Is Golf A Sport? (Explained!)

Last Updated on March 29, 2022 by Jim Kein Kein

The argument that golf should be recognized as a sport is analogous to the argument that poker, chess and cheerleading should be considered sports. The fact that such activities require practice and skill does not qualify them to be considered sports.

15th century Scotland is the birthplace of modern golf, although the other option is to say that ancient Chinese civilizations invented it. But regardless of which origin you want to go with, golf is an incredibly lucrative and growing industry in America and around the globe. Take Tiger Woods as an example, he made $110 million during his career; that’s more than any basketball player ever did but fell just short of being college football’s all-time top earner. Either way, whether you’re a fan or not, you can’t deny that golf is one hot sport/game!

There can be no denying that golf is hugely popular – after all, a recent poll suggested that 38% of Americans consider themselves to be golf fans. That’s not only the highest percentage of any sport in modern history, but it’s also more than the number of Americans who voted in 2012! Clearly, there can be no questioning golf’s popularity, which naturally leads us to ask whether or not it should be considered a sport. Though some may argue that this is not an issue worth arguing over, however, many have held strong opinions on both sides of the fence since tee off was invented.

People who are fans of golf would point out non-negotiable and objective facts proving that it is indeed a sport. Some of the points made in favor of this being a sport include the fact that it requires a versatile set of skills, that at times there is indeed competition involved (golfers compete against other golfers to see who will have lower scores at the end), and lastly but not least, that golf is indeed a featured game in the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics. However, here are the top 6 reasons why golf is not a sport. 

6 Reasons Why Golf Is Not A Sport

Reasons Why Golf Is Not A Sport

We’ve handpicked 6 reasons why we think that golf isn’t a sport. Let’s check them out! 

1. You Can Play While Injured

Soccer, basketball and hockey players can’t continue to play with a broken leg, yet a number of golfers are still able to compete in professional tournaments despite injuries which would rule them out of any major competitions in other sports. One famous example of this came in 2008 when golfer Tiger Woods was able to win the U.S. Open even though he had what would normally mean a return home: his left knee was missing an ACL and two stress fractures in his left tibia. When you’re under immense pressure to perform at the highest level it’s vital for you to know exactly what your limits are so that you don’t push yourself beyond them just because no one else cares about your personal health or well-being!

2. Olympic Rule

Olympic Rule

Golf was introduced in the 2016 Summer Olympics Games and will be played at this year’s event. It will bring back memories for a few avid golfers who remember it as an Olympic sport in past competitions, but is sure to create new fans of the sport all on its own. Some critics have raised their concerns with the fact that golf has been reintroduced as an Olympic sport, as certain people believe that other more physical sports should have been considered instead of golf because they deem it not to be a real sport. They claim that these other sports should have been selected instead because tug-of-war was even an Olympic sport (way back during the 1920 games in Antwerp) prior to golf returning!

3. Most Golf Isn’t Competitive

When it comes to definitions, the word sport is defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others.” To that end, it’s quite true that not all rounds of golf are played during tournaments. With that being said there is still a large number of recreational rounds that are played with friends on various courses around the country. While these games aren’t necessarily against one another per say, it’s very common for several golfing partners to compete with each other for low scores such as in the case of Nassau betting.

4. Lack of Speed/Tempo

Unlike most other sports that usually have a lot of fast pace and sometimes even stop-play, golf does not. Players play their shots, then stroll to their next spot and carefully try to direct the ball down the fairway towards the hole. The tempo does not change much during or throughout the competition, making it hard for spectators to be hooked on watching golf tournaments. The fact that very few would say it is a top 10 sport event everyone should watch says a lot with Rugby being one of them

5. Age of Players

In most sports, athletes have a peak age. In soccer for example, players tend to retire around the age of 35 and there are many other highly competitive sports which have a similar or younger average retirement age. The oldest ever professional soccer player was 50 years old, the oldest American football player was 48, the oldest basketball player was 52, the oldest tennis player was 49 and the oldest rugby union player 40. However in golf there’s been many cases of people playing well into their 80s and even 90s!

Furthermore, while in most sports players tend to slow down once they reach an advanced age, some golfers find that they hit their best form late in the game. This is especially the case for professionals who happen to be very experienced individuals like Tom Watson who had almost won the British Open even though he was 59 when it happened. While it’s great that it’s possible for a former champion to regain his old form later in life, is this really indicative of a sport itself? After all, one might argue that golf requires much more practice and mental acumen than actual raw athleticism.

6. Golfers Are Not Athletes

It’s easy to look at athletes like Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, and Serena Williams and know their success has not been a direct result of their physical health. Golf is one sport in which there are many players who don’t always move like world-class athletes despite the fact that they appear to be in excellent physical condition. People like John Daly, David Duval, and even Tiger Woods, drink alcohol as if it were water and can smoke cigarettes as much as they’d like without ever seeming to negatively impact their game or form because golfers aren’t generally thought of as real athletes, though they could burn just as many calories on the course given their movements with club and ball. 

Some people point to soccer players or baseball players who may have smoked cigarettes in their lifetime, but they still had incredible strength, stamina and athleticism. It’s definitely something that sounds like it would be fun to do with your friends at some point, but how can a game justify itself as a sport where those kind of habits are permitted because they don’t affect one’s performance?

Final Words

Golf is like poker, chess and cheerleading, those are all games, not sports. Playing them can be any way you like to play or have fun…even if that’s winning a million dollars!

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