I was poking around the Internet recently when I came across some interesting reading. In an article asking the age-old question – whether golf is exercise or not – it appears amateur golfers are unhealthy. Really! There was even a study done (and you certainly can’t argue with a study)!
We amateur golfers are simply not in good condition, period. So what the article has me wondering is: Should I be surprised? Was it necessary for a “study” to be done to learn of this revolutionary information?
Do you think people who enjoy other sports fall into the same unhealthy category as amateur golfers? If so, why have I never seen those articles before? It’s funny how no one cares if the guys playing Tuesday night softball are fat. No one cares if a few guys who get together on Saturday morning for a game of basketball are out of shape. I don’t see any “studies” or articles about these guys. So why is it that people are concerned whether golf is good exercise or not?
First off, let’s start with the difference between “amateur” golfers and “amateurs” in any other sport. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word “amateur” as: “One who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession.”
Based on that definition, everyone who occasionally plays golf is considered an amateur. But the problem is most people have their own take on the word “amateur.” When most people hear or use the word “amateur,” the implication is more along the lines of a collegiate athlete, a “semi-pro” or a person who is intent on turning pro. But if everyone out on a public golf course is considered an “amateur,” then why are the guys playing a game of pick-up basketball not referred to as “amateurs?” When I sing in the shower, am I considered an amateur vocalist? The little lady certainly doesn’t think so.
Now consider this: According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), 66.3 percent of the general public in the US is considered overweight or obese. It seems kind of silly to narrow it down to just golfers when two out of every three people in the country have the same problem, whether they play golf or not! So, what does golf have to do with it? People in general are overweight. But at least we golfers are out of the house doing something.
So, is golf exercise? My answer: Who cares? Golf should not be about exercise! Do you think Tiger Woods stays in top physical condition by playing golf? Come on! He walks a few hundred yards, stops for a minute, swings a club, walks a couple hundred yards more, swings a club again, walks a bit more and wanders around a patch of grass for a few minutes. He then, more or less, repeats this 17 times (not too mention someone else is carrying his clubs for him)!
In the article I mentioned earlier, I read a line comparing the body of Tiger Woods to that of a 71-year old retiree playing a muni in Texas. Now obviously there is no real comparison and I’m sure very few golfers (or anyone for that matter) are in as good physical condition as the great Tiger Woods. But this guy is 71 and still playing the sport he enjoys! What made me chuckle is that this fact was completely overlooked!
Which brings me to this: Why are more golfers out of shape than people who play other sports? It’s very simple: The age range. How many 60 year olds do you know that are still playing basketball? How many 50 year olds are still playing football? How many 70 year olds still play softball? See what I mean? Yet all of these people fall into the very large age range of golfers.
My point is, for most people, golf is not a competitive sport, but rather a hobby. Something we do for fun. Some people collect stamps. Some people build model railroads. Some people play golf. I play golf for just that reason…fun. I spend some time with the guys, do something I enjoy, have lunch and drink a couple beers. Again, it’s for fun. If I get exercise at the same time, great! But that’s not what I play golf for.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for people who want to be in great shape, go to the gym or to the health food store. In the meantime, I’ll be on the course not getting enough exercise. Check back with me when I’m 75 and still doing the same thing.