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Golf & Diabetes - Danish Case Study

Torben Kastrup Petersen -

30 Danish golf clubs, in collaboration with the Danish Diabetes Association, have launched beginners’ programs for people with diabetes. The purpose is to create interest among diabetics for golf as an effective and fun exercise form, with a lot of positive benefits for their health.   

A collaboration on health

In Denmark there are approximately 250,000 people with diabetes, and projections show that by 2030 there will be up to 430,000 with the disease. It is well known that regular exercise contributes to a better life for people with diabetes and is of great importance of how severe the disease develops, but unfortunately many diabetics have been physically passive over a long period of time and find it difficult to change lifestyle.

With this challenge in mind, the Danish Diabetes Association and the Danish Golf Associatio  initiated a partnership in 2018, with the ambition to introduce golf as a relevant form of exercise for people with diabetes. The idea was that golf is very suitable for diabetics, because, unlike many other sports, it has low physical barriers, meaning that it is something everyone can start playing, no matter how long they have been exercising. Golf is also a sport where you socialize a lot with your fellow players, which increases the chance of remaining active over a longer period.  

In 2018, 13 Danish golf clubs together with local branches of the Diabetes Association launched beginners’ programs especially for people with diabetes, and the feedback from the participants were so good that more golf clubs have chosen to follow their example since. This year, 30 Danish golf clubs launched “Golf & Diabetes-programs”, and the expectation is that many more will do so in the years to follow.  The ambition is that by 2021, 50 clubs will be part of the project.


Not a boring fitness club

As a result of these programs, many who would never think of themselves as potential golfers, now find themselves on golf courses all around the country. Per Andersen is one of these. He decided to fight his diabetes by becoming a "Golf & Diabetes" player, and the outcome has been a life-changer:

“It's something completely different from sitting on an exercise bike in a boring fitness club. You experience nature at the same time, and everything is so great out there: A deer comes by, you see a fox, and in the creek, there is a bunch of swans that have apparently gotten used to people, because they stay in the water. It's just nice!”

“Today I live a more active life than before, and I am also socializing more. And the latter is perhaps just as important as the exercise, because you become a happier person when being with others. My well-being is therefore much better, and when the soul is doing well, the body is likewise. So, I highly recommend everyone to get out on the golf course.”