Is Golf A Sport? You Bet It Is!

Cal Montembeau, Sports Contributor

From hand-eye coordination to muscle memory, golf is one of the most challenging sports one can play. The status of golf in the sporting world was recently challenged when it was debated as to whether or not it should be included in the 2016 Summer Olympics. It was, and will be again at the 2020 Tokyo games. The Oxford Dictionary defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” This definition clearly describes golf.

Golf requires tremendous hand-eye coordination, muscle memory, and balance. You don’t get these skills from doing nothing. Moreover, it requires a significant amount of practice to train your muscles, eyes, and body how to correctly move in order to get the perfect swing. This is just like any other sport – you have to practice in order to get better. Take baseball for example: just like golf, it requires hand-eye and muscle coordination. But, you don’t just hop in a baseball game and hit home runs; you have to practice to account for all the other variables in a baseball swing or in a golf swing.

Just like all other sports, golf can result in injury if one has not stretched properly or one has exerted themselves too much. Golf places a great amount of strain on your joints and muscles due to constantly rotating your shoulder and legs as well as stretching your muscles in order to get the most power in your swing. Your muscles are like a rubber band: when you stretch them all the way, there is a ton of potential energy that then translates to your swing when you release that tension. This can cause tears or pulls in the muscle due to the repeated motions.

Of course, non-golfers would certainly take issue with the argument that golf is indeed a sport because they haven’t actually golfed and they don’t understand how much work and practice one needs to put in in order to be a good golfer. Critics may argue that golf is an activity for socializing and or enjoying a beer or cigar. However, in professional golf and other sports, they prohibit this. The real contributor to whether it’s a sport or not is the amount of stress it issues on the muscles and joints, and the amount of practice needed to become better at it.

One of the best golfers in the world, Tiger Woods, practices for 13 hours a day. Starting at 6 AM he has his first workout, before hitting the driving range to work on his swing. Then he plays a full nine holes, eats lunch, and plays another nine holes. And lastly, he concludes the day with dinner and a second workout at 6 PM. This shows how much work one needs to put in in order to become very successful at the sport of golf.

So why should golf be considered a sport? Well, golf is one of the hardest sports to play and should be respected as so. You can’t tell Tiger Woods, who has won 5 masters and has 81 career wins, that golf is not a sport. In the end, you cannot debate facts. Golf is, by definition, a sport. And if you don’t agree, hit a hole-in-one and then we’ll talk.