The fitness effects of a 10-week golf training program for older adults: A non-randomized, pre-post, pilot study




golf, older adult, physical fitness


Objective: Golf encompasses multiple aspects of fitness—long walking distances, squatting, balance demands, and power production. This pre-post, pilot study ( NCT03916887) investigated the fitness effects of a golf training program for nongolfing healthy, older adults, to inform the design of an expanded randomized control trial (RCT).

Design: Fifteen healthy, older adults (69.5 ± 6.05 years) were enrolled in a 10-week golf program, with fitness testing at baseline and at program completion.

Outcome measures: Measures from the Senior Fitness Test, hand grip strength, fast gait speed, center of pressure (COP) during static balance tasks, and lower extremity (LE) strength were collected. Hedge’s g effect sizes (ES) were calculated, and total sample sizes (SS) were determined for a future two-arm, Phase II RCT.

Results: Fourteen participants completed the program and testing. One participant left the study because of a work-related injury. There were no adverse events, and participants completed 283/300 sessions (94 percent). The Senior Fitness Test and gait measures improved by 7-20 percent with moderate-large ES. Strength increased by 6-8 percent with moderate-large ES. COP measurements in the anterior–posterior direction improved by 13-25 percent with moderate ES. In response to an exit survey, participants reported improved physical function and reduced stress, and all said they planned to continue playing golf.

Conclusion: The 10-week golf training program was adherent, safe, and appeared to improve LE agility and strength, gait speed, and static balance with moderate-large ES’s. The findings support the development of an expanded Phase II RCT, with a sample size of 65 per group.


Author Biographies

Jared Moore, MS, PhD Student

Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Kiran Kanwar, PhD

Program Chair, Golf Department, Stanton University, Garden Grove, California

Andrea DuBois, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California

Guanrong Cai, MS, PhD Student

Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

George Salem, PhD

Associate Professor, Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California


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How to Cite

Moore, MS, PhD Student, J., Kanwar, PhD, K., DuBois, PhD, A., Cai, MS, PhD Student, G., & Salem, PhD, G. (2022). The fitness effects of a 10-week golf training program for older adults: A non-randomized, pre-post, pilot study. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 21(3), 17–29.