To develop evidence-based, safe, and effective golf training programs for seniors in order to expand golf participation among older adults and under-represented groups—for example, veterans and persons with disability.


Position Statement

Golf participation is a comprehensive, multimodal activity intervention for the improvement of overall fitness and the maintenance of functional independence in older adults. Regular participation is likely to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, power production, flexibility, balance, cognitive function, and overall quality of life in seniors.

Senior golfer in lab 

Why This Research is Important

Aging is associated with decreased cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, muscular strength, endurance, power, reaction time, balance, mobility and cognition. These physiological changes increase the risk of falls, limit performance of activities of daily living and reduce life quality. In order to maintain functional independence across the lifespan, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that older adults regularly engage in a combination of cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and balance activities.

Golf is a recreational activity that includes regular walking over uneven terrain interspersed between high power golf swings, precise putts and various changes in body position. In older adults, this walking is of moderate to high intensity and thus promotes cardiovascular health. The golf swing is a high speed yet precise movement which requires a bilateral weight shift, the coordination of multiple muscle groups, rotation of the head and trunk, and control of momentum; whereas the putt requires the golfer to maintain a still position. Thus, golf play challenges both the dynamic and static postural control of the individual.

Lastly, golf play requires considerable planning and strategizing (club choice, swing speed, ball positioning), ball tracking, and is a socially engaging activity; thus, golf play is likely to improve mental capabilities, including inhibition, attention, processing speed, and fluid cognition—all of which continue to decline with advancing age.

Current Studies…

lab golf

Golf for Healthy Aging Study (GHA)

The Golf for Healthy Aging (GHA) study is examining a 10-week golf intervention program designed for ambulatory older-adults (age 60-80). We are collaborating with the Monterey Park Golf Club near downtown Los Angeles, to conduct the investigation and are using a professional PGA golf instructor who regularly trains seniors novel to golf participation.  This “first of its kind” study is being funded by the R&A (Royal and Ancient) which is the governing body for golf worldwide.

Primary Study Aims:

1. To enroll a sample of 15 healthy, ambulatory, older-adults (60-80 years of age) whom do not currently golf, into a 10-week senior golf program designed for seniors.

2. To examine the efficacy (change in walking biomechanics, strength, flexibility, functional performance, balance, cognition, & quality of life) of the golf program.

3. To examine the adherence and safety (reported adverse events) of the 10-week program.

Study participants

Golf Intervention for Veterans Exercise Study (GIVE)

In this study, we are investigating the feasibility, adherence, efficacy, and safety of a 12-week golfing program designed for ambulatory older-adult (age 60-80) Veterans. We are collaborating with the West Los Angeles Veteran’s Administrations’ Heroes Golf Course to conduct the investigation and are using professional golf instructors from the PGA who regularly train Veterans novel to golf participation.



Research Contributors

1. Bandini Foundation

2. FlightScope

3. Movement Performance Institute

4. USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

5. Urban Golf Performance


Direct Impact

Your generous donation helps fund this promising research leading to the development of safe, and effective golf training programs for seniors whom do not current golf.  All of the funds (100%) go directly to the Institute for Senior Golf Science at USC. Our study team of kinesiologists, biomechanists, and exercise physiologists are dedicated to maintaining the functional independence of seniors and increasing the quality of life for Veterans and Older Adults through activity-intervention programs.


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