Caddy Max Zechmann dies at age 55 from sudden heart attack: Is golf actually a dangerous sport?

Heart health

By pH health care professionals

A popular golf caddy Max Zechmann recently fell ill on the 13th hole while caddying for a French golf player in Dubai. He was 55 and suffered a heart attack, dying only a few hours later in the hospital.

There have been a few other caddy deaths during professional golf tournaments in recent years: Ian MacGregor, age 52, in 2014 and Scott Steele, age 55, in 2012. Each experienced heart attacks.

Golf is usually not an overly strenuous sport for the players. They mostly walk, take a pre-swing and then swing. It’s the caddies that bear the brunt of the strain, carrying players’ bags, which can weigh 30-45 pounds, for three and a half to four hours, covering at least 7,000 to 10,000 yards, including hills.

They also may share their opinions about how to play a difficult shot, measure the distance to the hole, and keep records of golf-hole conditions. It can be stressful when a single decision can contribute to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars lost or gained.

Being a caddy is not in and of itself a direct health hazard. A younger or middle-aged healthy person should not normally have any severe health consequences from the job. However, caddies can be prone to an underlying heart vessel disease, which is starting to be more common at age 50 and older. So if an older caddy had a pre-existing heart condition, carrying a heavy bag over prolonged distances could exacerbate his decreased blood and oxygen flow to the heart, therefore triggering a cardiac event.  

Overall, the death of caddies should be a rare event, but the aforementioned cases remind us all to get regular checkups for heart disease, especially when we approach middle age and later.

Heart disease can, in part, be prevented by controlling hypertension, body fat and weight; managing stress, including keeping a balance between work, private life and recreation; and addressing additional factors like your genetic disposition, sleep apnea or unhealthy lifestyle habits (such as smoking or poor diet).  

Heart disease can be detected early when monitored by health professionals, checking various blood tests, blood pressure and weight, and offering guidance to mitigate risk factors.

One way you can be proactive about heart health is by ensuring you are getting the right minerals in your diet. Read more about this in our new book, Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

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