They'll do studies on virtually anything in universities today, another case in point coming from the United Kingdom's University of Exeter. The School of Sport and Health Sciences there conducted a study of 197 male British amateur golfers to quantify the benefit of support from family and friends on their performance.
The golfers, with handicaps ranging from plus-2 to 4, were asked to answer a series of questions designed "to measure the level of support they receive from their peers." They also were given questions relating to their confidence level prior to matches and "factors that could cause stress or anxiety." It was all measured against their performance.
The conclusion: "When playing under stress, social support could improve performance by nearly one shot per round of golf. The researchers believe that this significant difference is the result of the increased confidence brought about by social support. For players with the lowest levels of support, increases in stress caused a performance deterioration of up to three shots per round."
-- John Strege