Golf deserving of ‘sport’ label

By Clare Rolinger

My team is huddled together in our Tiger polos, anxiously awaiting the announcement that we’ve been anticipating all season: the 2016 women’s’ golf state champions are the Cedar Falls Tigers. We squeeze each other’s hands in encouragement. We’ve done it. After all of the long hours put in outside of practice, all of the mental strain and all of the calluses and sore backs and tired feet, we’ve finally done it.

Now imagine winning that title, and then being told that it shouldn’t even be a title at all.

This is how I felt when I read an article questioning golf’s legitimacy as a sport. To me, arguing that golf isn’t a sport invalidates all of the hard work and effort that my teammates and I put into winning that state championship.

Many argue that because golf matches the definition of a game, it should not be considered a sport, but, frankly, I find that statement to be laced with fallacy. A game is defined as “a competitive activity involving skill, chance or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators” (Dictionary.com). And while this definition may accurately depict golf, the definition of a sport does as well: “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another for entertainment” (Dictionary.com). Just because golf is conducive to one definition does not mean that it isn’t conducive to another.

So yes, golf is a game, but it’s also a sport, and this can be said for countless other sports as well. Basketball, football, volleyball and soccer all fall under the definition of a game, and no one ever questions whether or not they should be considered sports.

But golf isn’t very physically demanding, so it shouldn’t be considered a sport, right?

Wrong. Golfing requires a great amount of physical endurance. Players have to walk long distances (sometimes between six-seven miles) and hit shots with consistent depth and aim. Not to mention, the golf swing uses over 17 different muscle groups through the coordinated movement of the hands, wrists, waist, abdomen and legs. Next to baseball, I don’t know if there is a test of hand eye coordination that is as difficult. And golf is not only a test of physical endurance, but a test of mental endurance as well. No other sport compares in the amount of mental toughness that golfing requires.

Senior Hailey Bermel, a member of the 2016 state champion team, agrees that golf often goes underestimated. “You carry a 14-pound bag, and you go out and walk seven miles every time you play 18 holes, and it’s just, it’s a lot more difficult than it seems,” Bermel said with a shrug.

And while golfing may normally get a bad rep, it’s not alone in its ridicule. Bowling, cheerleading and dance are all sports that never receive enough credit for what they’re worth. Too often, they are classified as games or pastimes simply because they aren’t as well known by the public. I say that it’s time to put an end to this unfair labeling and give people the rightful recognition that they deserve.

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