'Golf on prescription' pilot launched in Fife

Home > News > 'Golf on prescription' pilot launched in Fife
Health initiative has been piloted to encourage a more active lifestyle
Posted on
January 20, 2023
The Editorial Team in
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

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.

Golf on prescription
Partner organisations have come together to work on 'Golf for Health' in Fife. From left to right:
Karin Sharp, Chief Operating Officer, Scottish Golf
Paul Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Fife Golf Trust
Alasdair McDonald, PGA Professional, Dunnikier Park GC
Gregor MacDonald, PGA Professional, Cluny Clays GC
Lynsey Brown, Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of St Andrews
Kevin Barker, Director – Golf Development at The R&A. Credit: The R&A

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.

With the region staging The 150th Open in St Andrews last July, the initiative has been rolled out over recent months by golf clubs through healthcare professionals to allow patients to experience the widespread physical, mental and social benefits that the sport offers.

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 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.”

Linda Duncan, one of the participants at Cluny, said, “Golf has become something for me. It’s helped me get out in the fresh air and meet other people. The health benefits for me have been ten, 20, 30-fold.”

The R&A has committed funding to the ‘Golf for Health’ project to support research at the University and the delivery of pilot golf packages by golf partners. The project has also been supported by founding partner ISPS Handa through their work with the University.


Read also: Modifications for golfers with disabilities among R&A rule changes for 2023


Physical inactivity is associated with one in six deaths in the UK and costs the nation’s economy £7.4 billion per year. Inactivity levels in the UK increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, with participation in golf known to increase physical activity levels and improve physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Once pilot testing of the model has taken place in Fife, the findings will be evaluated and assessed for the feasibility of a larger-scale roll-out across Scotland and the UK.

Kevin Barker, Director of Golf Development – The R&A, added, “The R&A is actively promoting the health benefits of golf to encourage more people into the sport. We see social prescription as a great way for golf to contribute to the health of communities and to provide people with opportunities to enjoy playing the sport throughout their lifetime.”

In recent years, The R&A has strived to communicate golf’s health benefits to a global audience and underline the role the sport plays in health and social wellbeing.

Research has revealed that, on average, golfers live five years longer than non-golfers while golf, as a physical activity, can help prevent and treat 40 major chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, breast and colon cancer, depression and dementia.

For more information on ‘Golf for Health’, please email eagle@st-andrews.ac.uk

The Editorial Team Avatar

About The Editorial Team

The editorial team at Golf Today strives to provide readers with captivating content that celebrates the rich heritage and exciting developments in the world of golf. Their collective expertise and dedication ensure that Golf Today remains a premier destination for golf enthusiasts seeking the latest news, insightful analysis, and engaging stories from the world of golf.

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read Next

DP World Tour Rankings

DP World Tour Rankings 23/2024

Week 23 - 19/05/2024
Xander Schauffele holds the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the US PGA Championship at Valhalla

"X" factor earns Wannamaker

M. James Ward outlines how Xander Schauffele secured the PGA Championship title with a gusty final round performance
Scottie Scheffler carded a closing 65 in the US PGA Championship

Scottie Scheffler ‘running on fumes’ after strong finish

Scheffler carded a closing 65 at Valhalla two days after being arrested while driving to the course.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram