or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports. - Page 3

post #37 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

i am a huge fan of many sports... so i feel like chipping in here. i have experienced inter-school tournaments with table-tennis, soccer and tennis.

i have also played hand ball, volley ball, hockey, rugby, football, badminton, bowling, pool with friends and family.

out of all the sports i mentioned, the only professional coaching i had was with tennis. my friends and i picked up the rest of the sports recreationally, and some of us became good enough to compete in inter-school tournaments.

out of the above sports that my friends and i participated in, we could compete with one another immediately without any professional coaching, and had alot of fun while doing so.

i do not believe that my friends and i could approach golf in a similar manner; we would just be too discouraged.

just for the record, 5 team mates from my soccer team dabbled in golf for the past 2 years, and only 2 can break 100 today.
post #38 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
iacus, you are missing the point in my first post that at the very beginning golf is an easier sport. The ball is just sitting there. The pitching wedge isn't that long of a club.
So you've not seen people at the driving range, first learning the game, missing the ball left and right.

Playing at that level (i.e. "just make contact with the golf ball") is comparable to tossing a whiffle ball in the back yard and hitting it with one of those huge plastic bats. Not the long skinny ones, either - those big barreled ones.

And my username is "iacas," not "iacus."

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
Compare that with baseball where even if the pitcher is trying to help you hit the ball (like at practice) it is very easy to whiff time and time again.
That's not a legitimate comparison. Maybe if the pitcher was throwing under-handed and from 30 feet away, but you can't compare someone on the range with just a pitching wedge and just making contact to facing an MLB or even a seasoned pitcher.

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
I've seen this several times... People who are all-around good athlethes, people who play soccer, football (American for the international members), run marathons, just don't have the initial skills to hit a thrown ball with a round bat if they haven't done it since childhood or ever before.
And I've seen good athletes completely whiff a hockey puck. Or not even be able to make contact with a golf ball.

Additionally, the number of major league baseball players (some of them stars) that have said golf is a whole other beast, a whole other level of difficulty, is about all I have to go by re: baseball and golf at the highest levels.

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
but at least they can hit the ball in the general direction of where they are aiming almost every time.
And here I thought the purpose was to hit the ball in the hole.

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
Not great, frankly probably not even good, but in the general direction. These same people will strike out swinging time and time again at slow pitch softball.
I don't agree with that at all.

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
This is what I am talking about -- initial skills taken to play the game. I agree that at the expert/top level of the game, ESPN did not give golf enough credit.
That begs the question, then: at what level were the rankings determined? Golf scored very low on hand-eye coordination, strategy, and nerves, among other things. Those are all VERY big things at the pro stage, of course.

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
But, you take an average person who never golfed before and get them a bucket of range balls and a pitching wedge or 8 iron and let them have at it, and they will hit the ball fairly often and generally in the direction where they aimed it.

Give the average person who never played baseball or softball a bat and a fistful of tokens to the batting cage and they'll just flail away time and time again, hitting maybe 10%.
Golf isn't just about making contact and kind of hitting the ball in roughly the right direction.

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
This is why I think that golf is down there with the company it keeps. Golf has a gentle intial learning curve.
Yeah. That explains why "it's too hard" is one of the biggest reasons why people quit. I've never heard that in a church league (softball). Golf isn't about making contact and sending the ball roughly in the proper direction.

And baseball isn't just about hitting, either.

You've answered in a biased way and failed to talk about the rankings that ESPN used. What about other categories like "nerves" or "flexibility" or whatever other rankings they've used?

The other fact of the matter is that baseball is a team sport. Have a few off weeks and you'll still be fine because you've got your team. You also have only one opponent at a time. Golf at the recreational level has 3+ opponents, or 18 opponents, and no team. At the pro level, you've got 150 opponents.

In baseball you can be a good hitter and a lousy fielder and still make $5M/year. In golf, if you can't putt but you and hit your driver far, you ain't winnin' squat.

So I don't buy it. At any level. I think it's easier to succeed recreationally in baseball/softball, and I think it's easier to succeed at the pro level, too.
post #39 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

And my username is "iacas," not "iacus."
That made my day!

I would state my opinion, but you already got owned.
post #40 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

Originally Posted by Bignose View Post
This is what I am talking about -- initial skills taken to play the game. I agree that at the expert/top level of the game, ESPN did not give golf enough credit.

But, you take an average person who never golfed before and get them a bucket of range balls and a pitching wedge or 8 iron and let them have at it, and they will hit the ball fairly often and generally in the direction where they aimed it.

Give the average person who never played baseball or softball a bat and a fistful of tokens to the batting cage and they'll just flail away time and time again, hitting maybe 10%.

Give the average person who never bowled before a ball, and they'll probably get the hang of it pretty quick. Even an absolulte beginner has probably something like a 2-4% chance of rolling a strike.

This is why I think that golf is down there with the company it keeps. Golf has a gentle intial learning curve. It gets fairly steep fairly quick, but it's initial learning curve is friendly. It is hitting a still ball with a short stick, and almost anybody can do that.
This argument doesn't make sense based on the other sports that are higher on ESPN's list. You are saying that because golf is easy to pick up from the start (which I totally disagree with), it is relegated to the bottom of the list.

Well, alpine skiing is ranked 11th and I could teach just about anybody to snowplow down a hill in a half-day tops. You will still be a crappy skier, but you will have acquired the skills necessary to participate. Even the top sport on the list, boxing, isn't hard to learn how to do. Sure, it's hard to do well and requires all kinds of strength, agility, stamina, etc, etc.

Getting in the ring with the minimal skill set to participate and getting killed is about the same as walking on the golf course with a minimal set of skills and topping, chunking, slicing and shanking your way to a 140 (only without the headache and missing teeth).
post #41 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

You don't need to be snarky about it, guys, it's just a difference of opinon (and a small typo, sheesh).

I guess my experiences have been different that you guys', but I personally know two people who can't hit a slow pitch softball more than about 10% of the time, and yet can hit some pretty decent shots with a PW well more than half the time.

But, it is just an opinion. The whole bloody thing is based on opinions. There's no real need to jump down my throat.
post #42 of 73
Thread Starter 

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

I feel that this point needs to be reinstated:

It seems that this list is for purely physical sports, and leans towards such. However, many physical sports require mental dexerity, and this list does not take in account for that.

Boxing, baseball, hockey, tennis, etc. all require snap-decision/fight-or-flight reactions and fast-twitch musclature, which can be developed over time in the recreational player. Muscle memory is the key factor here.

However, what I think that the ESPN editors aren't seeing is that golf does require the same fast-twitch process because when you execute a golf swing, you're using that same muscle memory that you use when you swing a baseball bat or a tennis racket, or even swinging a punch towards your soon-to-be-on-the-canvas opponent. The only difference is that you plan the movement well in advance, prepare yourself for it, and move only when you're ready.

Golf uses all of the same muscle functions that all of these sports require, but another difference is that the time span that these functions are executed in are far longer. For example, from the time that a tennis ball is served to you or a baseball is pitched to you, your preparation + reaction time are far shorter than what it takes for you to step up to the tee and swing a golf ball.

This can definitely water down the appearance of our sport because all of these things are not apparent. Humans have the attention span of a gnat, especially ESPN editors.

Sorry if I'm rambling a bit here - I just opened a cold one at the beginning of this "essay" and just finished it off now. Cheers!
post #43 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

My 2 cents: I consider myself fairly athletic. Out of the 60 sports in that list I've participated in about 30 of them in one form or another. Some of them certainly required a lot of time and effort to become proficient in, but I was able to get fairly competent in all of them in a relatively short period of time, with the one exception being golf. In that respect it is unlike any other sport... in my experience at least, and in the experience of several other similarly athletic people I've met who've agreed with me about golf being the most difficult sport they've tried to learn.

So I was surprised when the list came out with golf at #51, until I realized that the list is meaningless unless *everyone* who provided input on the ranking had participated in *every* sport in the list. I doubt that is the case - in fact according to the article the panel was made up of "sports scientists,... academicians,... a star two-sport athlete," and "journalists". So only one professional athlete in the whole panel - and even they are a "star" in only two of them.

My point being that you can't possibly rank a sport unless you have more than a passing familiarity with it. A great example: Not to pick on you Erik, but in your most recent podcast you twice mentioned rowing in the context of it being a sport that you were surprised could be considered harder than golf. I suspect though that you've never rowed. It's actually significantly harder than most people think - it's a brutal test of the body's strength and endurance that uses every major muscle group, in which perfect balance is also necessary to keep an 18" wide, top-heavy boat from tipping left or right. (Any imbalance causes one side or the other to dip, causing the oars on that side to drag.) And that balance can only be obtained by every rower in the boat (up to 8 people) being perfectly in synch with each other.

I don't fault anyone for not understanding how hard rowing is, I only point this out as an example of how participation and first-hand experience in a sport is often required to understand its nuances and challenges. Undoubtedly, the reason golf is so low on this list is because the majority of the panel who created the list has not played golf.

- Bill
post #44 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

195 out, in the rough, blind shot to the green, you end up pin high 10' putt for birdie and you ask yourself when no one is looking . . . "how in the world did I just do that?"

40 out, a nice easy pin placement, you try to finesse a pitch but chunk it . . . and you ask yourself . . . "how in the world did I just do that?"

Golf constantly amazes us as we play, it's an amazing experience and never easy. How many golfers have every played a round where they didn't miss hit a shot?

It is certainly one of the the most elusive of sports, always seems just a bit out of reach and just when you feel you're really got it, the wheels come off and you go buy a new driver and rework your game.
post #45 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

what i find funny is how this chart rates boxing, and trackand feild as requiring more flexibility than golf, i do not box but i run track and feild, play basketball,play baseball and ski and tobe completely honest i dont think track and feild requires any flexibility at all, you just need to be able to run long distances relatively fast.
post #46 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

Originally Posted by sacm3bill View Post
My point being that you can't possibly rank a sport unless you have more than a passing familiarity with it. A great example: Not to pick on you Erik, but in your most recent podcast you twice mentioned rowing in the context of it being a sport that you were surprised could be considered harder than golf. I suspect though that you've never rowed. It's actually significantly harder than most people think - it's a brutal test of the body's strength and endurance that uses every major muscle group, in which perfect balance is also necessary to keep an 18" wide, top-heavy boat from tipping left or right.
To be fair back, all I said was that golf finished "well below rowing." That's just a statement of fact. I know rowing is tough. I've rowed (just goofing around) and kayaked (not the same, but it gives me an appreciation). I later said "rowing........ I mean, just the list of things that are above golf is surprising."

My biggest problem was the rankings they gave to "nerve," for example, and "analytic analysis." I wondered aloud on the podcast how "distance cycling" could get more points in "analytic analysis" than golf (4.88 over 2.5???).

Adjust some of the ratings that affect golf to more accurately reflect their actual requirements and perhaps golf moves up in the list.
post #47 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

Sometimes I hit myself over the head when I am watching ESpin.
post #48 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

Why don't we have a poll here and do our own ratings? Obviously, the results would be in favor of golf, but I would think most people on the board have played other sports.

The thing about rating sports also, is within each sport, there are different levels of skill among positions. A point guard in basketball, or a qb in football, or a catcher in baseball, has much more responsibility than most other respective positions.
post #49 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

I think you missed the point of the rankings, it's toughest as in physically hardest to do, not as in toughes to get good at.

Golf, you never actually compete against some one else, well you do in match play, but it's not the same as say playing against some one in ping-pong or tennis. What your apponent did my effect you mentally but it's not like because they hit the ball harder or put more spin on the ball make your shot any harder or easier.
post #50 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

Originally Posted by beung View Post
I think you missed the point of the rankings, it's toughest as in physically hardest to do, not as in toughes to get good at.
I don't think so. If that were the case, badminton would've finished 60th, not 30th. Certainly not above rowing, skiiing, high jump, weight lifting, etc...
post #51 of 73

Re: Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.

Originally Posted by beung View Post
I think you missed the point of the rankings, it's toughest as in physically hardest to do, not as in toughes to get good at.
Not the case, or they'd not have categories like "analytic aptitude" and "nerves" and things.
post #52 of 73

COMMON YOU ALL.  I gold also and I don't call it a sport, its a GAME.  that is why old and fat people can compete in this game.  I also Box and there is absolutely no comparison.  Want to go gold with me and then step in a ring with me and I will show you the difference. I'm not saying golf is hard to do, it is difficult but it does not take endurance or guts to do.  Look at the expert panel, not one boxer on that panel, but I bet if you ask which of them golf, majority would say they do.  I think cheerleaders are more athletic than golf and even fishing.  yes, I golf and I'm decent my handy cap is 14.  i enjoy the game and it takes concentration but no where near athleticism.  

post #53 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

My biggest problem was the rankings they gave to "nerve," for example, and "analytic analysis." I wondered aloud on the podcast how "distance cycling" could get more points in "analytic analysis" than golf (4.88 over 2.5???).

Adjust some of the ratings that affect golf to more accurately reflect their actual requirements and perhaps golf moves up in the list.

I have to agree with you there.  I raced for 12 years on the road, MTB and cyclocross.  Road racing is not analytically tough for the average racer.  You have one basic thought, stay near the front.  You need to understand riding in a pack, wind, what lies ahead on the course, but you have time to think about it.  MTB is a bit tougher because you need to understand the course and the obstacles.  I think golf has much more thinking and analysis required.  Physically the bike sports are more demanding, but skill wise, not nearly.

 

If we are just talking distance cycling, it is even easier on the mind.

 

Once again, ESPN completely F**ks up whatever the work on.  I cringe when ESPN gets the rights to golf and other sport broadcasts.

post #54 of 73

Folks, I played all kind of sports including table tennis, badminton, boxing (trained at national level, by national coach), soccer (varsity), basketball (jv level), baseball, volleyball, football, bowling, billiards, tennis, TKD, and probably a few more I don't remember off my head.  Having done all these sports,  I can not put golf on top of my "hard" list.   IMO, you can achieve high level of proficiency at golf if you have resources - started early, have access to best coaches & equipment, ample time to practice, etc..    In number of other sports I played, I ran into hard limits which I cannot overcome no matter the amount of resource I have access to.  

 

For example, I can't never achieve a national level proficiency (as was in boxing) in basketball, soccer, volleyball, baseball, football, tennis b/c I am at such a physical disadvantage.   Even in boxing, I was constantly battling weight (I have big bone structure) and fighting taller guys with much longer reach (I have short arms).  I had to retire from boxing at age 22 when I realized I cannot advance any further no matter what.  

 

 

And did anyone saying bad things about table tennis saw a world class competition?   It's a completely different sport than what you play at home.  This is another sports that I can't get to certain level no matter how hard I try.   OTOH, there are many stories about (L)PGA players picking up golf later in their life (KC Choi at age 14) and still win at world class level.   This is not possible with most other sports I've quoted above.   

 

Most of us start playing golf at later stage in our lives (I started at age 47, 4 years ago).   That makes it feel like a harder sports than it really is (relatively speaking, of course).   Try picking up boxing at age 47 and work hard for 4 years and you will find that even a 20 year old kid who never put on gloves will knock your silly butt to the mat.  

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Golf Talk
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Golf #51 on ESPN's list of hardest sports.