Golf Health running Running Challenges


What a fantastic week!  Paul Dunstan and I took on a challenge to run over a marathon a day, and play a game of golf each day, while running London to Paris, arriving at Le National- the venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup.
We accumulated 333km, and approximately 380,000 steps each, ate about 35000 calories each, and even placed second in the British Speedgolf Open pairs competititon.
Our first day, we met the founder of Golf in Society, Anthony Blackburn. The inspirational stories he shared of the difference physical activity, in this case golf , is making to so many lives made myself and Paul even more determined to complete the Ryder Cup Run.  After some golf on the Driving Range, and the West Course at Wentworth (awesome!), we ran south from European Tour headquarters. As well as highlighting the work of Golf in Society (donations are extremely welcome here ) we would also promote the value of exercise for health, and in particular the World Golf Foundation’s Golf and Health project which I’m helping with for my PhD

The first day I was a physical wreck, partly due to a lack of sleep the 2 previous nights, and perhaps also the after effects of viral meningitis I’d contracted 3 weeks prior. Running with Paul and his girlfriend Lenka, I just battled through.
Day two say the British Speedgolf Open.  Speedgolf is definitely a sport you should try if you like either running or golf. We love both, and particularly enjoyed Paul’s shot to the 18th belting the ball out of a puddle to 6 feet, and soaking himself at the same time.

Having run to the ferry in sunshine, we got a bit of a soaking in France for the first day. However some wildgolf made up for it, and after a few days golf and running, we arrived in Paris, running past the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and the Palace of Versailles. Paul had battled with sore knees for the last three days but the sights and some fine French food took our mind of it.

Arriving at Le Golf National’s the bunting was out, and a game on the famous course  awaited.  It’s the venue for the next Ryder Cup in 2018, we arrived a year ahead of time!
I’d like to say a few thanks- big apologies to anyone I’ve missed out.
Golf In Society are pioneering dementia friendly golf, aimed at improving the lives of people living with dementia by introducing/ reacquainting them to golf. Their messages of support from the participants/ coaches kept us going
To everyone for their support, kind messages and donations.
To Lenka and Joe for leading all the logistics, Dean for help driving, Yannick, Jimmy and Katinka for the welcome and support in France. Lenka also made a great website
To Merrell for providing us with all running kit. Top class as ever, the only blister I got was on my hand from playing golf.
To Wentworth, Le Golf National and the European Tour and its players, and Stance UK, and Freemans  for supporting the effort.
And to Paul who was consistently excellent company and is still a mile better than me at golf.

Golf Health sponsors


This time last week, I was in hospital hooked up to a drip.  A lumbar puncture had shown there were either bacteria or viruses in the membranes that line my brain and spinal canal.  I had a high fever, a massive headache, and quite a stiff neck and back.  Fortunately I received outstanding care from the team in A+E, in medical receiving, and a clear diagnosis of Enterovirus Meningitis was made.
A week on, my headache is a little more than a tickle, and I feel profoundly tired, but am getting a tonne better each day.  I’m fully back to work, and have the energy to do normal stuff with my family and kids. However I will need to get better fast to take on the Ryder Cup Run, with over a marathon a day, and a lot of golf in less than 3 weeks.

My good friend Paul Dunstan and I will team up to run from Wentworth Club, England – the home of Ryder Cup Europe – to the host venue of The 2018 Ryder Cup- Le Golf National in France while taking on various golfing challenges each day, including the British Speedgolf Open, GolfSixes, and a final round of 18 holes at Le Golf National’s famous course upon reaching their final destination.
We’ll be doing this to raise money and awareness for “Golf In Society” , enabling people with dementia and other medical conditions to continue to play the game, and also to promote the value of exercise in the great outdoors.  Now I’m over the worst of the meningitis, I’ll lace up the Merrell’s and get out there and train.  Hopefully I can be fit in time.
I also wanted to say thanks a tonne for the wonderful messages of love and support for Jennie, Nina, baby Fran and I while I was in hospital.  Each one is hugely appreciated.
If you are reading this, and have got a few quid you can share, to support the run, and Golf in Society, we’d be incredibly grateful, the link is below- and feel free to share the great work they are doing



A prevailing interest of mine has always been promoting exercise for health.  Partly in an effort to get better at conducting research, and partly out of curiosity I decided to do a PhD looking at golf and health.
The first part of this was to see what was out there- by doing a scoping review.  We found 5000 odd papers that were vaguely relevant and 301 that were very relevant. We have pulled this information together, and have been fortunate to secure publication in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the number 1 ranked sports science and sports medicine journal worldwide.
Links to our findings are shown in the infographic below, with the original publications here

The bottom line is that as with physical activitiy in general, the best evidence we have highlights golf is good for health, and can be played across the lifespan.  There are physical health, wellness, and likely longevity benefits.
The papers are part of the Golf and Health project with the World Golf Foundation.  We will publish results whether they are good, bad or indifferent.  So far over 100 press articles have featured the scoping review, while we are honoured to have player ambassadors that have won over 30 major titles, and 350 overall titles between them, including Gary Player, Annika Sorenstam, Padraig Harrington, Brooke Henderson, Zach Johnson, SO Yeon Ryu, Ryann O’Toole and Aaron Baddeley.

Infographic.  Golf and Health.
Infographic. Golf and Health.

This information, and much more is being curated into a website  – please do check it out.
I am learning about research every day.  The expertise from my supervisors Prof Nanette Mutrie, Liz Grant, Paul Kelly, and Roger Hawkes has been absolutely superb, while Aston Ward, Steve Mona, Steffan Griffen and our fantastic ambassadors are doing a terrific job of sharing findings widely- in fact so good that a UK parliament early day motion was passed, welcoming the research.St Andrews.  The home of golf.