An observational study of spectators' step counts and reasons for attending a professional golf tournament in Scotland

Andrew D Murray, Kieran Turner, Daryll Archibald, Chloe Schiphorst, Steffan Arthur Griffin, Hilary Scott, Roger Hawkes, Paul Kelly, Liz Grant, Nanette Mutrie

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BACKGROUND: Spectators at several hundred golf tournaments on six continents worldwide may gain health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) during their time at the event. This study aims to investigate spectators' reasons for attending and assess spectator physical activity (PA) (measured by step count).

METHODS: Spectators at the Paul Lawrie Matchplay event in Scotland (August 2016) were invited to take part in this study. They were asked to complete a brief questionnaire with items to assess (1) demographics, (2) reasons for attendance and (3) baseline PA. In addition, participants were requested to wear a pedometer from time of entry to the venue until exit.

RESULTS: A total of 339 spectators were recruited to the study and out of which 329 (97.2%) returned step-count data. Spectators took a mean of 11 589 steps (SD 4531). 'Fresh air' (rated median 9 out of 10) then 'watching star players', 'exercise/physical activity', 'time with friends and family' and 'atmosphere' (all median 8 out of 10) were rated the most important reasons for attending.

CONCLUSION: This study is the first to assess spectator physical activity while watching golf (measured by step count). Obtaining exercise/PA is rated as an important reason for attending a tournament by many golf spectators. Spectating at a golf tournament can provide HEPA. 82.9% of spectators achieved the recommended daily step count while spectating. Further research directly assessing whether spectating may constitute a 'teachable moment', for increasing physical activity beyond the tournament itself, is merited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e000244
JournalBMJ open sport & exercise medicine
Issue number1
Early online date1 Aug 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Aug 2017


  • Journal Article

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