Golf is one of the most demanding sports both mentally and physically. The game takes a toll on you physically which shows over time. The best players spend almost as much time in the gym as they do on the course. Golf can be connected to Eric Dunning’s “Dynamics of Modern Sport” because PGA Tour players are sacrificing a majority of their leisure time to become the best at their sport. In relation to Dunning’s philosophy; as PGA players become more competitive, their professionalism increases and amateur ethos becomes prevalent.
In golf, there are many amateur players who compete in various tournaments to qualify for the professional level. It requires a great support team, which usually includes a coach and a caddy. Players like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have made it successfully to the professional level, but just like everyone else, they started as amateurs. They are some of the most diligent and hard working professional athletes — oftentimes practice and tournaments will take precedence over family and friends. They realized that in order to have a competitive nature come naturally, they needed to train effectively. This idea of competitive nature is brought up in the Dunning argument when he states “that sport is becoming indistinguishable from work”. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy would have to disagree heavily with this statement. These players are often seen doing many fun activities such as yachting, racing exotic cars, and building lavish homes; which would contradict Dunning’s point.
On the PGA (Professional Golf Association) Tour, golfers are on strict regimes just like in any other professional sport. They spend hours a day honing their strengths and improving their weaknesses. They walk countless miles to make all the necessary course management preparations before a competition. They travel a great amount of time which leads to minimal time spent with their family. PGA Tour players usually all have a coach that assists them in the mental and physical processes of the game. When PGA players sign up for a tournament, it is a 6 or 7 day commitment. Players usually arrive on Monday and play practice rounds Tuesday and Wednesday. Once Thursday hits, they have 4 straight days of competitive golf, which lasts about 4-5 hours a day. In addition, they usually spend 2-3 hours hitting golf balls once their round is complete. Most of these points exemplify Dunning’s viewpoint about having an increase in competitive nature.
Most players may go 2-3 months before returning home. It is hard to imagine a commitment like that for a sport, but it’s a sacrifice that is made when making a transition from amateurism to professionalism. During the offseason, PGA players work just as hard to make sure that their games will be at the same level for the following season as where they left off in the previous season. For many, there is no true “off-season”. Additionally, when they are not working on their game, they are either participating in philanthropy or shooting commercials for various golf brands. In essence, Dunning makes it clear that when you compete at a high level such as the PGA Tour, your choice is second to that of your profession.