We invite you to explore more than just golf at #getgolfing. Let’s spark conversations that last beyond 18 holes.
Nick, from Get Golfing sat down with Barney Dunn, a Child & Family Psychotherapist, to learn more about the possible mental health benefits to golf, in recognition of Children’s Mental Health week. Barney was a great sounding board. He is passionate about the wider benefits of sport and played golf as a junior. Barney recently lead a football-based group therapy project, Sport & Thought, at the Brent Centre for Young People. The project helps young people who are at risk of school exclusion find a safe space on the pitch. Sessions bring together group discussion and specific drills to help participants learn to talk about their feelings. We wanted to hear about some of the difficulties the children he works with face and better understand some of their needs.
Golf is an activity that promotes physical activity and tackles one key issue that’s been highlighted across our camps with children struggling with a variety of complex needs – inactivity. In our conversation, Barney explained how ‘physical activity is associated with better mental health outcomes across all age ranges, often reducing anxiety and helping combat depression.’
When thinking about golf in particular, Barney talked about how going through the ‘ups and downs of a round of golf’ with other young people could be strengthening. He also suggested that the act of slowing down, focusing on your form and taking a breath before each stroke could help build regulation skills associated with mindfulness. Barney added, ‘Having a clear beginning and end to each hole can also give a child a real sense of achievement. Playing in pairs allows children a good balance of tackling a challenge together, but also having time for themselves and for personal reflection.’