Content Summary

The debate over whether golf should be considered a sport has raged for years. Those who argue golf is not a sport point to the lack of athleticism required, while supporters say it takes great skill and dexterity.

When you think of sports you think of crowds. There are always crowds at golf tournaments.

My playing partners and I consider it a sport, especially after walking 18 holes and swinging a club for hours. And while we may not have the dexterity of professional golfers we are still getting a good workout mentally, physically, and with our cardio.

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For some, it meets the criteria of a sport because golf requires skill. It entails physical activity, skill development, competitive play, adherence to standards, and governance by organizations that oversee the game.

Just check out the physical prowess of professional golfers. Many of these guys can be playing baseball, basketball, football, or soccer.

Although golf may not seem as physically intense as other athletic pursuits, it still demands specialized talents and abilities. Swinging clubs with force while maintaining precision and accuracy necessitates strength, flexibility, and hand-eye coordination. Walking long distances over hilly terrain for hours tests endurance and fitness.

Executing shots under pressure requires mental acuity similar to sports like archery. And golfers employ strategic thinking to outsmart opponents and the course itself. While less conventionally athletic, in my opinion, golf qualifies as a multi-faceted sport through the marriage of physical prowess and mental sharpness required.

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Here are some key points on both sides of the debate:

Arguments Against Golf as a Sport

  • Golfers use carts to drive around the course, requiring minimal physical activity.
  • Hitting a small stationary ball does not require much exertion or athleticism.
  • Golf matches are not direct competitions like other sports. Players essentially compete against the course independently.
  • Golf is played recreationally by many non-athletes and the elderly. Most sports require greater fitness and training.

Arguments For Golf as a Sport

  • Golf without a cart does require physical exertion, with professional players walking long distances up and down hilly terrain.
  • Swinging clubs repeatedly for hours requires physical endurance, strength, and flexibility.
  • Golf requires high levels of skill, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity which other sports demand.
  • Golf is played competitively, with athletes vying for titles and prize money like other sports.

Key Points

  • Golf does require athletic ability, especially at professional levels. However, the typical amateur recreational golfer utilizes minimal athletic skills.
  • Golf matches the definition of a sport as an athletic activity involving skill and competition. But the level of athleticism is debatable.
  • In the end, there are good arguments on both sides. Categorizing golf as a sport is subjective.

Should Golf Be in the Olympics?

Golf was reinstated in the 2016 Rio Olympics after over 100 years of absence. But some argue golf does not belong in the prestigious Olympic games. Here are some perspectives on the debate:

Reasons Golf Should Be in the Olympics

  • Golf has a major international following, with top players competing worldwide. The Olympics aim to represent global sports.
  • Golf requires high levels of skill and training. Most Olympic sports are skill-based athletics requiring practice and coaching.
  • The Olympics bring public attention and validation to sports. Including golf helps recognize it as an athletic endeavor.

Reasons Golf Should Not Be in the Olympics

  • Golf is not associated with athleticism like many iconic Olympic sports. Golf swings and club strokes lack physical rigor and intensity.
  • With lucrative professional golf tours, the Olympics are not needed to bring exposure and funding to the sport like with lesser known sports.
  • Golf course access and equipment quality varies greatly worldwide. Poorer countries are at a disadvantage, conflicting with Olympic ideals.

Key Considerations

  • Golf does have a significant global following and presence as a professional sport, perhaps warranting Olympic inclusion.
  • But golf is debatably not as athletic and intense as most Olympic sports, calling into question its fit.
  • There are reasonable arguments on both sides. In the end, it is a subjective decision by Olympic organizers whether golf truly belongs.

Frequently Asked Questions -  Is Golf a Sport?

Is golf considered a sport?

Golf is treated as a sport. However, some believe it is not the definition of sport.

What makes golf a sport?

Golf is considered a sport because it requires physical exertion and skill.

Is Tiger Woods a golfer?

Yes, Tiger Woods is a professional golfer.

What is the mental game in golf?

The mental game in golf refers to the psychological aspect of the sport, including focus, concentration, and decision-making. Because of this, some believe this makes it a sport.

Can golf be considered a real sport?

Yes, golf is a real sport that requires skill and is played competitively.

Do professional golfers use a golf cart?

PGA Professional golfers do not use a golf cart during tournaments; they walk the course.

The use of golf carts is permitted on the PGA Tour Champions during most tournaments, with a few important exceptions. Carts are prohibited in major championships and select premier events on the senior tour. However, even when allowed, cart usage is subject to strict rules and limitations.

John Daly, 56, has osteoarthritis in his right knee, so the PGA of America allows him to use a cart under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

How do you keep score in golf?

The score in golf is kept by counting the number of strokes taken to complete each hole and adding them up.

Can you play golf as an individual or as a team?

Golf can be played both individually or as a team, depending on the format of the game or tournament.

Does golf require physical exertion and skill?

Yes, golf requires physical exertion and skill to hit the ball with accuracy and power.

How many calories per hour does a golf swing burn?

There are different estimates on the number of calories burned per hour by just swinging a golf club, as opposed to walking the course during a full round of golf. 

For a typical golfer, swinging a club burns around 50-65 calories per hour, while walking the full course would burn 100-200 calories per hour or more.


The debate over golf's qualification as a sport and its merit as an Olympic event has valid perspectives on both sides. While golf does require physical exertion and skill, the level of athletic intensity is debatable compared to more rigorous sports.

However, golf is played competitively by athletes around the world, and including it in the Olympics expands viewership and participation globally.

Overall, classifying golf as a sport and deciding if it belongs in the Olympics comes down to subjective definitions and opinions. Reasonable arguments exist on both sides of the issue, and there may not be a definitive right or wrong answer.

In the end, the controversy over golf's status as a sport and Olympic event will likely continue, as people weigh its merits and shortcomings compared to various athletic competitions.

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