If we classify strolling between swings or putts as golf's part in sport activity, then we might as well include gardening or shopping as a sport. But is the golf swing also a real physical activity? Yes... and so is swatting at any suicidal mosquito. That too takes precision and built-up passion for success!
Aahhh, Spring is in the air... Depending on where you call home in our great northern nation, that is either really funny or quite sad. Outside of soggy BC, most of us are experiencing the return of real Canadian winter, which begs the question, "Where is this global warming we have been promised for so long?" Really, we'd love some warming right about now... but this isn't a weather column so let's get going with chatter about summer sports.
Baseball, you ask? No, I'm saving that one for next week. I feel the boys of summer need some more streching in sunny Florida and the West Coast before I can sink my venomous bite. This week instead, we'll take a slice at the game of golf and get to the bottom of that eternal question: is it a sport or is it an activity of leisure?
Definition of sport: all forms of competitive physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and provide entertainment.
So by that definition golf qualifies, but it's also noted that: Sport is generally recognized as activities which are based in physical athleticism or physical dexterity, using definitions precluding activities without a physical element from classification as sports.
With apologies to 'walking', here is my problem. The single, solitary act of athleticism incorporated into golf is... the swing. This to me is a sheer stretch of the imagination and apparent desperation of the golf population. Can the golf swing really dare to compare itself to all other popular sports activities? Why wouldn't it be walking instead?
Let's be serious here... If the 'stroll' in between swings and putts is classified as part of the sport activity in golf, then we might as well include gardening or shopping as a sport, right? But remember this part in the definition of sport: all forms of competitive physical activity. Competitive walking is a sport – it's just not anything like anyone would witness on the golf course.
So back to the swing. Is the swing a real physical activity? Yes, I must agree. But so is swatting any suicidal mosquito! And so is slapping your knee in a moment of spontanous laughter... Do you see knee slapping on its own TV channel? Perhaps in today's world of Reality TV , it might not be that far off...
Baseball, you might say, is also about the swing. True, and it does share the combination of hand-eye coordination coupled with the science of hitting a ball to produce movement.
However, this is where the comparison ends. If the golf ball was thrown or hit to a player, then we might be able to have a discussion...
That said, I could take you back to strolling from hole to hole to define golf as a sport – while someone or something carries the clubs – but I won't. I just can't. Not to take away from the game – it is most difficult and frustrating, and only a very few special human beings on this planet are able to deliver that hole-in-one or even a decent score on a consistent basis. However, when putting becomes the hold-your-breath for the viewing audience, it's difficult to compare or find any activity less athletic, less physical, and less yawn-inducing. I try with all my might to grasp why golf is so incredibly and insanely competitive.
In my own twisted, snake-like – yet usually profoundly accurate – opinion, the definition of sport should be as follows: any athletic, competitive activity which through its action manifests itself upon the participant in the form of accelerated breathing, increased heart rate and... sweat.
By this definition, even Tiger Woods will never be considered an athlete...
I'm inclined to introduce the 3-minute clock for Par 3s, four minutes for Par 4s, and so on – wouldn't that be more exciting? Let's make the winner only if the sports athlete has the best score and the best time! Really, it's just a little jogging between the last putt to the next hole for the fittest. This should be for the Tour Pros only, of course. I don't expect the grandpas and his like to start running to the 12th-hole beer cooler... This really is just for the millionaire players to show us they actually earn their paychecks by putting a little effort into it. Wouldn't this be a better sport to watch?
The Snake's conclusion on the game of golf?
- a fabulous leisurely activity loved by millions – yes, agreed.
- a competitive sport – absolutely not! Golf is a competition, not a sport, much like darts, billiards, chess, and checkers!
Golf is spoilt in the name of sport... or rather, a spoiled sport!
My advice for non-pro golf players nation-wide: next time you slice one into the rough, don't have a stroke. It's just a game... a maddeningly slow, tedious – and boring for the most part – elitist game. Fore! Sorry, I had to throw that one in... (wink)
I invite your comments on this topic at SayItCanada's Facebook Page. Why should golf be considered a sport – or not – to you? •
Jock Talk With Jake the Snake
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