Is Golf a Sport?


The LTHS Varsity Girls extended their streak of district titles to four in a row this week by taking the District 9 AAAAA title at Sherrill Park GC #1 by 38 shots over 2nd place Liberty Redhawks.

Madison Phung, Editor defines a sport as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature”, and goes on to list examples such as racing, baseball, tennis, and specifically golf. 

And yet, there are still people who question whether if golf is a sport or not. Some people say that it’s not a sport but rather a test of skills. Others argue that such a game cannot be a sport if your 72-year-old grandfather can still play it. But golf is very different from traditional sports like football, baseball, and basketball.

Before I even became a golfer, I shared many of the same sentiments as all of those who doubt its validity as a sport. “Golf is too slow”, “golf is boring because it doesn’t take much physical effort”, “golf is only played by old people”–I’ve thought it all too. But as soon as I picked up a golf club myself, I’ve realized that golfers deserve more credit than they’re given. 

The agonizing slow pace of golf that we see on TV certainly doesn’t make golf seem as strenuous as tackling someone to the ground, but a great amount of athleticism is still necessary. Not only does it require good coordination to hit the ball (albeit, accurately and far), but it also requires flexibility and stamina.

“The golf swing uses up to 17 different muscle groups and requires both the power of big muscle groups and precision of small, fine muscle groups,” Golf Coach Scott Carmichael said. “Also, golf burns over 360 calories per hour while walking, which is about 1442 calories total for an entire round.”

Don’t be fooled by the golf carts you see at the local country club. From the professional level all the way down to junior tours, players must walk and carry their own golf bags at least six miles or more for just one round. With tournaments usually lasting two to four days, it can be challenging to endure without proper fitness and nutrition.

All of the top players in the world go through rigorous training just to get a competitive edge. Last year, golfer Bryson DeChambeau gained 20 pounds of muscle in order to become one of the longest hitters on tour. Professional players like Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka have such intensive training routines that it has shifted the game of golf from a “gentlemen’s game” to athletes. 

And even though golfers directly play against the course, they still compete with others to have the best score. From my experience, you play a mind game between you and your fellow players. When your opponent makes a good shot or betters their score, it puts pressure on you to perform. It can be just like how athletes in other sports feel this same kind of pressure when they face the opposite team or player.

Golf may not be the most flashy or most exciting game for some people, but it is just as competitive as any other sport. There are so many opportunities for people to experience different sports in various shapes and forms, no matter how “slow” or “boring” or “old” they might be.