When many people think of a tough sport that requires an individual to be at their best physically and mentally, golf isn’t the first thing to come to their mind. However, most of these people have never actually played the game of golf, making them unaware of just how challenging the game can be.
A stereotype that is as old as the game of golf is that it doesn’t require the player to be physically fit in order to play the sport. Some people believe that golf is just a sport for the less physical individuals. However these statements aren’t necessarily true. In order for a golfer to be able to hit the ball far, they must have an exceptional core. This requires the golfer to be working out during all times of year, forcing them to do difficult exercises that builds up ones abs and gluts. Many people aren’t physically able to do the exercises professional golfers do during their training to build up the core.
“Those that make fun of the game of golf would be surprised with just how fit you have to be,” junior Austin Deiters said. “I’m constantly working out even in the winter to make sure my body is ready for golf season.”
Golf demands that its players have great flexibility while maintaining precise hand eye coordination. The set up posture of hitting a golf ball is complex by itself. A person must be able to remain perfectly balanced while they are standing with their spinal cords tilted at a 45 degree angle and having their knee’s slightly fixed. This by itself requires a person to be extremely flexible and retaining perfect hand eye coordination that is necessary in order to hit the ball.
“I don’t think people understand just how flexible you need to be if you want to have a good swing,” junior Derek Striker said. “You have to stretch before every match if you want to hit the ball far.”
People also think that golf isn’t a true sport because instead of its player running or sprinting around, they take golf carts. Even though golf doesn’t involve any running it still requires its players to have good stamina. Most players elect not to take golf carts but instead walk the course with their clubs on their back. This doesn’t sound that difficult, but one must consider that many golf courses are about three miles long and the average weight of a golf bag is somewhere between 60-80 pounds. A majority of golf courses aren’t just flat land either, this means that golfers are constantly walking up and down different terrain and elevations. They are doing all this while trying to play the actual game.
“I walk with my bag almost every time I play golf and I like to play 27 holes in the summer” senior Chris Dinh said. “Trust me, it gets tiring”.
Golf could also be considered one of the most demanding sports mentally as well. It requires one to be able to maintain concentration all throughout a match; which typically is about four hours long. Unlike professional golfers, most amateurs don’t play a caddie along side of them. This means that the golfer must be aware of all aspects of the golf course which include water, hazards, fescue, and other obstacles. They must take these into consideration along with other things like wind direction and speed when hitting a golf ball.
Golfers also demonstrate concentration when they’re putting. Many people think putting in actual golf is the same as putting in miniature golf. This is hardly true; putting in actual golf requires one to take into account the speed of the greens based on the type of grass, length of grass, and time of day. The speed of the greens in miniature golf predictable because it is always the same since the surface isn’t actual grass, but rather carpet that’s over cement. Unlike miniature golf, there are different slopes of the greens in actual golf which causes the ball to “break” a certain way from the hole depending on the side of the hole the player is on. This requires the golfer to realize which way the ball will break and adjust their alignment, which requires a substantial amount of concentration.
“Reading the green is probably one of the hardest things to do in sports,” junior Blair Subbaraman said. “Especially when there is money on the line and pressure.”
All of these are just some of the few examples of why golf is and should be considered an actual sport. It requires the same types of athleticism and mental game as any other sport.