Latest News

No need for muscle shirts in golf

Are golfers athletes?

This question comes up from time to time and is best answered with a sideways glance, a rolling of the eyes and this reply:

Who cares?

When you're standing with friends on the first tee with the sun shining and the grass greener than green and there are all sorts of possibilities waiting out there, you aren't thinking about how athletic you look or feel. You don't see a lot of muscle shirts in golf. You don't hear much talk about performance enhancing drugs, although some have been known to smooth out their swings with a beta blocker called Budweiser.

I have explained this before and will repeat it here for the benefit of those who don't understand ankle socks and saddle shoes, purple shirts and $500 drivers (me neither), secondary rough and why putts that don't get to the hole rarely go in.

Athletes? No, golfers don't run unless they stole something and there's not a lot of that in the game. They don't block people, except in the buffet line. They don't jump, except when they're about to step on a snake.

They don't lift anything heavier than a glass. They don't throw anything heavier than a golf club. They don't swim fast or far, although from time to time someone will fall into a pond trying to retrieve a golf ball, which their playing partners think is really funny.

Their only "citius, altius, fortius" is a Bubba Watson tee shot. They don't wear pads or helmets, although there are some knee braces found among the seniors. They don't kick anything but their putters and don't tear a lot of ACLs. They don't grunt a lot, although they do mutter to themselves.

They don't do a lot of spitting like baseball players. When they scratch, they do so discreetly, unlike baseball players.

Golfers can usually make it through a career without suffering a hemorrhage or a concussion, unless they get conked by a wayward shot or walk into somebody's backswing, which really smarts.

Are golfers athletes? Put it this way - you see a lot of players from other sports playing golf, some of them very well, but you never see a golfer play football or basketball or baseball at a high level. They may throw out the first pitch or toss the coin to see who kicks off but that's about it. They wave to the crowd, then go someplace safe and have a beer.

Oh, by the way, almost forgot, golfers do sweat like real athletes. Don't know if you're interested in that.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer