Is Golf a Sport?

Many debate if golfing is a leisure activity or sport.

Suncoast girls golf team poses after placing third at Jensen Beach on October 26.

WRSN Staff

Suncoast girls golf team poses after placing third at Jensen Beach on October 26.

Children playing with rubber basketballs, kids dreaming of being professional soccer players, families watching football games on weekends, those are everyday occurrences. Now insert the word golf into these sentences. Why is it so hard to imagine? There is an unspoken stigma surrounding many sports, specifically those of a “less athletic” nature. Before delving into the arguments claiming this activity as a sport, one must be able to define what a sport is.

Everyone thinks that it’s really easy but it’s not…I definitely want to make it to districts and get a good score…maybe make it further than that.

— Stella Rineheimer, a player on the Suncoast golf team

“I would define a sport as something that’s competitive, something that requires a score, something that you can practice and get better [at],” said Molly McCann, the golf team coach at Suncoast.

Sports, as defined by the Google Dictionary is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Now, there are many versions of golfing: miniature golfing, leisure golfing- such as those in country clubs and indoor golfing are just a few to name. Fortunately, the most common and professionally played version is competitive golf. Competitive golf is simply a tournament of golfers who compete to win. There are local, national and regional competitions, much like any other game. These tournaments can have up to 100 people and can last anywhere from hours to days. Scores for golf are individual and then grouped for an overall team score.

Breaking it down, there are four main components to a sport: physical exertion, skill, competition and entertainment. Golfers use four major muscle groups in their games, the pectoralis major, upper serratus, gluteus maximus, and biceps femoris, all of which can be injured. Theses muscles are located in the upper and lower body, as well as the arms. A common injury to golfers, if not stretched properly, is a tear or severing of the rotator cuff, located in the shoulder, specifically the socket. Thus, golfing checks the box for physical exertion, as golfers play often even to the extent of injury.

“We hit balls on the range, then we’ll hit chip shots, then we’ll putt and then we’ll go play some holes. McCann said when describing a regular golf practice.

The boys golf team were the academic team champion in 2015. (Amy Rodriguez)

The obvious skills to be able to succeed in golf are hand-eye coordination, aim and strength. However, there are less obvious skills most golfers know. Golfers, like in other sports, have to learn how to maneuver and handle their equipment. Examples of this are how someone grips a club, holds their posture and swings at the ball. Chances are if someone is bad at the fundamentals, they will be bad at the game. An illustration of competition is the tournaments held at each level, thus skills and competition categories are both completed. Golfing entertainment is included in interviews, televised games and reports. Thus, due to the fulfillment of all categories formally defining a sport, the most logical response is to name golf a valid sport.