According to Farahmand, et al., “Golf: a game of life and death – reduced mortality in Swedish golf players” (Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports 19 : 419–24), after accounting for socioeconomic variables, regular golfers had a 40% lower mortality rate than non-golfers, which translates to about 5 extra years. Skilled players also had lower mortality rates than the hackers:
We noted that the mortality is the lowest among the
most skilled players, i.e., among those with the lowest
handicap, which suggests that the level of intensity of
the game plays a role. This in turn indicates that the
reduced mortality, at least partly, is indeed due to the
playing of golf rather than to bias. The observation that
the mortality reduction is weaker in men with a long
duration of golf club membership would be consistent
with the game being played less intensely among
veteran golfers and with a positive health effect that
tapers off if the physical activity is reduced or discontinued. . .
While we cannot conclude with certainty that all the
40% decreased mortality rates that we observe in the
golf cohort are explained by the physical activity associated
with playing golf, we conclude that most likely
this is part of the explanation. To put the observed
mortality reduction in context, it may be noted that a
40% reduction of mortality rates corresponds to an
increase in life expectancy of about 5 years.
I’m a 2.6 handicapper, so I’ve got a little stoppage time coming to me. I guess my wife will have to back off about how much golf costs, too.