(CNN)When Louise Tulip picked up a set of golf clubs for the first time since her teens, she had no idea the sport would consume her — much less provide any health benefits.
Four years later, Tulip plays golf three to four times a week at her local club in north London, dropping her handicap to 15 while brisk walking 15 to 20 miles a week.
The 58-year-old credits the sport for a variety of health benefits, and has turned both her husband and 24-year-old son into golfers.
“My blood pressure is lower, and my cholesterol readings are lower; generally, my weight is very stable without doing any other exercise,” she says. “It’s been very beneficial.”
With golf participation falling drastically over the past decade in both the US and UK, the sport’s insiders have been preaching its health benefits as a way to stem the decline.
He says that golf courses in the UK cost less than those in the US because of zoning laws which ban building homes on greenbelts — empty land surrounding cities — but allow golf courses.
As a result, the land occupying golf courses surrounding London is double the size of the city’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, home to 160,000 people.
“Yes people need more exercise, and golf is one way of getting more exercise,” he says. “There are lots of other ways of getting more exercise. Cycling is a very good way of getting more exercise, walking is a good way of getting more exercise.
“Nothing against golf, it’s just that Britain is overridden with golf courses, and that’s just land to put houses on.”