Former Olympian turned sports scientist Professor Greg Whyte OBE is backing England Golf’s new initiative to get people away from their screens and on to the golf course.

The Switch Off with Golf campaign is all about the mental health benefits of surrendering whatever technological device you’ve got your head buried in and using outdoor exercise to break up the everyday stresses of life.

Professor Whyte has identified a strong correlation between the amount of time adults dedicate to ‘screen time’ and the level of anxiety that they experience and believes that golf can be an extremely effective method to combat stress. 

“Screen time is directly creating stress for us now because we live in an on-demand culture where people send us things and they expect an instantaneous response and what that does is drive up stress,” he said. 

“We know that 85% of adults experience stress on a regular basis and over two thirds of those actually feel overwhelmed by that stress.

“Physical activity is an incredibly potent stimulus for a positive lifestyle change because it impacts all areas of health simultaneously by improving physical, mental and social health.

“Golf is a fabulous sport because it is accessible across the age span, from children right up to geriatrics, and it is a sport that some people choose to play lifelong.

“The game means that we spend time with our friends and I think for men that is increasingly important because they are incredibly bad at talking and sharing their feelings.

“The golf course facilitates talking and actually enables conversations to take place making it a very important way to help tackle stress and anxiety, in men.

“The other brilliant thing about golf is that we do it outdoors and so all of those benefits that we get from taking exercise are increased, simply by doing it outside.

England Golf has launched this campaign to coincide with Stress Awareness Month with the ambition of opening the wider conversation of outdoor exercise as a coping strategy.

Golf has increasingly become a more accessible sport and Professor Whyte is adamant that making the most of the many ways to enjoy the sport is key to a happy and healthy life away from the screens. 

“The ways to play golf now are incredibly different and we can choose to play a 9-hole game, a par 3, or just head to the driving ranges and putting greens if we haven’t got time to do that. 

“For me personally there is nothing better than stepping onto the driving range and smashing a ball as hard as I can and the great thing about that is that it doesn’t matter where it goes. 

“We don’t need to overthink this, golf is a fantastic stress reliever in whatever way you chose to play it.

“You can really tailor the game to suit your needs so on a day where you want to play all day then go and play 18 holes but if you’ve just got 15 minutes and want to destress, you can head onto the range.”