Is minigolf a sport? It isn't in the UK!
Before you climb on your high horse, remember that all sport is daft, invented by man to idle away a life.
What is the definition of sport? Dictionaries define it as a competitive activity or game. The EU defines it as
"Sport" means all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels. (Article 2 Definition and Scope of the European Sports Charter)
Currently the Sports Councils recognise 112 activities. From time to time they are asked to consider the recognition of new activities, but this does not mean that they decide what is or is not a sport. - Really?
They operate a recognition procedure - agreed jointly with the four National Sports Councils - for identifying those activities with which they should be associated and which they should help to develop.
The principal criteria against which the Councils assess new activities are that the activity must involve: physical skills, physical effort, and physical challenge.
Eye-ball coordination and steadiness of hand are essential. A competition can go for days and it is normal to practice on World and European Championship courses for one week prior to the event on the standardised courses being used.
Other criteria include whether the activity:
How is Motor Cycling distinct from Motor Sports - 2 wheels instead of 4? Camogie from hurling - it's played by women only? How is Roller Hockey distinct from Skater/Street Hockey? Pony Trekking isn't Equestrian? Life Saving is different to Surf Life Saving? Does it matter if your patron is the Duke of Edinburgh? Sombo wrestling isn't wrestling then? So some sports that are acceptable aren't unique. The word is mini golf fails here being a miniature version of golf, like table tennis is a miniature form of tennis. Hold on what about rugby, both Union and League use the same ball, how can they be unique? Luge and Bobsleigh use the same runs that's not very unique is it? Where do sports involving more than one recognised activity fit in? e.g. triathlon, modern pentathlon and biathlon. It appears that sports that have already been recognised can't be unrecognised, even if they fail this criterion - which some do.
Distinct from golf The differences between golf, miniature golf, putting and pitch & putt.
But "An informal version of golf played on a series of short obstacle courses." - (Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 2002)
Crazy Golf "a form of putting in which balls have to be hit past, through, over, etc obstacles such as humps, tunnels, bends, etc to reach the hole." (Chambers, 1998)
What - like Dragon boating, Luge and Bobsleighing? I'd never even heard of bicycle polo. I've got absolutely nothing against the aforementioned sports, I'd love to go bobsleighing - but where? And at what cost? One of the parameters in the Sports Ministers remit is for social inclusion. Everyone is welcome to play minigolf and it's widely available throughout the UK. I see minigolf as the perfect introduction to golf for children, the transferable skills are obvious and it's much more fun!
I didn't know there was a Yoga championship. Minigolf is played competitively within the UK to the BMGA rules, a subset of the World Minigolf Sport Federation rules. There is a British Championship and a number of other competitions. World and European Championships occur every other year.
It's essential in Yoga this. It would seem then that this is not a prerequisite. In minigolf do you go for the hole in one or lag? The correct choice of specialist minigolf ball given the condition of the run, the humidity and temperature is essential.
What - like Dragon boating, Luge and Bobsleighing? There are probably more than 5000 playing in Skegness on one sunny day.
So minigolf passes all those unlike some of the sports mentioned above.
Another stumbling block but separate issue is recognition of the Governing Body. So you can have a recognised activity such as Baton Twirling but the Governing Body may not be recognised. Why is this? - according to Richard Caborn, Minister for sport, department of culture media and sport (Monday July 23, 2001 as reported verbatim in the Guardian) "There's 130 ish sports and over 400 organisations purporting to represent them". And what is the effect of not having a recognised Governing Body? You get NO funding. So what he's effectively saying is you may think your sport is unique but we want you to be governed by some body that has not got a blind bit of interest in what you're doing and consequently will keep all the funding for themselves. So no funding unless you get your own Governing Body recognised. What difference does it make that there are 400 organisations representing 130 ish sports? Are the poor old civil servants not able to cope? Not mocking civil servants here, I used to be one. It supposedly simplifies everything - well no, it simplifies everything for his department but simply shifts the problem further down the line. Business background my hat! Here's a solution for you, two Governing Bodies - Ball Games and Non-Ball Games. Me, I relish diversity.
recognition of an activity does not lead automatically to the recognition of a
governing body for that activity. Applicant bodies are assessed against a number
of criteria. These include the requirements for applicant bodies to:
Why aren't professional sports funding there own growth and future? Why is it necessary for public money to be used on the Football Association and Athletics to name but two.
Is Sports Council funding being kept from minority sports so they remain that way?
Who decides what goes on the census forms when it comes to sport?
The big money associations have too much influence.
When minigolf is part of the World Games (IWGA) will the Sports Council recognise it then? The World Minigolf Sport Federation is a full member of AGFIS and consequently recognised by the IOC but not recognised by the Sports Council - go figure! Article
Here's a copy of a recent press release from the WMF (June 2003):
WMF is now full member by AGFIS (see
also the following report and further informations on our website http://www.minigolfsport.com
WMF has achieved full-membership status in the GAISF/AGFIS
After three years as a provisional member in the GAISF/AGFIS, the WMF has achieved one of the targets since many years: to get a full-membership in the GAISF. WMF was unanimously elected at the General Assembly in Madrid on May 16th during the large sport congress, Sportaccord. WMF were represented at the General Assembly by the president Klaus Engels and the Media officer Kjell Henriksson.
This is a milestone in the history of Minigolf and it was possible not only that we fulfilled the requirements, but also through good contacts in the GAISF council and that we have showed our interest when we have been present at the General Assembly for many years.
To become a member in the GAISF means that itīs possible for WMF to apply for a membership in the World Games Association. During the congress there were some contacts with the President of the Worldgames, Mr Ron Froehlich and he explained to us that they have stopped all new applications in order to set up new rules for the World Games. He meant that itīs not fair to elect new members when they cannot take part in the World Games that has been very successful with many new sports.
Nevertheless the WMF will start the progress to get a membership in the World Games Association and we will try to reach next target: to take part in future World Games.
To become a member in the GAISF is also important for some of our member nations as they can receive financial support from their sport organisations/governments.
WMF Media Officer
I'd be grateful if any other sports having trouble getting recognition by the Sports Council could contact me to discuss the problems they are encountering. Together we can make the Sports Council truly representative of sport in the UK. It would also be very handy if newly recognised sports could let me know how they managed it. Thanks.
Crikey, if minigolf was in the Commonwealth games we should win GOLD!
As ever any other comments / criticisms gratefully received.
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