Why is golf so commonly played by footballers?

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 20, 2020 14:49

Despite their apparent differences in relation to format, there are surprisingly many similarities between golf and football regarding transferable skills. Primarily, this, along with the enjoyment that they have for the game, is why many top-level footballers opt to play golf in their time away from the pitch as opposed to other available sports. So, with that in mind, let’s consider why many top-level footballers opt to play golf, in addition to looking at a couple of players who are heavily involved with both sports.

The Skills Required for Success are Similar

Fundamentally, composure and concentration are two of the principal transferable skills between the sports. Given that both have game-winning elements, such as last-minute penalties and short-distance round-winning putts, possessing the ability to stay calm in the decisive moments is pivotal in both professions. Despite the fact that the involvement of footballers in golf usually occurs in a non-professional setting, the drive to win that is common within top-level competitors will always remain. As a result, because golf is an individual sport, it can help to prepare the mind for one-on-one footballing situations, such as set-pieces.

Former England footballer Alan Shearer. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Moreover, in recent years, active rest has been encouraged by global sports scientists to ensure that athletes get the most from their workouts. This, to a degree, can help to explain the ever-present love that footballers have for golf as both require participants to be physically fit. Compared to their usual training schedules, which are generally of high intensity and can stretch across numerous sessions, the club-based sport enables them to use many of their muscles while staying active, albeit in a more relaxed environment.

Which Successful Players are Also Avid Golfers?

It’s testament to the transferable skills between the two that numerous world-class footballers frequently play golf in their spare time. For those who are fans of both sports, it will come as no surprise to hear that Gareth Bale is one of the most successful modern-day footballers to also be associated with golf, having built a small-sized course in the garden of his UK home.

By his own admission, the Welshman has previously stated that the club-centered sport helps to keep him calm while also providing him with an escape from the world of football. Furthermore, the 30-year-old winger has, due to his admiration for golf, been nicknamed the “golfer” of the Real Madrid squad.

While, on the football pitch, James Milner is part of a side that are among the favorites to win numerous trophies with Liverpool betting, he, like Bale, turns to golf as an alternative to football, with the two even running into each other on a Spanish course back in 2018. Moreover, away from personal participation, the Leeds-born midfielder runs his own golf management agency, known as White Rose Sports Management, in which he seeks to mentor the latest generation of up-and-coming players.

A Relationship that Will Continue for Many Years to Come

Ultimately, it’s clear that the transferable skills between both golf and football are proving advantageous in not only strengthening mental attributes but also sustaining an active lifestyle. As highlighted by Bale, golf provides high-pressured athletes with a calming escape from the action-packed nature of the football industry. Furthermore, Milner’s recent move into management is an indication that the flourishing relationship between both sports is only likely to grow stronger in the coming years.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 20, 2020 14:49
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