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Is Golf A Sport?

You have undoubtedly heard people swear that “golf is a sport” or “golf is not a sport.” So who is right? Let’s explore the topic further to determine if golf is a sport.

Golf is a sport as it meets the criteria defined by the definition of a sport. In addition to requiring physical effort and a wide array of muscles, playing golf is also a competitive game and requires a great deal of skill. To add to the argument, golf has been included in the Olympics since 2016.

Continue reading to learn more about what kind of sport golf classifies as; contact or non-contact, individual or team?

Is Golf a Sport?

Is Golf Considered A Sport?

Golf is one of the few ‘sports’ where a raging debate exists over whether or not it classifies as a sport. If you explore the debate further, you will notice that both sides have very viable arguments. So who is right? Is golf considered a sport or just another leisurely pastime?

To find out the answer, we need to look at the definition of “sport” first. The Oxford dictionary defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”

And while golf does not require as much physical exertion as other sports, like basketball and tennis, golf does require some physical effort; I.e., a wide range of muscle use and physical energy is needed to play golf.

To add on, if we analyze the rest of the definition, we can see that golf meets all the criteria with flying colors.

“Skill” and “competing” are especially noticeable during golf tournaments. Therefore, based on the definition, golf qualifies as a sport.

However, if you’re still not sure that golf is worthy of being classified as a sport, let’s look at the history of the golf debate and consider the following interesting fact; Golf has been reinstated as part of the Olympics since the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

All in all, golf requires skill and prowess. And while anyone can engage in any sport in a leisurely manner (think Sunday runs or friendly basketball matches), becoming proficient requires skill, training, mental capacity, and dedication.

To summarize, golf is a sport, more specifically a club-and-ball sport. As a result, it may appear slightly different from other sports; however, the fundamentals, i.e., physical effort, competitiveness, and skill, are the same as other sports.

Golf Flag

Is Golf A Contact Or Non-Contact Sport?

Contact sport requires physical contact between players. Golf, therefore, is not a contact sport. Golf falls under the category of ‘non-contact’ sport where participants either compete using different lanes, are physically distanced, or take turns playing.

In the game of golf, competitors take turns playing, thus wholly limiting the amount of physical contact. However, there is something that links golf, as a non-contact sport, to a contact sport.

Unfortunately, the link is not a positive connection. One recent study shows that modern era golf causes as much physical injury as contact sports.

Perhaps you are wondering how this is even possible. It all has to do with the technique modern golfers are employing. A golf swing requires that the spine rotate, leading to stress on the backbone. And during the downswing, more force is applied to the spinal disc and joints, causing them to misalign.

Ultimately, with over 300 swings per day, golfers experience repeated minor traumatic injuries to their spines. This repeated stress is called ‘repetitive traumatic discopathy’ or RTD and has been shown to cause back disorders and injuries in golfers from a younger age.

In fact, over half of professional golfers experience back injuries. This does not mean amateur golfers are exempt, though; 35% of amateur golfers experience back injury of some form too.

Is Golf An Individual Or Team Sport?

Historically, golf has always been an individual sport. And I am certain that if you had to ask others whether golf is an individual or team sport, nine out of ten people would say, “of course, it is an individual sport.”

However, while this might be true, golf has seen a rise in popularity in team play over the last few years. In fact, some would argue that there is an emphasis on playing team golf by some organizations.

Since team play is more fun and social, with an emphasis on unity and fellowship, many more golfers are opting to play this kind of game. The Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup attests to the popularity of team play golf.

So will golf eventually evolve into a team play sport? It’s impossible to predict the future. But as of now, there is clear evidence of both individual and team plays popularity.

Golf Player

Why Is Golf A Good Sport?

Golf can be tremendously beneficial for your heart and health. An average golf course can span between five to seven kilometers, so even one game can provide a sufficient amount of cardio for the day. Additionally, walking the course three to five times a week will provide even better benefits.

In general, golf is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Golf can also be played at any age. As long as you are physically able to swing a club, you can still play golf. This means, even if you are 90 years old, you can still play golf, which is a huge contrast to many other sports.

You can also practice golf practically anywhere. You can practice in your living room, garden, at the range, etc. Of course, where you decide to practice needs to be within reason. Also, as mentioned before, golf can be played as both an individual and team sport. Consequently, it is entirely up to you how many players you choose to play with.

Final Thoughts

Golf is considered a non-contact, individual sport. However, variations of golf can exist, such as playing in teams. Overall, golf can offer many health benefits and is certainly an excellent sport to try if you haven’t already tried it. So grab your clubs and head to your nearest golf course for an enjoyable day of golf.

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