In Defense of Golf, a Sport.

I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m a golfer. I’ve golfed my whole life. My grandpa, grandma and father taught me at a young age. I love it, just as much as I can dislike it when my game starts to fall apart. So when I see social media getting all high and mighty and dissing the game of golf because of say, Trump, or whatever triggers people these days, I feel the need to defend it. So here goes.

First, I’m reminded of a joke that Bill Maher made on Real Time. He said “while I don’t play golf, I like golf courses because they keep douchey white people off the streets.” I laughed and laughed. I also love the old George Carlin stand up bit on golf. I think these jokes are hilarious.

Here is why I don’t take offense when I hear these great jokes at the expense of golfers. Because there is some serious truth to them. It’s true there are wealthy “white, well-to-do business men who use the game to get together to make deals to carve up this country… wearing their green pants, their yellow pants, and their orange pants, and their precious little hats, and their cute little golf carts.” It’s true there are douchy white people who feel special about themselves because they belong to a very expensive country golf club.

I am happy these douchy folks are at their uptight country clubs because it keeps them not only off the streets, but off of the public golf courses. The public golf courses I play are affordable for working class people. There are some really fun and challenging public golf courses throughout this country. There are easy Par 3s as well for the beginners. These public golf courses welcome people of all ages, ability, race, and gender. I’ve met so many genuinely good people on public golf courses – some turned long time friends now. I’ve also met some weirdos who I’m glad I’ll never be paired up with again – but that’s life in the public sphere.

In this day and age, when there is a serious assault on public institutions, let’s remember public golf courses are not your enemy. It’s just a place that millions of average citizens enjoy fresh air, sometimes great scenery, being together with friends and your neighbors, and enjoying, or trying to enjoy, a truly difficult game – which is what so few who bash this sport (yes, it’s a sport! To which I’ll discuss below) don’t get.

I can already hear the protestations of “but the wasted land and wasted water.” Well, there’s certainly much more private land locked up in the hands of the wealthy and corporations than there is land granted for public golf course use. And, at bottom, when you suggest to get rid of golf courses, what you are suggesting is taking away something that millions of people enjoy on a daily basis. Talk about what a buzz kill you are. As for the water, well, watch the Bill Maher clip to see what industry is really sucking up the most water.

I can already hear the protestations of, “but golf is a racist and a patriarchal sport.” Yep, it certainly was. But wasn’t that really a problem for all of America’s institutions at one point? The demographics in golf are changing in America as we speak. A few years ago a man from Japan won the Masters, and an American female golfer, competing against women from countries from around the world, won gold at the Olympics. Let’s give it some time, and a few more generations from all backgrounds, to get introduced to the sport before we condemn it as unredeemable.

And now to the protestations of “golf is NOT a sport.” Well, first, a sport is defined as: a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job.” Golf does fit in this definition. Does it require a physical effort like a swimmer or gymnast? No. However, it absolutely does require some physical effort and a whole lot of skill. Yes, golf takes an incredible amount of skill to be a descent player. This aspect of the game is what most of the people (btw who’ve never actually played the game) don’t seem to realize.

Also, as someone who was a competitive freestyle skier, and a competitive whitewater kayaker – two pretty difficult sports – I can say that golf is the hardest sport I have ever played. Don’t want to believe what some “rando” on his blog says? Well, here’s what one of the greatest all time athletes, Michael Jordan, had to say about the game of golf: “It’s the hardest game to play.”

Anyway, that’s my defense of golf, and I’m sticking to it.

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