PGA Professional Katie Dawkins on how golf can offer all manner of benefits.

There are the obvious benefits to golf, such as getting the step count up as well as your heart rate. Golf certainly keeps us active. But it’s the benefits to certain groups of people that I’m focusing on. Throughout my coaching career I’ve been lucky enough to give golf lessons to children with Autism. I’ve found this so rewarding as so much can be gained by an autistic person (no matter their age) in playing the game. Golf is such a repetitive sport, utilising a repetitive pre-shot routine and this is something that really strikes a chord with many players on the spectrum. It has a calming effect, you are in control of when you hit and you can develop in your own time at your own pace. Combine that with the great outdoors and vast space around the player and the chance to expand social confidence and golf really offers an autistic child for example a chance to develop and discover.

Golf can mean so much to a person, when struck with a disease as debilitating as Parkinson’s or an injury from military service for example many simply give up. Most would certainly not think of taking up a new sport but golf can really help Parkinson’s and rehabilitation thanks to the mobility and co-ordination skills learnt. Golf teaches sufferers to avoid falls thanks to improved balance.

Golf is such a repetitive sport, utilising a repetitive pre-shot routine and this is something that really strikes a chord with many players on the spectrum.

Adaptations can be made and PGA professionals can train in ways to help golfers with many varying disabilities to take up the game or continue participating in a sport that they love. Not just participating but actually competing thanks to charities such as OnCourse, this is the only UK-based military golf charity who help veterans rehabilitate through golf both physically and mentally as well as help many gain employment within the golf industry. I coach one of their beneficiaries and the work this charity does is literally life changing for so many who thought life as they knew it was over. It is all about customisation and creating a version of the game that still delivers so many physical and mental health benefits a well as a competitive and supportive environment.

That leads me on to starting to spread the word that golf really is whatever you want it to be. There are so many different versions. Whether you’ve been playing for years and compete weekly or if you just took it up during the pandemic and get huge satisfaction from that sweetly-struck shot. You’re a golfer no matter what version of the game you play. It’s interesting in itself that many people associate golf with 18 holes and retirement but I hear 'I wish I’d started playing sooner' almost on a daily basis. Learning to play the game with an understanding that you don’t have to play more than a few hours if hours available are limited, or that you’re still a golfer if you can challenge a friend to chipping balls into an upturned umbrella before enjoying a drink together in your back garden.

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Bite-sized networking events can be far more appealing to a busy business owner (regardless of gender) than a full day on the course. Women's business networking and golf is a fabulous mix. Strengthening women's presence in the world of business and in golf is a huge passion of mine. Get them learning transferable skills in self-management and confidence that they can then use in business. This is a big plus point. More companies should look towards golf lessons for their employees as an effective team build and a way of broadening their networking horizons and customer bases.

Golf is an incredible sport, it’s not a reactive game. You choose when you hit that round dimply thing. This makes it a tougher sport psychologically than so many others. Where a ball is perhaps served or bowled at you, you don’t have time to talk yourself out of succeeding. There’s a big old chunk of thinking time before you hit each golf shot. So golf will challenge the socks off you. It is also a very revealing game, you learn so much about yourself. Your ability to cope under pressure, to focus on the task in hand, how you react to failure, how you react to success, the list goes on. So many challenges are hurled at you. I think that’s why so many are surprised at just how much they get from it. Again, these are parallels that can be drawn with business and indeed life.

Golf is an incredible sport, it’s not a reactive game. You choose when you hit that round dimply thing.

Grief and golf is a subject that fascinates me and one close to my heart. When you lose someone you love often comfort is found in nature, being outdoors and under the sky, being among people who care and also having the option of just being alone if you need to be. Golf gives you such an amazing environment to connect with your grief and to both distract yourself and get lost on your thoughts. Grief can manifest itself in so many ways and you work through each day as it hits you. An empty golf course can sometimes be a good place for a meltdown if you’ve gone to seek headspace for a few holes alone.

Golf courses are often nestled within the most stunning scenery. You take in views, breathe in fresh air and walk around five miles. Your mental health and your step count can be well and truly nourished. Even when the weather is wild I find I come in and feel I’ve lived. The death of a dear one makes us so passionately aware of how precious life is and reminds us to make the most of every single day. Rain on your skin somehow magnifies that feeling of being alive and looking up at those clouds can also connect us with lost loved ones. It’s very cathartic at times. As with any journey through grief it is different for everyone so golf can be used in different ways to soothe and comfort. Or just smash the hell out of a bucket of balls and feel like you’ve let off some steam.


Golf is a massively sociable game. You develop a huge network of friends and many clubs feel like a big family unit. The Apres Golf side of things is always high up on my priority list when it comes to engaging new golfers. Who doesn’t love putting the world to rights and a chance to get to know new and often like-minded people? A decent cup of coffee or glass of Sauvignon is also a winner in my book. Groups who would usually meet in a room to talk through various topics affecting them may well find the green, green grass and blue, blue sky of the course is a better setting to help unlock tensions and vent spleens. It seems a great fit for so much and has a lot of adaptable elements.

Golf is a gift so let’s make sure it’s available in any form, anywhere and shout from the clubhouse about the benefits so many get from it.

If you hadn’t thought about taking golf then it’s worth looking into. It can offer so much to so many in a myriad different formats. You’ll soon find the right fit for you, and you’ll thank your lucky stars that golf is a part of your life. Enjoy your journey and you can play in a way that works for you. Sometimes a chat about how it could fit with you and your life can be the beginning of a beautiful and fulfilling journey.

About Katie Dawkins

Katie is an experienced club coach and she developed GardenGOLF during the COVID lockdown. She also freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. Katie, who is based as Hamptworth Golf Club, has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years and she is one of Golf Monthly’s Top 50 Coaches.