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.



This year has been another belter.  Jennie and I had our first baby Nina, who despite the occasional accident in the bath is a brilliant wee girl.  I have also done reasonably well in a few races, and Donnie Campbell and I completed the first run across the Namib desert.  This time last year, we had completed a run up the 10 highest mountains in Scotland in a day- another first.  From a work perspective I have worked as a leadership and management for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, a top team and a pleasure to work for.
Avoiding tarmac!
From now (August 2015) I have 3 priorities, the first of which is to spend a good amount of time with Jennie, Nina, family and friends.  Running wise, I’ll take part in Total Warrior- the mother of all obstacles courses, the Glencoe Marathon, and the Rannoch Marathon all in Scotland.  It is pretty likely I will race in Australia in December, before joining up with my friends from Sandbaggers to take on a huge adventure in Outer Mongolia in January 2016. We have hired 56 huskies for this trip, and will be joined by athletes from all over the world, details to follow.

From a work perspective, I will start a PhD, looking at physical activity for health and golf and health in particular. I am lucky to have outstanding supervisors, and I have just started getting my teeth into it.  I am also continuing to work for the European Tour Golf, the SportScotland Institute of Sport, and the Scottish Rugby Union, whilst if I can help with any illness of injury, then I work a Friday afternoon at FASIC, University of Edinburgh which hosts the Scottish Running, and Scottish Golf Clinics- and will be delighted to help if I can. We also have some top physiotherapists, sports massage, podiatrists and other folks that can help.
Scottish Running Clinic
I am delighted that my latest book “Running Your Best- Some Science and Medicine” has been so well received, with excellent reviews so far.  Thanks a tonne for all the kind emails and messages so far, and honest feedback very welcome via Lulu or Amazon also.  We have decided not to reprint my first book “Running Beyond Limits” and there are now only about 300 left with Amazon- so if you have not got a copy and want to then it may be worth snapping one up quickly!
Training in Edinburgh
I also have the pleasure of being involved with a few events, including the 2 hour marathon event tomorrow in Edinburgh and the Glasgow Trail Running festival in late September.  As ever, thanks a tonne to those that support me including friends, family, my coach Donnie Campbell, web guru Arnaud Le Marie and all my sponsors.  A special mention also to Ross Lawrie not only for running the 95 mile West Highland Way dressed as spiderman but producing my 2nd book through his company Purple Reign.
Merrell UK

Physical Education


17 October 2014
Below is some information from SportScotland about an event I am excited about being involved with on Monday.  Please follow the links and come along. John Ngugi and Euan Burton are absolutely top athletes and people with stories worth sharing.
‘Being your Best’ is the theme of an event being organised by the Fitness Assessment and Sports Injuries Clinic (FASIC), based at the University of Edinburgh on Monday (20 October). It’s a theme as applicable to school-aged children making their first steps in a sport to top Scottish athletes who already benefit from individually tailored programmes through the likes of the sportscotland institute of sport.

With John Ngugi and athletes in Kenya
With John Ngugi and athletes in Kenya

John Ngugi, 1988 Olympic 5000m gold medallist and 5 x World Champion is one of the three guest speakers on the evening.  Revered in his homeland of Kenya, Ngugi is regarded as one of the greatest middle distance runners of all time.  In what promises to be a fascinating talk, he will share his thoughts on ‘what it takes to win Olympic gold.’ The FASIC event is supporting the John Ngugi Foundation, an organisation that aims to help young athletes in Kenya.
From a Scottish perspective, keynote speakers will include Scottish judoka and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Euan Burton and Dr Andrew Murray.  The latter is an ultra-distance runner and a sport and exercise medicine consultant to the sportscotland institute of sport.
Speaking ahead of the event, John Ngugi commented: “What does it take to become an Olympic Champion?  Why have Kenyan runners won so many golds and broken so many records? My motto is train hard, fight easy and believe.  If you train hard you will be successful but belief is also vital to be your best. I look forward to sharing my insights and those from my country when I come to Scotland. I also look forward to hearing from experts at the sportscotland institute of sport and Edinburgh University and taking these ideas back to Kenya.  In particular, I am honoured to be opening the Scottish Running Clinic at the University.”
Success looks like this
Murray, who recently ran Scotland’s ten highest Munro’s in under 24 hours, has previously visited Kenya to gain insights to the factors that help the East African country produce so many world-class track middle and long distance athletes.
On Monday Murray will offer insights to how ‘science and medicine can improve performance’ while Burton will recall his experience of preparing for and competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Murray commented: “On Monday we’ll hear from two incredible athletes. John Ngugi, both physiologically and in terms of medals won, is amongst the greatest athletes the world has known. He was a real pioneer for Kenya, a country that in world terms remains the most successful nation in middle and long distance running.
“Euan Burton’s (2014) Commonwealth Games gold winning performance was one of the iconic moments of the summer. As a coach and part of the sportscotland institute of sport, he contributed to what is the single greatest and most concentrated production line of medals in Scottish Commonwealth Games history, with 93% of the judo athletes in Team Scotland winning medals. As an athlete and as part of the team behind the team his insights promise to be fascinating.”
Event information
The “Being Your Best” event will be held within the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, University of Edinburgh from 630pm-830pm on Monday 20 October.
Tickets for the event are £10 each and are available through the EventBrite site:
See also:
Notes to the editor
For interview requests with John Ngugi, in the first instance please contact: Malcolm Anderson – Mob: 07956098281 /
For comment from Dr Andrew Murray please contact Dr Murray directly on:
Issued on behalf of sportscotland and organised by 3×1 Public Relations, Tel: 0131 225 7700.
The event has been staged through help with FASIC University of Edinburgh, Running Across Borders, Purple Reign, the John Ngugi Foundation, Edinburgh Sports and Exercise Medicine Society, Merrell UK, Footworks, Judo Scotland and Sportscotland
Scottish Running Clinic