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'Boring' Survey Proves That Golf Isn't for Everyone, and That's Alright

By: | Wed 17 Jan 2018 | Comments

MANY of those of who love golf have been miffed by the results of a survey which ranked golf as the most boring sport on the planet, with cricket not far behind.

If you follow social media you will know that there has been quite a response from golfers. Forgive me, but I cannot understand what all the fuss is about. The first thing that needs to be said is that those who sent golf to the bottom of the class obviously don't play the game, have probably hardly ever watched it and don't know their Tiger Woods from their Bobby Jones, or their Jordan Spieth from their Jack Nicklaus. "Rory McIlroy? Isn't he the Leinster fly-half?"

Before we go any further, there are one or two things to consider. If you have ever actually attended a professional golf tournament you will surely agree that it is not always a great experience. If you decide to follow the leaders, the chances are that you will hardly get to see them playing a shot as you jostle for position with fellow spectators. And if somebody up ahead is ripping the course apart the only way you will know about it is by keeping an eye on the scoreboard. You will probably also get drenched as it nearly always seems to rain.

Go to a football, cricket, rugby snooker or tennis match and the action unfolds before your eyes. You don't miss a thing. Go to a golf tournament and you miss almost everything that is relevant, apart from being able to say afterwards: "I was there. I didn't see much, but I was there!" It is for this very reason that so many tournaments now have huge TV screens near the beer tent, allowing fans to watch the action while quaffing their favourite tipple.

But doesn't it defeat the whole object of the exercise? Why on earth would you pay for tickets to go and watch the action on a giant TV screen when you could stay at home and do the same thing for nothing? It is because the people who do so are fans. Proper fans. People who get golf.

Lots of people perceive cricket to be boring. Those people, almost without exception, don't play the game, and have never done so. Cricket has a loyal, core following. If you watched the Ashes unfold in Australia you cannot fail to have been struck by just how many England fans packed the grounds, even though they probably suspected in advance that Joe Root's Test side were going to lose.

They are cricket lovers, people who understand the game and can see beyond the maiden overs, the lulls in play when barely a run is scored. The truth is that it takes almost as much skill to see off a maiden over as a batsman as it does to bowl one. But don't waste your breath trying to explain that to somebody who doesn't like cricket. I mean, how would you begin to extol the virtues of a match that can last for five days without a result at the end of it all? The fact is that some of the most thrilling and most entertaining Tests have been draws when a batsman has heroically hung about, refusing to give up his wicket as the opposing bowlers tear in.

And it is the same with golf. Sadly, there are those who have preconceived ideas about this wonderful game of ours. "It is boring." "It is played by old men and women." "It is for posh people." "Everybody who plays golf has a plum in their mouth." "They all drink gin and tonic." "It costs a fortune."

We could, of course, pull our hair out. Or we could just accept the fact that there are some people for whom the idea of spending four hours in the fresh air is abhorrent. We live in an era of instant gratification, where social media is king and our children grow up seeing mobile phones, tablets and laptops as an extension of their very being. For many, even the idea of spending 90 minutes watching a football match is too long - especially when you add in travelling time, getting to the ground early, a 15-minute break at half-time and then fighting the crowds to get out of the ground before getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way home.

Fortunately, there aren't many traffic jams on the golf course – just that infuriating fourball in front who simply won't let you play through. But you don't let it bother you because you are playing the greatest game on earth and you are outside in the open air - away from your mobile phone, tablet and laptop!

And think on this: if all those people who voted golf as the world's most boring sport suddenly decided that they wanted to start playing it, just imagine how congested our golf courses would become. If you play golf, you get hooked on it. If you don't, then you really have no idea what the fuss is all about. And long may it be thus.

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