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Is Golf Really a Sport?

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Recently, I was watching ESPN and I wondered who determines how the time slots were divided throughout the show. I was anticipating the College World Series that day and only saw a short highlight of the North Carolina’s extra inning that defeated Cal State Fullerton. The program quickly switched to a more interesting sport. Then I had to bear watching several minutes of golf highlights. Surely, college baseball has a bigger fan base than golf. I’ve had this discussion over with some people, “Is golf really a sport?”

Wikipedia defines sport as a combination of mental and physical activity for competitive purposes, and some scoring system involved. It seems that golf does fall into this definition, except that there is not much physical exertion involved. I have played golf several times but not enough to consider myself better than a beginner. I’ve watched some of the golf highlights as a result of having to take a break to catch up on the recent events in football, baseball and basketball. I’ve never even seen anyone jog or run while playing golf except when I was a kid playing mini golf. My friends and I were chased of the local club’s green by the security personnel.

Do golfers need to do some exercise or lift weights in order to improve their game? These habits are good signs. I can imagine the younger golfers incorporating some kind of workout routines so they can play better. If you Google “Tiger Woods Workout” you will find a video of Tiger responding to a question by a fan about how he enhances his strength and fitness levels to improve his performance in the game. He said that he always felt that it was a sport so he should train as if it was a sport. After that comment, Woods proceeded to mention lifting some weights and recommending exercises to improve hand strength.

Asking if golf is really a sport may also apply to questioning if other sports, are really sports. John Kruk was once asked by a lady about his being obese and smoking habits. He responded that he is not an athlete, he is just a ballplayer. Kruk is not the ideal body type for baseball players. But compared to golf, baseball is definitely a sport and its players, are surely athletes.

There are other aspects of golf that leaves me questioning its participation in the SportsCenter and inclusion in the sporting world. A lot of amateurs play golf just to take a break and relax. The game is often treated like dinner. “Let’s talk business over dinner or maybe during a game of golf?” Businessmen, to cut legal costs would invite their lawyers to a game of golf. I don’t hear the same people inviting their lawyers to play ball in their basketball uniforms.

I’m sure ESPN people have real reasons why they include golf highlights to their show. I just wish they don’t spend a lot of air time showing golf when there are other perfectly exciting highlights from the World Cup or World Series. Those are real sports. Golf is an glamorized leisurely activity.