The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Golf is not a physical sport

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,119 times Debate No: 44007
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




This is another "fun" debate, for me at least.
Let me clarify my stance before you accept. I DO believe that golf is a sport in the strictest sense of the word, that is, in the competitive and recreational sense only. The definition of "sport": "A source of diversion; recreation." This, I believe is the only way that golf meets the definition of "sport." The word also has another definition: "physical activity engaged in for pleasure; a particular activity (as an athletic game) so engaged in."
This is where golf fails to meet the definition of a sport- in the physical sense of the word. Here is the definition of "physical" that I will be using in this debate: "characterized by especially rough and forceful physical activity."
Golf does not meet this definition. It will be Con's job to argue against this stance.
First round is for acceptance. Best of luck to my opponent.


Challenge accepted!
Debate Round No. 1


Many thanks to Merritt for accepting this debate! My apologies for taking so long to post my first argument. Time has not been on my side lately.

Golf, according to, is the 8th most popular sport in the world. [1] It has about 400 million fans across Europe and the USA, which, thankfully, allows a wealth of information to be available about the intricacies and physics of the sport.

The “Physicality” of Golf
Two of the things that golf fans will run to when trying to defend it as a physical sport are: 1. The fact that players have to tote heavy bags of clubs around all day, and 2. The force of the swing.

Let’s start with the bags of clubs.
These can get pretty heavy, ranging from 30-50 pounds. [2] So this obviously appears to be a valid argument concerning golf being a physical sport. But is it really as physical as other popular games? has a great average calorie calculator that shows you how many calories will be burned for a person of any weight. Let’s look at the calories that will be burned for a 200-pound man in various sports.
Basketball game: 637 calories/hour
Boxing, sparring: 728 calories/hour
Baseball: 364 calories/hour

Football: 728 calories/hour

Ice hockey: 637 calories/hour
Rugby: 819 calories/hour
Soccer: 837 calories/hour

Now for our oh-so-physical game of golf: 319 calories per hour. Not exactly how you would want to lose weight. In fact, one can burn exactly the same amount of calories just shooting hoops, and MORE by skateboarding and fishing out of a stream with waders! [3]
As a matter of fact, one can make a very strong case that NASCAR is much more physical than golf (and a LOT of sports in general). NASCAR drivers experience cockpits that heat up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit while wearing a firesuit, helmet and gloves. This causes them, by sweating, to lose 10 or more pounds in a single race, to say nothing about calories burned! They can experience 2-3 Gs of force in turns on a fast racetrack, roughly the same amount that astronauts experience during space shuttle launches. Forget open-wheel drivers, who sometimes deal with 4-5 Gs! Shaquille O’Neal, an accomplished basketball player, took a few laps in a NASCAR race car and said he can’t remember a game or practice that was more demanding. Show me a golf player who’s bigger and stronger than Shaq! [4] [5] [6]

Golf swing

Golf fans also seem to cry out that learning to swing a golf club correctly is very difficult. I would agree that it is difficult to master accuracy and precision, but impossible? No, and physical, definitely not. According to , a golfer can put up to 4000 pounds, or 18,000 Newtons, of force on the ball. But according to Patrick Drane of the Baseball Research Center, a baseball player, who, by the way, has to reverse a ball coming at him at about 90 miles per hour, can put up to 8000 pounds of force on the ball, which works out to over 35,000 Newtons!! [7] [8]

Now we can look more in detail at the athletics involved. We can look all day at golf players that are in shape and compare them to other strong and fast athletes of other sports, but let’s go the other way and look at the most out-of-shape players in professional sports.

Perhaps the heaviest player in pro golf is Guy Boros. He weighs 265 pounds and is easily recognizable for his large girth. Boros has several parallels in pro baseball, namely Prince Fielder, who weighs 275, and David Ortiz, 250. But their weight doesn’t limit their athletic ability. Prince Fielder has been called the “strongest man in baseball” by his teammates, and David Ortiz bench presses 400 pounds. [9] [10]

Now look at American football. Albert Haynesworth was one of the biggest and heaviest football players ever. But the 6’6, 350-pound monster ran a 4.82 second 40 yard dash at the combine (ok, he was 317 at the time) and could bench press 425 pounds. [11] [12]

Can Guy Boros do any of this? He is overweight, and there’s no indication he can bench press anything other than his bag of golf clubs. In other sports, however, athletes who have a lot of weight are also some of the strongest players in their respective sport. I might also point out that golf is a preferred sport among senior citizens, unlike baseball, basketball and football. Stewart Cink himself, a six-time PGA winner, has admitted that “physically, golf is not super-demanding.” [13]

So far, I am satisfied that I have shown that golf definitely is not “characterized by especially rough and forceful physical activity.” I do not deny that golf contains many skills that take a long time to master, but beyond that, it is not a physical sport. Carrying a bag of clubs around is not near as physical as a basketball game, a football game, a baseball game, or even driving through left turns for 3 hours.

I look forward to Con’s reply.





Merrit forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I extend my arguments.


Merrit forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Either Merritt doesn't want to aruge, or golf really isn't a physical sport. Vote Pro.


Merrit forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by jeffoman24 3 years ago
You don't say...
Posted by redcenturion42 3 years ago
I agree, golf is a sport but not much of a physical one. Oh, and nice picture merrit.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Swagmasterpoopoo 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: FF