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This might be a weird question that might not have even crossed your mind a few years ago, but yes, there is an ongoing debate that golf is not really a sport. This debate stems from the fact that some people feel that golf is not physically exerting enough to qualify as a sport.
Golf has been a common sport for several decades. The sport has its roots in a Scottish game of hitting pebbles with sticks. So it’s safe to say that golf has been in existence far longer than other sports like soccer, basketball, and football.
One of the most popular definitions of sport is an activity that involves skill and physical exertion in which a team or an individual competes against another or others. According to this definition, golf can be considered a sport even though it lacks the kind of physical exertion that most people associate sports with.
So is Golf a sport?
Golf is definitely a sport. Although it does not require a test of brutal physical strength, it is highly competitive, demands some form of physical extortion and muscle use as well as mental capacity.
While it’s highly unlikely to see golfers running up and down the course drenched in sweat, Golf, like any sport, is very taxing physically.
For example, players spend 90 minutes in a soccer game. A golf tournament can last up to four days. It’s very competitive, and many golfers will also get injured at one point during their careers.
Rather than just take my opinion on it I wanted to also give you some reasons why I feel that golf is actually a sport. I will cover 5 different reasons why I believe it is a sport in the rest of this article.
5 Reasons Why Golf Is A Sport
Below I will give you 5 reasons why I think that golf is unquestionably a sport even if it doesn’t require visible agility, physical exertion, or endurance.
1. The Olympics Has Re-Accepted Golf As An Olympic Sport
The Olympics are one of the most extraordinary sporting events in the world.
Golf has been accredited by the International Olympic Committee as a sport. Many high-level golfers work towards representing their country in this sport.
According to the Olympic Committee, “for a sport to be considered, it must be widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents and by women in no fewer than 40 countries and on three continents.” (Britannica).
Golf meets these criteria because it is played worldwide. Since golf passes the player rule and the other credentials, it shows that if the Olympics sees it as a sport, golf is definitely a legitimate sport.
Golf, which has returned to the Olympics in 2016 after more than a century’s absence, is a significant development.
2. Training For Golf Is Vigorous
Professional golfers who participate in tours have to train like never before. While back in the day, it was very uncommon to find golfers in the gym training and improving their physique, the situation has become entirely different in the last few decades.
Just take a look at Justin Thomas, who won the Dell Technologies Championship Massachusetts tournament in 2017. At that time, he weighed 150 pounds and quickly hit the driver about 350 yards off the tee.
He was arguably more flexible than some football, tennis, or baseball players because, on top of his golfing skills, his workouts are intense.
Most golfers incorporate more vigorous training into their routine to stay on top of their game, just like most other professional athletes do.
3. Golfers Need To Have A Strong Mental Game
Anyone who’s played a competitive sport knows that your mental game is perhaps the most essential part of playing. The mental game is as important as being physically strong. Arguably, golf’s mental game is more complex than most sports.
It requires golfers to be more focused and have a quieter mind compared to other sports. For example, you can rely on your teammates to encourage and pick you up in team sports.
As a solo sport, golf requires you to get yourself together quickly when things aren’t going great.
Additionally, other sports like basketball and soccer are reaction sports. This makes it a little easier for players to focus. On the other hand, golf is more about playing at the moment and allowing the body and the mind to work together to produce the desired results.
This balance can be tough to achieve in solo sports. Golfers always need to be aware of what’s happening within their minds when they are playing.
As the famous golfer Jack Nicklaus once said, “…golf is a game of emotion and adjustment. If you’re not aware of what’s happening to your mind and your body when you’re playing, you’ll never be able to be the very best you can be.”
For golf, mental precision is the key. Players have no one else to rely on, and they need to be able to cut off the noise and focus on their own game.
4. Golf Involves Physical Exertion
Just because golfers are not running up and down the golf course does not mean that the sport is not physically taxing.
Most golfers in a professional tournament can walk upwards of six miles or more each round. Of course, this is dependent on weather conditions and terrain.
Swinging the clubs is also strenuous and requires golfers to be in shape so that fatigue doesn’t get the better of them.
One tournament can have players burning over a thousand calories each round. While professional tour players have the assistance of caddies, they are still walking considerable distances, and swinging precision clubs.
Golfers need to be in shape to even endure a complete tournament let alone win it.
5. Golf’s Popularity
Golf is the 10th most popular sport in the world. Over 450 million people play and follow the game around the globe. The fact that Tiger Woods can be compared to Michael Jordan or Tom Brady has solidified golf as a sport in a lot of the world’s eyes.
It’s hard to argue that a game so popular would not be a sport.
Golf can be considered a sport because it fits the definition. It is competitive, requires physical exertion and mental strength to compete and succeed.
Additionally, to be in the Olympics, a sport has to be recognized and fit the credentials. Golf fits these credentials, and there should be no question. Golf is a sport.