On Golfing

Sarah Peng, Sec #8, Post 3

GOLF, as many of my contemporaries and mentors have said, is not a sport. A game, perhaps, but not a sport. They believe that golf does not qualify as a rigorous physical activity and that its competitive nature, while admittedly high, only puts it in the same class as past times such as chess, or card playing. I will acquiesce that if one only looks to the older, more traditional side of golf then it will very much so seem like a laid-back ‘game’ suited for the stout and elderly.

I suspect these are the golfers they’re thinking of.

However, in order for someone to fairly evaluate golf, they must regard golf as it has been for the past decade. Vanished is whatever evidence golfs opponents used to characterize it as the sport of the portly quadragenarians. Golf, like all other sports, has over the years increasingly utilized survival of the fittest to adjudicate who dominates the course. Tiger Woods, born Eldrick Tont Woods, is arguably the man who demonstrated to spectator and competitor alike that although talent and giftedness are paramount, a sound body will carry a player the last stretch to victory.

tiger

Woods’s impressive successes.

Woods, when he was more youthful and possessing of an innocent reputation, was the prodigal son of golf. In the span of a decade, Woods amassed thirteen Major championship victories, the majors referring to the four annual tournaments of the uppermost salience.

While it is objectionable to ignore the truth that Woods’ success certainly has much to do with his innate talent and ability, the other half is attributed to his physical prowess. Woods’ vigor is comparable to athletes of many other sports and involves him training for the lion’s share of the week. In golf, how well a player can swing and with how much force he is able to exert will decide the ease in which he will play out the rest of the hole.

“We need our back muscles to support our posture and our swing,” Woods has said, when explaining his extensive and elaborate fitness regime. “[I’ve decided] to treat golf like a sport…I let others treat it like a hobby. It would be asinine for someone not to work out and go play football. It doesn’t make sense for golf, either.”

Let us now redirect our attentions to another young man who has been placed next to Woods and another golf giant, Jack Nicklaus: Rory McIlroy. McIlroy, an Irishman at the green age of twenty-five, has in his career already amassed three Major titles. There are less than fifty other players who can be considered of his ilk. Similar to his peer Woods, McIlroy possesses both aptitude and athleticism. This he proved at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, when he struck one of the longest drives in golf’s history.

There are many other players who are alike in athleticism and strength that are rising quickly in the world of golf. This year’s Masters tournament saw Jordan Spieth nearly attain victory at just 20 years old, surpassing competitors of older age or oleaginous shape effortlessly. The year prior saw Adam Scott, though somewhat older, do the exact same and win the tournament. The trend is as such: younger and fitter men are seeing more and more success in golf, as aspirants are observing heroes like Woods and McIlroy reach wondrous heights by benefiting from their hale and hearthy bodies. It should also be noted that there have been numerous golfers who had been rendered unable to play due to injuries caused by the sport and its physical demands, proving that it is a rigorous activity.

What I have just exhaustively detailed is just one of the multitudinous aspects that merit golf a sport. It is not seldom the fact that golfing necessitates a player to master the coordination of seventeen muscle groups all throughout the body, but also how golf itself is recognized. Golf has been acknowledged by one of the most quintessential sporting competitions- the Olympics-

The many who come to from all lands to see the Masters play

and those who have deigned to make golfing their livelihood are deemed athletes by the press. Furthermore and most compellingly, the routines of golf are much like any other sport in that it has professional men and women’s tours with rankings, international tours, a sundry of devotees, coverage on the television and most importantly, victors who are glorified.[1]

Now of course it is up to the reader to decide if I have sufficiently justified the distinction of golf as a sport. One must consider the level of devotion that is sewn into the tendons of the activity, both from the players and their enthusiasts. The best of them, the inimitable souls like Woods and McIlroy toil and strain to be such. Who is anyone to say that what they are doing is nothing but a sport?

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3 thoughts on “On Golfing

  1. I think this is a very apt blog post as I was actually having a debate about this topic with my roommate at lunch one day. He considered golf not to be a sport for the same reason as you mentioned — people dont think golfers need athletic ability. So I guess the confusion is not the definition of sport but the things associated with it. In America especially sport is associated with the fitness of a basketball or football players. Now obviously, Tiger Woods is not going to look the same as Lebron or Jabril Peppers simply because football players have a different set of required athletic ability. Not more or less but different. And that’s the problem. Most people overlook that. So by all the reasonable definitions of sport I have encountered, and Huizinga’s definition in this class, golf is a sport (atleast for amateurs playing it). It’s just hard to grasp in the social dimension of the sport.

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  2. I also agree that golf is a sport. Golf clearly embodies the definition of sport: an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. You have supplied valid evidence that golf is physically straining on the body, requires a skill that not everyone has, is highly competitive around the world, and attracts millions of spectators. I love to watch Rory McIlroy play because I am just a mediocre golfer who can appreciate how good he really is. However, I do believe that golf is not only about physical dominance, but also requires technique and strategy. That is what allows old timers like Phil Mickleson and Tom Watson continue to challenge the “young guns” year after year. All in all, I believe all the evidence is pointing towards golf being an actual sport.

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  3. I have always considered golf a sport. The argument that golf isn’t demanding just isn’t true. Most sports require not only physical fitness but also a level of physical and mental skill. So, that being said, I doubt most people would be willing to walk 18 holes as often as a lot of PGA athletes. Also, having played golf in high school, I know that the posture is taxing on the back if not adequately prepared and the swing requires practice. Additionally, with video gaming (ESports) being added to the X Games, golf is hardly a sport that should be questioned.

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