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Medical issues in golf

Looking after golfers, like many elite sports people, involves not only managing musculoskeletal injuries but also a lot of general medical practice. The European Tour medical team has developed specialist services embedded within the tour, including skin cancer screening, antidoping services and specialist MSK provision with SEM doctors, physiotherapists, S&C coaches, radiologists and orthopaedic surgeons.

Mental health promotion and training has been a recent focus with involvement from specialist sports psychiatrists and psychologists. Below we have provided information key to clinicians involved in providing medical care in golf.

Dermatology in golf

Many golfers and other people working within golf are exposed to the sun for prolonged periods and are at greater risk of skin damage and potential cancers making practical skin protection advice sensible. The video below lays out some of the key things to consider.

Dr Allan Matthews and Dr Susannah Fraser are two European Tour dermatologists. They provide skin screening for European Tour players, caddies and staff and have kindly provided us with a great blog about dermatology in golf. – Being safe in the sun – The European Tour perspective

Mental health in elite golf

In recent years there has been a big focus on mental health in elite sport, with the recent International Olympic Committee (IOC) consensus statement providing some recommendations to help identify athletes at risk of mental health conditions and advice on management.
Mental health in elite athletes: IOC Committee consensus statement (2019)

The IOC also recently produced the Sport Mental Health Assessment Tool 1 (SMHAT-1) and Sport Mental Health Recognition Tool 1 (SMHRT-1) to aid in the assessment and recognition of mental health disorders in elite athletes.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sport and Mental Health Assessment Tool 1 (SMHAT-1) and Sport Mental Recognition Tool (SMHRT-1): Towards better support of athletes’ mental health.

Download full Sports Mental Health Assessment Tool (SMHAT)
Download full Sports Mental Health Recognition Tool (SMHRT)

In golf specifically, there is high stress with lots of travel and individual pressure put on players. In recent years many high-profile players, such as Thomas Bjorn, have spoken about the mental strain that can be experienced when competing at an elite level. This article helps identify some of the strains touring professionals often experience which highlights the importance of discussing mental wellbeing and screening for mental health issues.
Life in the travelling circus: A Study of Loneliness, Work Stress, and Money Issues in Touring Professional Golf

The European Tour has put in place mental health training for its staff and created resources such as this infographic to promote good mental health.

Mental Health infographic

Dr Phil Hopley, consultant psychiatrist, was instrumental in establishing the mental wellbeing programme in golf and he discusses this and how to manage mental health conditions in golfers in this podcast.


As with many elite sports, an understanding of anti-doping is critical and the podcast below with Michele Verroken (Anti-doping advisor to the European Tour) outlines the three essential things every clinician should know in relation to anti-doping in golf.

Public Health