is a game played on an open air course, whereby a player strikes asmall ball using a club, into a progression of small holes on theground. The aim of the game is completing a course, making the smallball enter the holes on the ground, but with the least possiblestrikes. Rules of the game divide the game into two, match play andstroke play. In match play, each small hole is a separate challenge,where the winner becomes the “one drop”, and a tie (where golfersenter the ball into the hole with equal strikes) said to be in “allsquare”(The PGA of America 1).Players in match play continue with the game up to completion,recording progress, which is used to determine the winner.Conversely, in stroke play, the player with the lowest score (withthe maximum number of strokes to enter the ball into the hole) isousted from the game as others continue with the tournament. However,in both matches, one has to attain the general objective of the game,which is to enter the ball into the hole.
Thegame as we know it today has seen major developments, with the Dutchand the French games, “kolven” and “palle-mail” respectively,being the ancient forerunners of the modern day golf. However, it isnot possible to trace the origin of the game to one specific country,since almost all countries had invented their own game of hitting aball with a club, at a target, usually a hole dug on the ground. Thegame is more popular in the United States, with more than twenty fivemillion players, and generating more than $76 billion annually (ThePGA of America 13).Thirty eight percent of American population are die-hard fans of thegame, hence its huge popularity. Despite golf’s popularity, therehas been raging debate over whether it qualifies to be a game or not,with proponents and opponents defending their beliefs with equalenthusiasm. This paper exemplifies all arguments for and against golfas a sport, thereby drawing a conclusion whether it is a sport or agame.
Theargument over whether golf is a sport or not, is hinged on definitionof sport according to ThePGA of America ,sport is any physical activity engaged in to derive personalsatisfaction. For any activity to qualify as a sport, skills and/orphysical prowess must be employed competitively, to attain sport’sobjectives (ThePGA of America 4). According to proponents, golf meets all qualification of thedefinition of sport the game involves both physical prowess andindividual skill, and is mainly for pressure. According toproponents, golf entails physical coordination and exertion, therebymeeting the definition of ‘sport’ by athletics associations,fans, sporting companies as well as the media.
Duringplay time, golfers playing a nine-hole course, without carts andcarrying individuals’ clubs, burn up to seven hundred and twentyone calories. Conversely, by walking across the golf court, golferswithout carts burn up to six hundred and thirteen calories, ifcaddies carry their clubs (ProCon.org1).With professional tournaments, four rounds of eighteen holes, golferswithout carts and caddies burn over four thousand calories in fourdays, while those with cadies burn over two thousand calories.However, this is relatively lesser to calories burnt while bowling ordoing gymnastics. Based on calories burnt, proponents prove thatactually, like all other sporting activities, physical prowess isrequired in golfing(ProCon.org 1).
Proponentsargue that just like other sporting activities, there is coordinateduse of muscles in golfing, where more than seventeen muscles arecoordinated. The coordinated muscles include the abdominal muscles,muscles controlling hands and legs movement, wrist muscles, biceps,triceps among others (ProCon.org1).Additionally, proponents argue that professional golfers requireathletic bodies to walk over four miles in eighteen-hole course, andstrike long drives with apt precision.
Ingolf, just like in other sports, there is a correspondence betweenphysical training and improved performance. Through rigorous trainingand practice, golfers gain requisite balance, stability, strength andposture, required in increasing golfing expertise. Additionally,there are physical injuries involved in playing golf, just like inother sporting activities (ProCon.org1).Professional golfers have reportedly sustained wrist, hand, headand/or shoulder injuries, and suffered from back as well as neckinjuries during practice or play(Stephens, Pait and Sheehan 824).This makes golf more of a sport than a game.
Sincethe Olympics serves as a measure as to whether an activity is asport, inclusion of golfing in the Olympics, is a major lift toproponents’ arguments. ing f featured in the Olympics in 1900and in the1904 Olympics in Missouri. However, the sport was canceledfrom Olympics in 1908, owing to lack of global entries this reducedinternational golfing popularity, hence its demise (Stephens,Pait and Sheehan 824-826).In 1992, there was a major push to have golf back into the Olympics,but it faced opposition from golfing organizations, who felt thattheir events were being overshadowed by Olympics organizers.Additionally, there were only male golfers at the time, hence thepush was dropped. In 2005, another bid to include golf in Olympicswas made but was rejected by Olympics organizers, owing to lack ofprofessional support. Despite these setbacks, proponents of golf as asport argue that since golf had been recognized by Olympics as asport, it remains so even with exclusion from the event(Duncan 153).
Opponentsargue that golf does not meet all the requisites of sportingactivities. Unlike other competitive sportsmen such as footballersand tennis players, golfers burn relatively lesser amounts ofcalories. ers burn three hundred and sixty calories per hour,compared to nine hundred calories burnt by footballers and tennisplayers per hour (Duncan153-156).They argue that golfers are not athletes, are often old, overweightand out of shape this is unlike professional athletes, who areyounger, and have athletic shape. Additionally, opponents argue thatunlike other sportsmen, golfers are lazy they have caddies to carrytheir clubs, and often use carts to cover distances between holes.Additionally, there are no cardiovascular activities, such as runningor jumping involved in golfing hence there is no sweating(ProCon.org1).According to opponents, activity which can be accomplished whilstdrinking and/or smoking and does not lead to sweating, cannot qualifyas a sport (Duncan155).
Thoughthe proponents argue that golf requires skills, which are achievedthrough rigorous practice, opponents argue that not all activitiesrequiring skills and proficiency pass as sports. According to them,activities such as lecturing and games like chess require skills andproficiency, achieved through practice, and are certainly not sports(ProCon.org1).On the account that golf is a sport since is undertaken duringleisure to derive satisfaction, opponents argue that games are alsoplayed during leisure to derive satisfaction, and are different fromsports. The competition, score-keeping and winner declaration in golfdoes not make golf a sport, since other activities such as games,darts competition among others involve competition and recordingindividual scores, which helps in selecting the winner(Wong 96).
Accordingto the opponents, golf is more of a sport than a game. In sportingmental capabilities are more requisite than physical prowess requiredin sporting activities. They give evidence of older golfers, whodespite their non-athletic bodies outwitted younger andathletic-looking players, a rare event in sporting activities.Athletic experts concurs that golf lacks athletic dynamism requiredin all sporting activities, and ranked it in the fifty-firstposition, out of sixty activities (Wong96).Unlike sporting activities, golfers can play with physical injuries,as evidenced by Tiger Woods, who played and won the 2008 US open withstress fissure in his left tibia. Additionally, golfers are allowedto use carts, since according to the rules of the game, walking isnot a critical part of the game, a factor that reduces physicalexercises, discrediting it from being a sport. Additionally, thelikelihood of sustaining injuries when playing or practicing golfdoes not make it a sporting activity since there are possibilities ofsustaining injuries in other non-sporting activities. Opponents arguethat these sufficient proofs that golf is not a sporting activity,but rather a game (ProCon.org1).
Basedon the arguments of both the proponents and opponents of golf as asport, golf qualifies to be sport just like football and othersporting activities. This is because, like other sports, golfingassists in burning calories, an essential role in maintainingpersonal health. The argument that there are lesser calories burntwhile golfing cannot be used to argue against golfing as a sport,since there is difference in the amounts of calories burnt even incompetitive sporting activities such as football and tennis.Additionally, the argument of the lack of athletic vigor in golf doesnot discredit golf from being a sport, since, however little, thereare physical exercises involved in golfing, such as swinging handswhen striking the ball and walking. Owing to the likelihood ofsustaining injuries while playing, makes golf more of a sport than agame, since there is no gaming activity that predisposes the playerto physical injury during play. Based on the above arguments,ing is not a game, but a sport, just like soccer and tennis,despite its minor setback.
Duncan,Joyce. Sportin American culture : from Ali to X-games.Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
ProCon.org.Prosand Cons Of Contoversial Issues.february 2014. 14 February 2014 <http://golf.procon.org/>.
Stephens,Jackson, Glenn Pait and Jack Sheehan. forever : The Spine and More : A Health Guide to Playing theGame.Las Vegas: Stephens Press, 2003.
ThePGA of America. "Summary of the Rules of ."The PGA of America(2010): 4-46.
Wong,Glenn. Essentialsof Sports law.Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.