GIU - Hall
Tom Hall, the 25-year-old official at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, will be presenting his research on how golf membership can benefit in life after retirement in Scotland. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: Tom Hall, the 25-year-old Assistant Golf Services Manager at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, is presenting his research at the second International Congress of Golf & Health in Scotland in July. In a chat with Gulf News, Hall dwelt on his plans. Excerpts:

QUESTION: Tom, tell us about yourself and your golf project that has become a passion of yours?

TOM HALL: I am 25 years old, an amateur golfer who went through the PGA Management Course at Birmingham University and am currently Assistant Golf Services Manager at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.

As part of my Masters Degree in Applied Social Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London, there was a requirement to do a thesis and I chose the topic of ‘Transition from Full-Time Work to Full-Time Retirement, through Golf Club Membership.’ I looked very hard for existing research in this area and, to be honest, did not find much online or elsewhere beyond the already known general health and wellness benefits of golf.

I then embarked myself on some pioneer and ground-breaking research into the subject, at a golf club in England recruiting eight golfers in that specific age bracket, both men and ladies and followed their journeys, listening to their experiences and working with them all with some intensive Q&A and written sessions.

My findings showed that a golf club environment and the game of golf helps re-negotiate a person’s identity at this critical time of slowing down and changes in life: meeting people, joining committees, being competitive and being amongst like-minded people and essentially having fun. What other sport at that 50-plus age group, apart from golf, can provide such an environment?

Following completion of my degree, I moved to Dubai to work at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club and after much thought, decided my research, in some form, deserved to be published for others to see. After a number of peer reviews and adaptation, I got my thesis accepted and published in April 2021 in a leading global industry journal: ‘‘Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health.’’ It is now online and available to all and will soon to be in print.

Tell us about the second International Congress of Golf & Health in a few weeks.

The second International Congress of Golf & Health, in association with NHS Scotland and the R&A, is to be held at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, July 18-19 (Monday–Tuesday) just after The 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.

This 2022 event follows on from the successful first event in 2018, which had inputs from World Health Organization, national government, international governing bodies and leading research regarding all aspects of golf, health and performance.

What are you hoping to get out of the visit?

The R&A does a lot of work in this ‘Golf & Health’ space and I am keen to be part of the conversation.

It is a largely unexplored area of the game of golf, in my opinion, and I am looking forward to meeting other people in the industry to discuss the topic.

There are a number of exceptional speakers attending in the golf and health industry from the USA, Netherlands, Australia, Czech Republic, the UK and the IOC plus delegates from all over the world. The next step is to discuss taking it to market with industry and marketing support and hopefully see a commercial element develop for the wider golf industry.

This will complete the journey of bringing my thesis from an academic project to go live to the real world with the potential for new and existing golfers, resulting in new revenue streams for golf clubs and the golf industry from coaching, green fees and golf membership, travel and so much more.

The primary focus at present for the golf industry, seems to be all about getting youth into golf. Let’s not forget the generation, in and around the retirement age, whether golfers or non-golfers.

Can the UAE be a Centre of Excellence for such a global golf pilot scheme?

Retirement is now a viable option in this part of the world and with support from the likes of the UAE golf industry, Emirates Golf Federation, University of Birmingham (who have just opened a campus in Dubai) as well as the R&A and other partners, these can be exciting times for us all.