour Performance Institute, Virginia Water, Surrey, UK
  2. 2Department of Sports Medicine, Sports Medicine Partners, Lichfield, UK
  3. 3Department of Neurology, Imperial College London, London, UK
  4. 4Golf Development Committee, The R&A, St Andrews, Fife, UK
  5. 5St Andrew's House Edinburgh, Scottish Government Sport and Physical Activity Policy Team, Edinburgh, UK
  6. 6Department of Sports Medicine, Scottish Institute of Sport, Stirling, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Roger Hawkes, European Tour Performance Institute, Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 4LX, UK; RAH{at}wkes.co.uk

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2016 Sees the reintroduction of golf as an Olympic sport with 60 men and 60 women competing for gold. Although few of the 55 million people1 who play golf in over 200 countries on around 32 000 courses worldwide will ever hit these heights, they are subject to many of the relationships and effects that this sport has on longevity, physical health and mental health.

A major new project supported by the World Golf Foundation will assess some of the issues that may be associated with playing, for example, musculoskeletal injuries and skin cancers, and the public health benefits of golf for those playing at any level. In particular, cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, musculoskeletal, accident-related, mental health and wellness effects as well as more accurately characterising golf's role as a physical activity, and the effects of utilising golf buggies versus walking the course, are priorities for study.

But what of the available evidence?

Early information indicates that golf …

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