Is golf a sport or a game? This has been an ongoing debate for quite some time. In this post, we attempt to settle this debate once and for all.
Golf is a competitive sport, although it doesn’t require physical intensity or endurance. It demands physical ability and mental dexterity, though. Moreover, if you view the Olympic Games as synonymous with sports, then you should know that golf is an official Olympic sport that was first featured in 1900 and then in 1904.
If you’re still baffled by the ongoing debate about whether golf is a legitimate sport or merely a game, stick around for more insights.
Is Golf a Sport? An In-Depth Answer
According to the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary, a sport is basically “an activity that you do for pleasure, and that needs physical effort or some skill, usually done in a special area and according to fixed rules.”
This sounds like a detailed description of golf, doesn’t it?
Being an official Olympic sport, here’s the brief history of golf at the Olympic Games as well as the Special Olympics:
- 1900: Golf was inaugurated in the Olympic Games in Paris.
- 1904: Golf at the Olympic Games in St. Louis.
- 2009: Golf was voted back to the Olympic program in Copenhagen.
- 2016: Golfers played in the Olympic tournament after more than 100 years in Rio.
- 2018: Golfers played at the Summer Youth Olympicsthat were held in Argentina.
- 2021: Golf championsplayed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
- 2022: Golf competitions were hosted last June in the Special Olympics USA Games.
- 2024: Golfers will be swinging for gold medals in the Olympic Games in Paris.
Do you need further explanation? Let’s dig deeper into the reasons why golf is a sport.
Why Do We Call Golf a Sport?
Despite the claims that golf is just a game, here are the top six reasons why golf is a sport:
1. Golf Is a Game as Other Sports Are
Referring to golf as a game doesn’t mean it isn’t a sport. We’ve got football games and baseball games, after all!
Playing baseball in the backyard doesn’t disqualify it as an official sport. Consequently, playing golf in your leisure time shouldn’t be proof it’s a simple game.
2. Golf Is a Difficult Sport
Achieving a high level of performance in golf can be harder than in other Olympic sports. Playing well also requires intense training and a level of flexibility that’s similar to that of baseball.
If you’d like to take part in a professional golf tournament, it may take you years to have what it takes to qualify.
3. Golf Requires Physical Exertion
Can you swing the golf club without exerting any effort? Besides, golfers may walk around 5 miles to move around 18 golf holes. Even though golfers tend to use golf carts, they still have to walk about a mile.
Based on expert estimates, golfers may burn 2000 calories during a golf round if they don’t use a cart. When golfers carry their bags or use push carts while playing, they can burn around 450 calories per hour.
Riding in golf carts, golfers might burn around 250 calories per hour. So, a golfer may burn around 1000 calories in a 4-hour game! Similarly, softball or baseball players may burn around 550 calories per hour.
Keep in mind that these numbers depend on the player’s weight and other factors.
Watching Bryson DeChambeau exercise or swing might give you a good idea about the extent to which golf is a physical sport. Working out, DeChambeau focuses on back extension, trunk rotation, trunk and leg flexion, and side bends.
Generally speaking, golfers should increase their physical strength to achieve longer drives on their golf shots and swing their clubs at an approximate speed of 100 mph.
As for muscle use, a golfer uses about 20 different body muscles. Nevertheless, golf swinging requires rotation and balance, which means all your muscles are involved.
4. Golf Requires Mental Strength
In addition, it takes mental strength to overcome being intimidated by the golf course. At times, one shot is all you need to make it or break it.
If you don’t have the mental ability to deal with a stressful tee-shot moment, you won’t get far in golf.
5. Golf Is a Competitive Sport
Impressively, as a golfer, you can keep score and compete against yourself. However, a pro golfer can always play golf in tournament competitions, and golfers usually play competitive matches against each other.
Even if you’re not planning to join a tournament, as soon as you get to a higher level in the game, you’ll get tempted to play against other golfers. Once you start competing, you won’t get enough of it!
6. Golfers Are Athletes
Although golfers used to be less athletic in the past, Tiger Woods has initiated the change in this aspect. According to Forbes magazine, he’s one of the only three athlete billionaires in the world, with more than one billion dollars in net worth.
Notably, Woods earned most of his wealth from endorsement deals he had secured throughout his 27-year career. Still, he’s been at the lead of Forbes’ annual highest-paid athletes for 10 years in a row.
Did you know that a professional golfer can swing his club faster than 113 mph? If this doesn’t mean he’s an athlete, then what does?
The Bottom Line
Golf, like any other sport, will get you moving, which will help keep your body active and fit as well as enhance your mental ability.
However, almost no other sport can offer you such a beautiful landscape, entertainment, and social networking.
Last but not least, golf is the only sport you get to play for life. Golfers must agree with Shaw’s words: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”