Compared to its sporting brethren, golf is not considered a hazardous game. One has to be on the lookout for errant tee shots, sure, or sun exposure. But it beats the brutality of football and boxing, or having a cricket ball fired at your head.
At least, that was the consensus.
According to Golf Support, which has analysed several reports on sports-related injuries, golf is more dangerous than contact sports like rugby and hockey. A 2016 paper from the American National Health Statistics Report, which investigated more than 8.6 million reported recreational injuries, states that golf – which was grouped with tennis, badminton and bowling – had a rate of 1.8 injuries for every 1,000 persons. Though that was behind figures from general exercise (5.3), basketball (3.3) and football (3.1), it was still a higher percentage than rugby and hockey (1.5), baseball (1.6) and, oddly enough, combative sports (1.2).
Additionally, the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that 15.8 to 40.9 percent of amateur golfers suffer an injury on an annual basis. Lower back ailments (15.2 to 34 percent) are the main culprits.
Now, before you take your child out of golf lessons in favour of the rugby pitch, take these findings with a grain of salt. Golf is paired with several other sports – meaning its singular injury rate could be a fraction of football and ice hockey. Moreover, far be it from us to call shenanigans on a journal of medicine… but the BJSM’s injury range for annual professional golf injuries is 31 to 90 percent. That’s, um, a pretty big window.
Of course, as I write this, I’m rubbing my elbow, sore from a range session that occurred five days ago, so maybe we’re not the ones to be casting aspersions.