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Questions like ‘are golfers athlete’ and ‘are golfers athletic’ are frequently put forward by the media and are serious inquiries into what it takes to be a professional golfer.
Golfers are not considered athletes by many people, but they can be athletic because the sport does require physical exertion; individuals do not need to focus extensively on physical aspects such as endurance however with golfing.
Let us explore some nuances of golf and why golfers are not required to be athletes.
Are Golf Players Considered Athletes?
Athletes are individuals who have a particular skill set for physical aspects like strength, endurance, and agility.
By that definition, golfers are not required to be athletes because golf is not a physically demanding sport and falls into similar categories of physical exertion as bowling.
That’s not to say that golfers don’t spend hundreds of hours mastering their craft and that golfing isn’t strictly a sport, but there is no physical exertion involved at all.
Golfers like to compare golf to baseball, but they are not similar. Although both require individuals to swing bats, baseball players have to sprint after hitting the ball and require physical exertion.
Walking over to golf holes multiple times during a match does not constitute physical exertion because athletes do much more than just walking around.
An average football player covers a distance of 8-10 kilometers per match, which is usually in short bursts of intensity that require proper athletic performance.
To be a golfer and an athlete is a choice made by individuals who can spend time developing their physical attributes, but in order to be a golfer, you do not strictly have to be an athlete.
Tiger Woods is a legend and Hall of Famer, who is quite athletic and the face of golf, but looking at the average player, you’ll find that most golfers are not athletes, and the sport does not require them to be.
It’s not an insult to golfers if we agree that they are not athletes, but just a fact that some may find it hard to admit if their identity is based around being professional sportspeople.
Is Golf a Sport?
A sport is considered an activity that involves physical exertion and is usually played against other teams or individuals for entertainment.
Golfers can even play golf if they are injured, overweight, over 100 years of age, or not athletic.
Strictly speaking, golf is better considered a game than a sport because it is solely an activity for entertainment, without the need for physical exertion.
Games can be competitive and require skill but generally differ from the strict definition of sports, although both are played for spectators.
In terms of calorie expenditure, playing golf without a cart can burn 360 calories an hour, which is more than gymnasts burn on average.
Golfers playing 9-hole courses often strain themselves much more if there is no golfing cart and if they carry their own supplies without using a caddie.
However, burning calories is not strictly an indicator of athletic performance, which people must keep in mind when debating whether golf is considered a sport.
Not using a caddie or carrying your supplies is not required in professional tournaments and is a personal choice if people do not have an assistant or are playing by themselves.
Soccer and American football are much more physically demanding and are considered sports and burn much more calories on average than a golfer with a caddie.
Walking is not considered an aspect of golf, which is the major contributor to calories burnt.
Running on fields for other sports is a requirement, making it a part of the sport itself.
These distinctions are important and need to be made to not pointlessly argue using loose definitions of athletic performance.
That said, golfing does require muscular exertion to swing the bat, which can recruit up to 17 muscle groups at a time.
Hand-eye coordination is also a must for golfers, who must develop this skill to the point where it helps them compete against others.
Hitting long drives with a golfer’s bat is a must for the game and contributes to physical aspects such as mobility, flexibility, and strength.
Strictly speaking, golf is not a sport but a game that can be physically demanding, but not enough to warrant being a sport that requires athletic performance.
You cannot play basketball or football without breaking a sweat, but with golfing, you undoubtedly can.
Why is Golf so Mentally Challenging?
Golf is essentially a mind game requiring self-confidence, composure, and focus.
Even if your last shot was great, you do not have time to dwell on your victory but need to immediately start preparing for the next shot, which you can mess up if you let it go to your head.
If you make a horrible shot where the ball gets nowhere near the target, you have to brush it off and not let it affect your next hit.
Having excellent composure in the face of pressure, bad conditions, and inconsistent performance is what separates the real pros from the amateurs.
Not letting negative energy and emotions define you is a crucial skill that golfers need because things don’t always go the way they were intended.
Golf is also very distracting.
The weather and conditions can vary, planes may be flying overhead, and bad timing with sneezes and coughs can cause a loss of focus.
It is impossible to control the external environment, which is why golfers must remain steadfast in their attempts to control their internal states and maintain composure to finish the game without succumbing to distractions.
The age-old questions ‘are golfers athletes’ and ‘are golfers athletic’ are easily answered by distinguishing between technique and performance and games and sports.
While golfers can be athletic, they are not athletes and are not required to be one by the game’s rules.
With little to no physical exertion involved, successful golfers do not expend much energy to be the best players around.
Technique and skill are significant factors that contribute to a golfer’s success and should not be confused with athletic performance.