Playing golf has physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.
Pooling data from 5,000 studies it found the sport is likely to boost cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health - a range of factors linked to the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
‘Golfers typically burn a minimum of 500 calories over 18 holes, walking four to eight miles.’
Advertisement>The findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, show playing golf could also help patients with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, bowel and breast cancer and stroke.
The physical benefits of the game increase with age with balance and muscle endurance in older people improved by playing the sport.
A regular round can help players meet and exceed minimum government recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity - at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week.
The study found that golfers typically burn a minimum of 500 calories over 18 holes, walking four to eight miles. Those using an electric golf cart typically chalk up four miles.
Increased exposure to sunshine and fresh air were found to be additional benefits.
The physical aspects of golf could also help reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and Alzheimer's disease, said the researchers.
Dr Andrew Murray, of the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at Edinburgh University, said: "We know the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.
"Evidence suggests golfers live longer than non-golfers, enjoying improvements in cholesterol levels, body composition, wellness, self-esteem and self-worth. Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages."