Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are Golfers Athletes?

You've probably heard this question many times...I know I have. And the answer to the question is, of course, no. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, I believe that in order to be considered an athlete, one condition must be satisfied: The sport said person plays requires athletic ability: This means quickness, agility, speed, strength, vertical leap, hand-eye coordination, etc. In other words, talent is more important than skill.

Golf does not satisfy this condition. The only talents required for golf are hand-eye coordination and the ability to look good in polos. (Also, if the uniform required for your sport can pass for a "business casual" dress code, you are not an athlete.) Golf is basically a skill game. The more you practice, the better you are. It's that simple. Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world because his father stuck a club in his hand when he was two and made him practice every day. Tiger doesn't possess any special talents; he is somewhat athletic, but the worst player on a decent college football team is more athletic than he is. Now I'm willing to guess that if I (or any other semi-coordinated person) practiced constantly, I could be a very good golfer. In fact, after not having picked up a golf club in 5 years, I actually took golf lessons last summer. And I went from being downright awful to somewhat decent after 5 half-hour lessons. There is no doubt in my mind that if I practiced enough I would be a great golfer. Now, no matter how much I practiced, I would never be a great boxer, or basketball player, or hockey player. Why not? Because those sports require talents that I simply do not possess. Golf, bowling, darts, billiards, etc. are all skill games that require no athletic ability, but rather a lot of practice perfecting the skill.


No comments: