Sport for Confidence CIC has teamed up with Golf In Society to produce a free-to-access guide showcasing how golf can be adapted to deliver life changingly positive occupational outcomes for those involved. 
Aimed at health and social care professionals, the guide demonstrates golf’s therapeutic potential, highlighting, when positively and pro-actively delivered, supported, and adapted, golf can deliver hugely positive holistic health and wellbeing outcomes for people who may historically have experienced barriers to participating in physical activity and accessing community spaces. 
“This Guide is the result of extensive collaboration, evaluations, and profound insight from people with lived experience. Cultivated over numerous years, the guide draws upon Golf in Society's experience in facilitating golf sessions for individuals navigating cognitive decline, coupled with Sport for Confidence's expertise employing occupational therapists alongside sports coaches who use physical activity as a preventative tool to promote good health and wellbeing” explains Liz Fletcher, Occupational Therapist and System Partner Lead, Sport for Confidence. 
In 2023, Sport For Confidence partnered with Golf in Society to deliver a year-long program exploring how golfing interventions, delivered by occupational therapists and physiotherapists, can improve health and strength in those who are frail and living with dementia. Funded through the UK Research and Innovations’ (UKRI) Scaling Social Ventures competition, this program led to a 12-week research project delivered in collaboration with the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam and funded through the Healthy Aging Challenge fund, accessed via Innovate UK. 
The research identified multiple, encouraging benefits for caregivers and participants, adding weight to Sport for Confidence’s own evidence of the huge range of holistic benefits physical activity can deliver to those living with disabilities and long-term health conditions, inspiring the creation of the Therapeutic Value of Golf guide. 
Liz continues: “This guide is a true collaborative process involving both online and in-person workshops. Occupational therapists and physiotherapists involved in the year-long program collaborated with program participants, other healthcare professionals, students and impassioned healthcare lecturers, all of whom share a profound commitment to recognising and harnessing the therapeutic benefits of physical activity. 
“The perspectives of various groups were interwoven into The Guide to create a narrative which compliments the evidence base explored throughout, highlighting how golf should be considered as a highly adaptable sport for people of all ages who may experience barriers to participating in physical activity and accessing community environments.” 
Intended to provide practitioners with a pragmatic and research informed approach, The Guide emphasises the therapeutic potential of golf. This includes addressing broader issues that arise when connecting sports with health, such as overcoming stigmatisation in sports and cultivating a sense of belonging within communities and public environments that may have been perceived as inaccessible in the past. 
The Therapeutic Value of Golf guide is fully supported by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. 
Lauren Walker, Professional Advisor, Royal College of Occupational Therapists, says: “It’s great to see this new guide from Sport for Confidence and Golf in Society, and we’re really pleased to endorse it. Sport for Confidence has a fantastic track record using occupational therapy principles to create resources that support people of all backgrounds to take part in the sports and activities they enjoy. I’m certain this guide will help health, care and leisure professionals to take a proactive, inclusive approach to help people with disabilities and long-term health conditions access the therapeutic benefits of golf.” 
Golf in Society is spearheaded by Founder and CEO, Anthony Blackburn. Anthony explains: “Having witnessed first-hand the incredibly positive impact golf and community can have on older adults, Golf in Society is on a mission to re-purpose golf clubs into community health hubs focused on preventing ill health. The production of this guide is an evidence-based reference resource for any health professionals keen to use golf as the foundation of their care and treatment plans.” 
Using a unique Direct Social Value method, Golf in Society has evidenced that for every £1 invested in its golf intervention program, £16.46 in social value is delivered. Anthony continues: “Through my work I have become absolutely convinced that the solution to the nation’s growing health crisis and widening heath inequality is the engagement of community sports clubs as health prevention and support facilities. We need to dispel the myth that health interventions need to take place in a clinical setting. 
“There is more and more evidence emerging, through our work, the work of Sport for Confidence and the work of many other organisations around the country, that if physical activity is delivered, adapted and supported in the right way, in the right environment it can play a significant role in improving population health. The Therapeutic Value of Golf Guide has been developed to support any health or social professional keen to unleash the latent potential of golf as a population health driver.” 
The Guide is also backed by Sport England and is being delivered as part of Sport for Confidence’s broader role as valued and trusted expert partner. Speaking about the guide, Esther Jones, Senior Manager, Sport England, adds: “Sport England believes that everyone has the right to be included in sport and physical activity. We know that being active can bring so many benefits to everyday life. However, results from our recent Active Lives survey show that stubborn inequalities remain, and activity is less common for adults with a disability or long-term health conditions. 
We are aware that healthcare professionals remain a preferred source of advice about being active for disabled adults and can play an important role in helping someone experience activity and remain active as part of their daily lives. 
It is excellent to see a resource has been developed that supports these professionals to engage disabled people and those with long term health conditions into golf activity, enabling access to the benefits of being active, and being part of their local community. 
As part of our strategy ‘Uniting the Movement’, we are committed to tackling inequalities, and are proud to work with specialist partners such as Sport for Confidence to help us to reduce inactivity and increase physical activity.” 
To download a free copy of the Therapeutic Value of Golf Guide click here 
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