Whatever else can be said about golf, there is no doubt that over the years it has come to be seen as something of a rich man’s sport. While the same accusation is leveled at tennis periodically, the fact of the matter is that any two children with a few dollars in their pocket can buy a racket each and a few tennis balls, draw a line across some sidewalk and play a game. Golf equipment has traditionally been more expensive to buy, and it is hard to recreate a proper golf course in your back yard, so there has been limited opportunity for kids from lower-income families to make a start in golf.
Increasingly, in order to make the game of golf more equal, there have been adaptations made to increase its accessibility. Among these adaptations have been simpler courses in less well-off areas with more affordable memberships. It is now possible to buy discount golf clubs which serve perfectly well for beginners, and slowly but surely the class gap in golf is narrowing. Where once it was seen as a rich white man’s sport, the presence of stars such as Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie (whatever their class background) has convinced people that you don’t need to be from old money, or male, to play.
Discount golf is obviously not open to as many possibilities as the wider game. The more money you have the better courses you can afford to play. But the chance for young working-class players with natural talent to make an impact in professional golf is there now, where it wasn’t before.