Social wellness is developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.
The social aspect of golf is well-renowned—providing individuals with an opportunity to spend time with friends in great surroundings. Golf has been shown to enhance interaction between different generations, and it has been proven to provide opportunities to strengthen social connections.
As such, it’s no surprise that golf is considered a very “holistic” sport and that it is played by individuals of all ages! Golf is known to boost self-identity and social connections. Golf provides an opportunity to interact and connect with people of all ages. Recent research finds that “golf provides health-enhancing physical activity to persons of all ages and is associated with physical and mental health benefits.” Based on these findings, playing golf on outdoor golf courses appears positively related to a sense of belonging, enjoyment, and well-being. Also, with the reopening of golf courses, life satisfaction improved, highlighting the beneficial impact that outdoor golf can impart.
Intersection with Other Dimensions of Wellness
It’s clear that golf intersects with the other dimensions of wellness; spending time outdoors (environmental), taking lessons (intellectual), having a good attitude (emotional), walking the course (physical/spiritual), and playing in charity tournaments (financial/social). For many, the networking aspects of golf improves one’s occupational and financial dimensions of wellness.
My Passion for Golf
It started way back when…when I was the only girl in my group of friends growing up who played golf. I never thought much of it, as it was a family activity for the summertime to play public courses throughout the Jersey Shore. This theme continued through college when my family moved from New Jersey to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—widely considered the golf hot spot of the world! Over the years, golf has given me many opportunities to connect with people, especially women. That social aspect is not something I really thought about much until writing this blog. I’ve enjoyed the solitude of golf as I often play nine holes by myself after work or on weekends.
The most gratifying is playing in charity tournaments and being involved in the First Tee organization for youth so I can give back to my community through golf. What’s next for me is joining a 9-Holers league for senior ladies this fall. I am scared to join this group because they are typically so good. But I’ll give it a shot! I know they’ll make me feel welcome and connected and become a good support system.
Where to Start? 10 Tips for Women When it Comes to Trying Out Golf
- Find a friend or group of friends (foursome) you can learn with and be “you” around them. You can come like yourself! Wear what you want. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself. Create your group! Build relationships that can help you in many areas of your life.
- Find a public golf course and a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) professional. Take some lessons. Be patient! Golf is meant to be a fun game. It can be grueling and annoying to be too competitive when starting out. Just go out there and have a good time.
- Get on a golf course. Don’t worry about being at a certain level. Keep learning and trying to get better. You can have a competitive spirit later.
- Enjoy the good shots you hit and learn from the ones that you don’t hit well. Don’t pay too much attention to the bad shots. Even the pros don’t hit 68 perfect shots.
- Don’t put any expectations on yourself. Don’t feel like you must play 18 holes. It’s OK to pick up your ball after hitting it twice. You are a beginner, and people will be accepting.
- Don’t be intimidated. Remember, you are out there creating a bond with a group of friends and doing it together (not unlike other activities). You can learn about etiquette and pace of play later.
- Just have fun and smile out there. Others will not remember your score, but they’ll remember your attitude—were you a pleasure to be around?
- Be intentional about having a good time. Don’t be too results orientated.
- Don’t put so much pressure on yourself—you’ll probably whiff. That’s OK.
- Outdoor golf is COVID-friendly. It is safe and good exercise. Golf is socially distanced but allows you to be social, too!
- Golf and Health
- GolfLink: Find public courses in your area
- Find an LPGA Pro
- Black Girls Golf (based in Atlanta, Georgia, but with members across the country)
- A Perfect Swing (Charlotte, North Carolina)
- The First Tee (National with local chapters; geared towards youth)