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Stay-at-home golfers get creative to hone skills during lockdown

3.45pm 27th October 2020 - Coronavirus News

A research project has provided a fascinating insight into how golfers continued to train during the spring’s full Covid-19 lockdown – practising key skills such as chipping, putting and even full golf shots from the comfort of their own home.

With the COVID-19 pandemic initially resulting in the closure of golf courses, researchers wanted to understand what golf activities golfers were performing in their home environment.

An extensive survey of almost 1,300 golfers, carried out by Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland and York St John University, also discovered some of the more creative ways in which they enjoyed the sport with some turning to virtual reality videogames.

Many golfers engaged in more sedentary activities, such as watching lessons on YouTube, listening to golf podcasts and watching the sport on TV – with Sky Sports reporting its highest ever viewing figures when the European Tour returned in June.

Sales of golf practice nets and sythetic putting surfaces have soared during the pandemic

Dr Graeme Sorbie, from Abertay University’s Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences, said: “During the early months of this pandemic sport and other recreational activities were suspended, creating a potential decline in physical activity which in turn can have a detrimental impact on physical and mental wellbeing.

“We surveyed golfers from nine different countries over an eight-day period to gain an insight into how golfers were coping with this unprecedented situation, and the resulting dataset, which we are making freely available, was very interesting.  The information could be used to enable future reports providing insight into physical and sedentary activities conducted during the quarantine restrictions from across a wide range of sports.” 

Dr Graham Sorbie

Dr Alexander Beaumont, from York St John University’s School of Science, Technology & Health said: “The dataset could also be used to provide specific golf-related recommendations if there was to be another move towards quarantine restrictions during the current pandemic, or even future pandemics.

Dr Matthew Wade, Head of Research at ukactive, said: “We hope this dataset can help golf associations, organisations, clubs and researchers understand further the links between golf and health, as we have seen through our recent research. As a nation, we must continue to show evidence of the value of sport and physical activity for our physical and mental wellbeing, something we celebrated during last month’s Great British Week of Sport.”

The data report is published in the journal Frontiers as part of a special research topic on Sports and Active Living during the COVID-19 Pandemic and can be found here.

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