Fife community golf club combats mental health issues with launch of Park Gowf

A community golf club in Kirkcaldy is helping to combat mental health issues caused by loneliness by holding free taster sessions of the new game, Park Gowf, for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

By Darren Gibb
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 12:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 8:44 am

The sessions of the new sport are being offered by Dunnikier Park Community Golf (DPCG) with the organisation believing that the simple game can help tackle the issues that loneliness can bring.

Park Golf is played by millions in Japan and the United States, but is virtually unheard of in Scotland.

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DPCG secretary and trustee, Raymond Johnston, and chairman, Martin Christie at the home of Park Gowf.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from May 9 – 15, and the come-and-try taster sessions will be held at the game’s Scottish home, the 2019 par 3 six-hole course at Dunnikier Park in Kirkcaldy.

Martin Christie, club chairman, said: “We believe that sport is key to encouraging people to take the first steps back into a more active and healthier lifestyle.

“Park Gowf, which is supported by the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund through Fife Voluntary Action and the Scottish Government, gives people the chance to do something mildly physical outdoors.

“The sport is really simple, using just one club and a ball. No experience is necessary and it helps people engage with others whilst having fun and achieving something.

“This in turn reduces loneliness, isolation and anxiety and helps participants improve their general well-being and confidence.”

Already more than 100 people from Alzheimer Scotland, Fife Chamber of Commerce, Kirkcaldy’s Nourish Support Centre, the Salvation Army and the Sporting Memories Clubs from Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes are taking part.

Yvonne Bryce, Alzheimer Scotland community connections co-ordinator in Fife, said: “We can see the huge benefits this will have for the people we support.

“Park Gowf offers us a dementia-friendly environment, no experience or knowledge of the game is necessary and we have already planned a weekly session.

Participants will enjoy exercise, fresh air, social interaction, peer support and an increase in confidence, leading to positive wellbeing and outcomes.’’

Jamie Moffatt, from Active Fife, said: “The game is manageable, scalable and portable and is an incredible and innovative way of getting more people active.

“Golf has just become more accessible for more groups of people, especially older adults and those who have physical difficulties.’’