CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Golf is more than just the greatest game ever played

Posted by: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County Extension

For those who turned their noses up at my blog title, hear me out. I love sports. Most sports. I love to watch and talk about sports and orchestrate silly office pools on who will win the big game. But I really love golf. It's a game of emotion, heartbreak and joy. A couple weeks ago you couldn't help but feel empathy for the player Greg Eason who shot two rounds in the 90s (including a 15 on the 18th hole), but then came back with a 68 to complete the tournament. Whether you have a good or bad day on the course, it always calls you back to try again.
"Are you too good for your home?!"
Though Arnold Palmer is usually given credit for this quote, Robert Forgan, a golf club manufacturer in the early 1800s in Scotland, actually spoke the words, "Golf is deceptively simple, endlessly complicated. A child can play it well, and a grown man can never master it. Any single round is full of unexpected triumphs and seemingly perfect shots that end in disaster. It is almost a science, yet it is a puzzle without an answer. It is gratifying and tantalizing, precise and unpredictable. It requires complete concentration and total relaxation. It satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening, and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented."

Yep. That pretty much says it all. Golf is great!

But there's a lot of negative press about golf. That it's expensive, takes too long to play, takes up valuable real estate and that golf courses are bad for the environment. Those are all ideas to blog about on another day, but I wanted to point out how charitable the golf industry is and the benefits it provides to people in need.

Golf 20/20 is a collaboration of the various organizations in the golf industry. They just released their annual charitable giving report and golf generated $3.9 billion in charitable impact in 2016. This number is roughly 1% of all U.S. charitable giving. Go golf!
Courtesy of Golf 20/20
Compared to other professional sports associations, golf charitable impact is greater than MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL combined. Boom. Golf throws the gauntlet.

In all seriousness, charities and donations have always been at the heart of golf. Last year alone there were over 140,000 charitable golf events that raised an average of $26,400 each. Pro golfers also have their own organizations, such as the Tiger Woods Foundation, focused on helping kids be successful on the course and in life. Phil Mickelson, with his wife Amy, started the Phil and Amy Foundation, which supports youth and family initiatives. Ernie Els is a champion for autism, after his son, Ben, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Els Center for Excellence, which hasn't yet opened, will focus on an educational platform that gives children with ASD the ability to learn and receive therapy. The Center will also connect the autism community with the latest research. The Drive, Chip and Putt Championship puts kids on the greens at Augusta through qualifiers at local levels. This event, founded by the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America and the USGA, is free for any kid age 7-15 to participate in and focuses on building the game of golf.
The Drive, Chip and Putt Championship arm pump!
When I started playing golf at age 10, I did it so I could be with my family since everyone played golf. I used my grandma's old set of clubs until I got my first real set in high school. I still carry the first putter I used. His name is "Blackie". So give golf a chance or at least give it credit for all the good it does for our communities. Golf in Colorado is a huge industry, with over 250 courses generating $1.7 billion in indirect and direct economic output (2002 figure).

I'm patiently waiting for spring. And for those who needed a reminder, the Masters is just around the corner. Mark your calendars for April 6-9, 2017 and get your couch ready!


  1. Alison.... I am with you on all of the above. ; ]

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