Senior golfers (>50 yrs of age) constitute more than 25% of the approximately 20 million Americans who are “committed” golfers (NGF, 2016). Golf is an excellent way to stay physically active and to participate in a “lifetime” sport. PURPOSE: The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate how senior golfers performed both functional and golf-specific fitness tests, and a 6-minute walk test (6-MWT) (aerobic fitness test). Possible changes in mood also were monitored before and after the 6-MWT to determine if walking influenced their total mood disturbance score (TMD). METHOD: Twelve female senior golfers (mean age of 62.9 ± 6.9 yrs) completed the Titleist Performance Institute® (TPI®) golf fitness screen and the 6-MWT. They also completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) before and after the 6-MWT. The POMS subscales were combined as a Total Mood Disturbance score (TMD). Heart rates (HR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured during and after the 6-MWT. Paired t-tests and Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated for all dependent variables (pilot study: p ≤ 0.10). RESULTS: Physiological variables were TPI® Score, HR, RPE, and %HRmax. Following a series of golf-specific exercises, TPI® golf fitness screen mean scores were 17.5 ± 4.2. The three TPI® tests that these golfers scored lowest on were the deep squat, and the single leg balance tests with their eyes open and again with eyes closed. The remaining variables included the following means and standard deviations at 3 and 6 minutes: HR = 123 ± 16, 130 ± 20 (beats/min); RPE = 12.0 ± 2.0, 13.0 ± 1.0 (“somewhat hard”); %HRmax = 79 ± 12; 83 ± 15% (“vigorous”) (ACSM, 2014). The distance for the 6-MWT was used to measure aerobic endurance and a percentile rating was determined from their age group: 69.2 ± 18.8% (Rikli & Jones, 2013). After the 6-MWT, significant correlations were found for RPE and HR at 3 minutes (p = 0.025). However, RPE at 6 minutes was not correlated with any dependent variable. As hypothesized, %HRmax was correlated with HR at 3 and 6 minutes (p = 0.0001). No correlations were found between exercise intensity and the change in TMD. The TMD scores on the POMS before and after walking were not correlated with the 6-MWT distances (p’s = 0.698, 0.896). The mean TMD score was significantly lower after the 6-MWT, 98.4 ± 12.7, 89.3 ± 15.4 (p = 0.026). There were significant differences between RPE, HR, and %HRmax at 3 and 6 minutes (p ≤ .05). CONCLUSION: Senior women golfers were able to complete the golf fitness tests. Fitness characteristics were identified that could be improved with future golf-specific exercises. Senior women golfers were rated at the 69th percentile for aerobic fitness for their age group and had desirable decreases in TMD after the 6-MWT. Participating in golf provides senior women with an opportunity to maintain functional movement, to exercise aerobically, and to have desirable changes in total mood disturbance.


Lynn A. Darby

Second Reader

Bonnie G. Berger