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Joe Cavazos 08-20-2007 05:23 PM

In defense of Golf
(This post is borne more from boredom than any burning desire)

I get the feeling that when most CrossFitters talk about "sport," they have in their mind football, rugby, soccer, basketball... classic athletic sports. There is one sport, however, that I feel does not get the recognition it deserves as a valuable training and application of some of the 10 physical skills honed by CrossFit. That sport would be Golf.

If a good deal of the CrossFit community looks down on people who do bicep curls and quarter-squats, then I can only imagine how little they would think of a sport whose primary participants are fat old guys who smoke cigars and drink beer while playing. This is something I can't pretend doesn't exist; the nature of golf, the lack of sustained physical exertion, means it can be played by these types. But the primary benefits of Golf are not related to its intensity. Golf, you'll find, will apply your flexibility, coordination, balance, and accuracy.

One of the most overlooked aspects of a good golfer. Among the general population, regular golfers have superior upper-body flexibility, and professional golfers have almost staggering flexibility. Quite impressive considering many of them are between 40 and 60 years old. People know John Daly for being this fat slob who can hit the ball far. What most overlook, though, is that he gets his massive distance from his incredible flexibility.

Next time you're working out, grab a broomstick and try to swing it as far back as he does. You'll find it more difficult than you think. But even discounting Daly as some kind of genetic freak, everyone can benefit from the flexibility provided by Golf, especially those wishing to remain spry as they enter old age.

Anyone trying to pick up Golf will immediately respect the amount of coordination required. If you think the Olympic Lifts are technical, the Golf swing is easily 10 times more-so. The sequence of movements, the firing of muscles is so complex and so time-specific you'll feel like an air-traffic controller at LAX on...whenever the busiest flying day is. You need to be in complete control of your body to even hit a Golf shot. Next time you're at a book store, wander over to the Golf section and notice the absurd amount of books just on the Golf swing. It is a fearsome beast indeed, but developing a solid Golf swing will give you surprising body and muscle control.

Not much to say here, other than that balance plays a huge part in the Golf swing. There is a lot of movement in the Golf swing, and even more power involved, and since the difference between a good shot and a bad shot is 1 or 2 centimeters on the face of the club, anchoring your body solidly and controling the energy you're creating is of prime importance.

Related to coordination, I feel. As I just mentioned, the difference between a good swing and a bad swing is frustratingly small. You need to know what to do, but more importantly, you need to do it with such precision, and with such consistency, many people simply give up the sport altogether. For an example of the sheer accuracy developed by Golf, I present this famous Nike commercial:

You probably can't do that. Tiger Woods can. In fact, almost every serious Golfer can. But you can be sure Tiger Woods did not spend years of his life practicing that diversion. But the time he spent practicing and playing Golf elevated his accuracy and hand-eye coordination to levels where he easily could do that after a little practice.

It's fun, damn it.

Anyway, when looking for a sport to apply the benefits of CrossFit, I'd highly recommend Golf. You can get a basic set of clubs for just over $100, go to a local Golf course or driving range and get cracking.

David Vessey 08-20-2007 06:53 PM

Re: In defense of Golf
As a future Air Force officer, I thought it was my duty to play golf? :D

Kidding aside, I just started playing a few rounds this summer and have enjoyed it so far. It can get very frustrating, but also very rewarding when you hear that good solid smack and see the ball go (more or less) where you want it to.

David Wood 08-20-2007 07:09 PM

Re: In defense of Golf
The weird thing about golf is, after the first day or two (when you're just horribly bad), you can get around the course in, well, horrible scores . . . but just once, during each horrible round, you will hit a simply beautiful shot. The club will strike the ball perfectly, the sound will be the awesome "click", and the ball will go soaring 200 yards down the fairway, straight and true.

At that moment, you can be come addicted, and then spend the rest of the, oh, 140 shots in the round trying to recreate that perfect feeling. It won't happen, but you will keep trying, believing you can will it it into existence.

Derek Maffett 08-20-2007 07:23 PM

Re: In defense of Golf
David, there is a similar thing in archery. You are shooting round after round of arrows and sometimes, seldom, but sometimes, you will hit that perfect bullseye.

Joe Cavazos 08-20-2007 11:33 PM

Re: In defense of Golf
That's one of the neat things about golf. In your average round, no matter how good you get, you'll only have those one or two shots that are exactly what you wanted, and leave you grinning like an idiot. The quality of such shots are proportional to your overall skill, but those are the shots that make the day, and afterwards you'll be telling the tale to anyone who will listen.

John Tuitele 08-21-2007 05:50 AM

Re: In defense of Golf
Yea, I tried golf once. Even took a lesson. When I put the cute little ball on the fancy toothpick, the golf pro said "Remember, the object is to hit the ball as few times as possible....." At that point, I laid down the club and walked away. I figure, having never hit the ball, I could be the greatest golfer in the world. I call it the Zen of golf: the ball never hit.

And I'm saving loads of money. And I don't have to wear plaid pants and knee socks.

"Here's my idea for a game" sez Robin Williams "you knock a ball in a gopher hole......."

Don Stevenson 08-21-2007 06:52 AM

Re: In defense of Golf
I resist taking up golf in case I become a golfer.

Our weightlifting gym is in the same facility as a golf driving range (2 min walk) and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Archery range (5 min drive)

I recently had a go at archery and think i will stick with that when I want to work on my accuracy.

Travis Hall 08-21-2007 10:02 AM

Re: In defense of Golf
My dad is big on golf.
I go sometimes.
Frustrates the hell out of me.
I go from hititng a 3 iron further then most people hit thier drivers one shot, to less then a cautious person putts the next...

I jokingly told my dad next time I played all I was going to bring was 3 iron, an 8 iron, a putter and balls.


Bryan Veis 08-21-2007 10:42 AM

Re: In defense of Golf

Originally Posted by Joe Cavazos (Post 180138)
It's fun, damn it.

I was willing to buy into your premise until you got to this part.

Joe Cavazos 08-21-2007 11:04 AM

Re: In defense of Golf
I can't imagine how that ruined it for you, but alright.

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