In 2016 when the Olympics arrive in Rio de Janeiro, the event will be historic in the minds of sports buffs for two reasons. Firstly, it will be the first time that the games have ever been held in Brazil, and secondly it will be the first time for over a century that the games have featured golf as a medal sport. This was decided in 2009, and has naturally made a lot of people in the world of golf very excited. Although undoubtedly there will be some players active today who will have retired by 2016, the presence of golf at the Olympics will make some extend their career by that little bit longer, so that they can feature in this historic event.
Golf at the Olympics will be something of a novelty both for golf fans and for lovers of the Olympics. The format of a typical golf tournament is not something that is often seen at the games, taking place over four days and on its own dedicated venue which cannot be used for any other sport. Nonetheless, golf now finds itself in the same position as tennis – winning all of the majors in one year is known as a Grand Slam, and adding the Olympic title makes it a Golden Grand Slam.
The chance to be the first Olympic Golf gold medallist for more than a century is sure to make the event one of the most competitive golf tournaments in history. Will it be won by a giant of the game, or allow a relative also-ran to make a name for themselves? We’ll find out in 2016.
Part of the attraction for many golfers lies in the fact that there is such a strong social factor attached to the game. It is common for golfers to play 18 holes and then wind down in what is known to many golfers as the 19th hole – the clubhouse. Golf has long been considered as one of the sports where you can afford to go for a relaxing drink after the game – unlike with football or tennis, you haven’t done much running and muscle recovery times are shorter. When you don’t have those recovery times to worry about, a drink is less of a problem.
However, many people view the clubhouse as a bastion of sexism. There are some clubs which are “Members Only” and which do not allow women to join – therefore taking a place in the mind of many as a place where the player can go to be away from the wife and kids. How true this is really depends on the player, the club, and to a certain extent the wife and kids. One thing that is in no doubt whatsoever is that without the clubhouse, golf would probably be less popular among a number of amateurs.
Taking up golf is something that many people do for the social connections and for business reasons. Many a big business deal has been sealed at the end of 18 holes over a drink in the clubhouse. Golf will retain that aspect for as long as golf, people, and business exist.
Anyone who enjoys golf is a fantastic person for whom to buy gifts. The huge range of golf merchandise out there on the market compares very favorably with just about every other sport. There are clubs, bags, balls and tees for a start, but these really do scratch the surface of what you can give a keen golfer for a birthday, Christmas or anniversary present. The only limit seems to be your imagination. The best presents are often the most personal ones – so give a little thought to what the golfer in your life would like to receive.
Joke presents are a very popular niche, and can make for the most memorable presents. Many people find that the old jokes – like the exploding golf ball – are the best, as they can be given completely straight-faced as a “little token present” and when used on the golf course or driving range will suddenly do the job they were meant to do, much to the amusement of all concerned.
Then again, there are several pieces of golf merchandise that can enable the keen golfer to get a little nostalgia or experience the greatest moments, the best courses, and the finest players in golf history. A video game, for example, lets them pit their wits against the best golfers in the world on the most testing courses of all. A DVD will let them see how the top players have managed to build their game, and can even give them some tips on how to get the best swing. Finally, a few books on golfing tips can be invaluable to someone who takes their game very seriously.