COUNTY Durham golf clubs are hoping to boost the region’s health by offering special beginner lessons to help people swing into shape.

It is hoped that the Move into Sport courses, which start from just £2 a session, will encourage more people to give golf a try and discover its health and social benefits.

Research has found that playing a round of golf could be better for you than a quick, intense workout in the gym and an 18-hole game that involves walking five-miles burns off at least 900 calories.

The Move into Sport courses are being offered at Headlam Hall Hotel and Golf Club in Gainford, Barnard Castle Golf Club and Roseberry Grange Community Golf Club in Chester-le-Street.

The initiative is one of 14 programmes across the country aiming to get people active and is funded by Sport England through a £5.8m Get Healthy Get into Sport Fund.

Durham County Council's Public Health department also contributes to the programme which has been tailored for those who are either not active enough, overweight or have a family history of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.