Survey Says: Golfers Live Longer

The death rate for golfers is 40 percent lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status, according to a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

This equates to a five-year increase in life expectancy said the scientists, led by Anders Ahlbom and Bahman Farahmand at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Golfers with a low handicap are the best protected, they noted.

"A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours, walking at a fast pace for about four miles, something which is known to be good for health,'' said Ahlbom. "People play golf into old age, and there are also positive social and psychological aspects to the game that can be of help.''

The study was based on data from 300,000 Swedish golfers. Other factors, such as a generally healthy lifestyle, may help explain the lower death rate seen among golfers, the scientists said. It is still likely that playing the game has a significant impact in itself on health, Ahlbom and Farahmand said.

The effect on the death rate was greater for golfers from so-called blue-collar professions than for those from white-collar jobs, the researchers found. The lowest rates of mortality were found in the group of players with the lowest handicap.

The above report originally appeared in Divot Mix, an e-publication of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (