Sheffield Live feature – April 2022

Women & Golf feature – April 2022

The remarkable story of Social Enterprise – Golf in Society – Women & Golf magazine April 2022

The remarkable story of social enterprise “Golf in Society”

Golf in Society secures funding for 10 new venues – March 2022

Growing the Game with Golf in SocietyFebruary 2022 – Northern Golfer

Wearside Golf Club set to hold sessions designed to help people with dementia and other disabilities – October 2021

Sheffield Star – Older Adults set to benefit from Pilot Project in the City – August 2021

Life Embracing Hope – July 2021 – Sonda Radio – Community Radio Station

Have a listen to Anthony’s views on embracing hope and creating happier futures for our ageing population

Transforming Lives – Article about Sheffield launch – May 2021

Interview with LLARC Cooperative about our future plans and the Golf Pathway pilot – 7th April 2021

Sheffield teens inspired by social enterprise – 24th March 2021

More Than a Game – 24th November 2020

How two local football legends’ lives are transformed by golf in their battle with dementia

Interview with Helen Crampin – UKRI Innovate UK Healthy ageing lead – Nov – 2020

New Stirling Course Promotes the Social Enjoyment of Golf


Club to build ‘community academy’ in its 150th year





GIS ADDRESS MAJOR HEALTH EVENT – Golf Business International – November 2018
Golf Business International’s Anthony Blackburn and John Bushell were among the presenters at the recent inaugural International Congress on Golf & Health (ICGH).

The agenda for the launch of the ICGH was agreed at the world’s flagship physical activity and public health event, the biennial Congress of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH).

Evidence linking golf and health, commissioned by the World Golf Foundation and supported by The R&A, was presented at ISPAH, and a global consensus was reached, backing golf in the race to tackle physical inactivity and the prevention of a range of non-communicable disease (NCD) including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer of the breast and colon.

And when the ICGH was launched at High Elms GC, in Kent, Blackburn and Bushell were invited to address the delegates.

Blackburn, a social entrepreneur, is behind Golf in Society, a project which delivers person-centred golf sessions for people with chronic illnesses and which have proved particularly beneficial to those suffering with dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

He said: “It was inspiring to listen to all the great work the scientists and researchers are doing to prove the health and well-being benefits of golf. To know that getting involved in golf is being endorsed by the World Health Organisation, our health ministers and leading academics was music to my ears.

“Getting the chance to address the conference and show how golf is improving the lives of families living with dementia and Parkinson’s disease was a very special moment. Promoting golf as a preferred lifetime activity has massive potential for the industry and that was endorsed by researchers from across the globe.”
Bushell, the managing director of SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC., added: “The R&A’s investment and support for the first International Golf & Health Congress enabled so many strands of the health and golf benefits debate to be discussed. The work SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. completed looked at the comparisons on how golfers feel about their general health and life satisfaction compared to the rest of the population in Great Britain.

“From our work, it is clear golfers feel healthier than the general population, with 72 per cent of golfers stating they consider themselves to be in good health compared to only 51 per cent of the national population. Their emotional wellbeing is considerably higher, and the risk of loneliness is substantially lower than non-golfers.

“It really does illustrate the health benefits of the sport. It really should be seen as a ‘sport for life’ and if there could be ‘social prescriptions’ for those who are more at risk of poor health, inactivity, and isolation to go to the golf club – even if not to play golf in a traditional manner – then this is not just good for our game, but fundamentally good for the health and happiness in society.”

The scientific consensus for golf is evidenced in research led by the University of Edinburgh and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Findings reveal that playing golf is associated with a range of physical and mental health benefits, and further collaborative efforts to improve access for the sport are needed

Health Benefits Of Golf Raised In Parliament – 19th June 2018 – Media release

Minister hails health benefits of golf


Golf In Society media release

Golf & Heath Video

Fantastic Parkinson’s Fundraiser Raises £1000 – April

Here’s the press release about a very special day we helped organise. The funds raised will all go to the local Parkinson’s group.

Rudding Park World’s First Parkinson’s Friendly Golf ClubFINAL






Rudding Park Golf Academy in Harrogate, described as the World’s first Parkinson’s Friendly Golf Club have joined forces with ‘Golf in Society’ to hold a fundraising Putt for Parkinson’s Event on World Parkinson’s Day, Wednesday 11 April 2018.
Anyone, young or old, golfer or non-golfer is encouraged to pop down to the Golf Academy and enter a fun putting competition for a donation, 50% of which will go to Parkinson’s UK (Harrogate Branch).
It’s not just about the golf, as therapists from Rudding Park Spa will be on hand to offer Indian Head Massages. The benefits of massage have long been recognised by people with Parkinson’s to alleviate joint and muscle stiffness and promote relaxation and well-being.
Golf in Society are also celebrating their second birthday but rather than bake one birthday cake to mark the occasion, everyone is invited to donate a cake to help with the fundraising. Cakes should be dropped off at the Golf Academy by 11am on Wednesday 11 April ready for judging by a Rudding Park Chef. There will be a prize for the best golf-themed cake and they will then be on sale from 12noon for a suggestion donation of £1 per slice.
James King Rudding Park Golf Manager explained “Golf in Society is a Social Enterprise, aimed at improving the health and well-being of an ageing population by introducing them to the world of golf. Rudding Park has been working with ‘Golf in Society’ for two years inviting those who suffer from Parkinson’s and their carers to play every Wednesday. Our 6 Hole Repton Short Course provides a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the game offering physical, mental and social stimulation for the person living with Parkinson’s. Our golf members act as ‘Golf Buddies’ and there is a real camaraderie!”

Blackburn joins Golf Business International – 2018


Dementia Golf Days Supported by Local Mayor

Please click on the link to read full article

Pioneering Dementia Golf Sessions in Lincoln


Here’s the link to the feature in the Occupational Therapy publication.


Golf Days Out featured in Dementia Journal – September 2016

Golf Days Out – An Innovation In Care And Respite

Guest blog by Danny Walsh & Carol Duff

Danny Walsh is senior lecturer in nursing and Carol Duff is senior lecturer and consultant
occupational therapist, both at the University of Lincoln.20160922_102543

It is well known that physical exercise is good for people with dementia, but it
is not often that golf is considered as an option. Golf Days Out is a refreshing exception. It is a social enterprise that uses a local golf course to offer meaningful activity and respite both for people with dementia and their carers.
The vision of a care worker with an enthusiasm for golf, Anthony Blackburn, Golf Days
Out generates a sense of camaraderie with its unique blend of physical activity, the
outdoors and cognitive and social stimulation. Alongside the freedom and fresh air of
the golf course comes the chance to practise cognitive skills like judging distances
and how hard to hit the ball as well as keeping your tally.

Golf courses are invariably beautiful and peaceful places and the venture ties in with
current thinking in mental health about the value of outdoor activity and ‘ecotherapy’ for relaxation, boosting self-esteem and fighting depression and anxiety (Mind 2015).
Golf also offers the opportunity to use and maintain social skills, form new friendships and keep in touch with a sporting passion.

For Golf Days Out, dementia friends training is given to interested local golfers who
then become “golfing buddies” to people living with dementia. They then go on to
play a full nine holes and have team competitions for trophies in which all can participate.
The driving range and putting green are also put to good use. No previous golfing experience is necessary and all levels help each other out. At the same time carers have been encouraged to become a support group with little prompting from us, so this weekly venture provides two social care functions at the same time. Initial evaluations have been positive, highlighting the value attached to taking part, the friendly banter and the sense of togetherness.
Clients were referred by the local Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK. Qualitative evaluations used a modified version of the DEMQUAL tool, which is an accepted quality of life measure for people living with dementia and their carers developed by the Institute of Psychiatry at
King’s College London. To start with short interviews based on the DEMQUAL scalewere used, but a full quantitative assessment will take place in the near future. The first qualitative feedback gives a picture of positive attitudes among those taking part, including comments about being able to carry on with a pastime they love and the camaraderie it generates.
Here is what golfers with dementia told us:
I love the company and the banter – I’ve had an awful game of golf today but it didn’t matter. It’s being outside in the fresh air and being able to participate. Keeping up with the golf is tremendous – still being able to do it. I find speaking hard from the illness – I can’t get the words – so this is important as I practise my talking – and here it doesn’t matter, we are all similar”
Camaraderie – the golf gets me to do things for other people – it’s a great thing – we help each other – it keeps me going”
There’s a real sense of community here and it’s physical, the golf ….. good for you.
It helps my wife – it gives her time of her own – a good break – I’ve won a couple of trophies – it all has the purpose of making you feel better”


Carers were just as approving, giving strongly positive comments about
seeing their partners being able to continue the golf and remaining active with an
enhanced sense of purpose. They also benefited from the respite the venture provides.

Here is what carers told us:
He wasn’t a golfer but now he rarely misses a shot and absolutely enjoys it… It’s the
only time he comes out.”
He was so excited after the first session that he’d be able to play again. It’s nice to see him doing what he loved to do”
I can’t get him to a day centre but I can’t stop him coming here. We (the other wives) meet up for a chat and a coffee. We’ve made new friends and we meet up outside too.”
It allows me to be at work – I am not worried about him being here. I’m very reluctant to let him go to a lot of places but I am confident when he is here – I don’t worry.”
It’s good here, he’s got early onset and there’s nothing for younger ones but he’s helped to fit in and he helps the others. It gives him his own social life.”
He says ‘it’s my thing’ where he feels he’s not reliant on other people so gives him a sense of independence rather than illness.”
The best way of describing it is that it makes him buoyant, he lights up when he comes here, it brings him alive again. He also has Parkinson’s and when he putts he’s not shaking so much. He always remembers the golf whereas he doesn’t remember other things. This gives him an enormous sense of pride. He will polish his golf clubs and look after his golf shoes. It gives him a sense of purpose. They help each other on the golf course so you have this chap with dementia helping another chap with dementia… they know how each other feels.
He’s happier and he’s more relaxed so I am more relaxed. It’s priceless from my point of view to see him happy and doing something as he was always so active. To see the look on his face, when he did play golf again, was an experience that will stay with me for a long time.”


These qualitative responses are significant enough to support a full quantitative
research investigation, which should provide the necessary evidence to persuade
commissioners of dementia support that this is worth investing in. As people who
have worked in dementia care for many years we can see the venture significantly helping
people maintain their capabilities while having fun at the same time.


We are piloting the scheme at the Lincoln Golf Centre whose management and members have wholeheartedly embraced the concept and cannot do enough to support it. Indeed, many members know someone with dementia among their own families and friends. The idea also has the support of the national golfing body England Golf and it is hoped to roll it out to other golf courses and embrace other medical conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease where we have already seen some remarkable effects on reducing tremors.
Leisure activities combining physical activity, cognitive stimulation and social skills are
known to contribute to successful ageing (Baltes & Baltes 1990; Fischer 1995).
These studies cite biological health, mental health, cognitive efficiency, social competence
and productivity, personal growth and control, life satisfaction, interaction with others and sense of purpose as key elements of a ‘successful’ old age. Golf Days Out combines all these aspects while also providing a valuable respite break for carers.

Baltes PB & Baltes MM (1990) Psychological perspectives on successful ageing: The model of selective optimization with compensation. In PB Baltes and MM Baltes (Eds) Successful
Ageing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fisher BJ (1995) Successful Ageing, life satisfaction and generativity in later life. International Journal of Aging and Human Development 41 239-250.
Mind (2015) Making sense of ecotherapy. London: Mind.

Golf In Society featured on You & Yours –  August 16th 2016

Here’s the link to the feature on Radio 4 about dementia care – we’re featured 31 mins 50 seconds into the programme…

Dementia Golf Praised In House Of Commons – April 2016

Here’s the link to the full article in which we’re featured.



Thursday 28th July – 2016

Lincolnshire Dementia Family
Support Service
July 2016, Volume 3
In the Spotlight!

Page 2
Introducing… Golf In Society
Dementia Golf Proving A Hit At Lincoln Golf Centre
A new support service aimed at improving the health & wellbeing of families living with dementia is proving to be a real success in Lincoln. Golf In Society has teamed up with Lincoln Golf Centre -Thorpe On The Hill to run enjoyable, relaxing and stimulating golf sessions every Thursday. The unique sessions combine, physical, mental and social stimulation and are delivered in the beautiful natural surroundings. As well as providing excellent dementia therapy, the sessions have offered a much-needed respite break for carers.
We are absolutely thrilled with the positive impact the golf sessions have had on people’s lives” says Founder of Golf In Society, Anthony Blackburn
Quote from Annie – Wife & carer
The best way of describing it is that it makes him buoyant, he lights up when he comes here, it brings him alive again.”

Quote from Fiona – Wife & carer
It allows me to be at work – I am not worried about him being here – I’m very reluctant to let him go to a lot of places but I am confi-dent when he is here – I don’t worry.”
The sessions run every Thursday from 10am until 1pm at Lincoln Golf Centre, Thorpe On The Hill. Contact : Anthony Blackburn on 07491694938 or email You can also find more information on the website:


Dementia Golf Featured on Radio 4 – April 25th 2016

Here’s the link to a fantastic feature about our Pilot scheme at Lincoln Golf Centre.

You’ll find it 19 minutes 30 seconds into the You & Yours programme.

Lincoln Golf in Society
England Golf Feature

The Lincoln Golf Centre is leading the way in a new initiative to improve the lives of people living with dementia by introducing them to golf. The Lincoln Golf Centre is hosting the venture – which is supported by England Golf – and has become a dementia-friendly club. The scheme has just had its official launch with a special golf event held at the club. Both England Golf County Development Officers Shona Dickson and Jim Lammin had an active part in the scheme’s development, along with Lincoln Golf Centre owner Brian Logan. “To witness the positive impact we’ve had on people’s lives has been the most rewarding part of the venture.” said Anthony Blackburn, founder of Golf in Society, which aims to make a positive contribution to the health and well being of local communities through golf. The service is tailored to each dementia client. “Dementia touches each person differently, that’s why you can’t just take a generic approach when designing a dementia service. It’s crucial to be able to personalise the delivery and content.” said Blackburn. Lincoln Golf Centre, situated close to the Lincoln bypass, was chosen to trial the service because of its facilities for new beginners to golf, the positive attitude of the members and management team and its easy access. Jamie Blair, England Golf’s disability manager looks forward to the growth of the service. He said “England Golf has been proud to help support Lincoln Golf Centre to develop into becoming a dementia-friendly environment. The partnership between organisations has brought together a great bank of knowledge to answer all questions.” We look forward to the impact report and how, through the Lincolnshire County Golf Development Group, we can establish more clubs in the county to ensure we keep people playing golf as part of a healthy and active lifestyle for those diagnosed with dementia.”

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