The other day, I happened to come across a rather interesting discussion on talk radio about golf. The topic of conversion was whether golf is an actually sport or some activity that is not a sport such as camping, gardening or do I dare say, bowling!!
The general consensus among the many rubes who called in, you know those people who cannot think outside the box, was that golf is such a limited game athletically, so it should not really be considered in the same breath as football, basketball, baseball or hockey. One caller even didn’t know how any sport, without any running involved, could be considered a sport.
With all due respect to those people, I beg to fully differ. My definition of a real sport is an athletic competition that people take part in and compete. I can fully understand why people are skeptical about golf. Sometimes, I even wonder, especially when some old senior citizen beats me in a round of golf. But being an avid golfer who plays a few times a week, I think golf can be an underrated sport in terms of athletic ability. You have to have some athletic ability to produce a nice swing and maintain good balance and tempo. Having excellent hand, eye coordination is another important athletic trait that any good golfer must have. One of the greatest mysteries of golf is how can it be so difficult to hit a little white ball that is just lying there and not moving. The average person walking on the street would have a very difficult time making a good shot, let alone making contact with the ball. I always marvel at how those pros can make some of those shots.
Having played many competitive sports during my life, I still feel that golf ranks up there with the toughest sports to mentally play. I have played competitive basketball all my life and it does not compare to playing in a golf tournament or league which I have done both. Having to think about your next shot, such as the case in golf, is more difficult and nerve-racking for the most part than basketball,which is largely a reaction and instinct type of sport. Imagine what those pro golfers have to go through ever week? One bad shot into the water and they can lose thousands of dollars. And outside of endorsements, there are no guaranteed contracts in professional golf.
I can’t argue that golfers have more physical athletic skills than other sports. That is just not true but just because they do not run or jump, does not mean that their sport is not really a sport. In fact, that is the beauty of the game. You do not have to run a 4.2 40 or have a 36 inch vertical to be a good golfer. That is why, yes the sport of golf is so great. It gives those who are less athletically inclined, a greater chance for succeeding at a sport even giving those older ex athletes, who cannot run or jump anymore, a chance to be competitive in something for the rest of their lives. Golf is and will always be a sport and a great one.