It's official! Golf is now a new Olympic sport; it will make its debut at the 2016 Games. The inclusion of golf into the roster of Olympic events has long been advocated by major federations of the sport. But is the inclusion of golf worth the lobbying and politicking effort?
The Olympic Games has always served as an important platform, with which lesser known sports can showcase their respective games and gain much needed exposure as a result. For many of these obscure sports, being part of the Olympics is their only chance of survival. Popular sports such as soccer and the likes are part of the Olympics as well, though their significance is greatly diminished due to the absence of the sports' top stars.
In perspective, the choice of golf as an Olympic sport appears to be a curious one. Golf is already fairly popular in most developed countries. Moreover, the sport's popularity is growing exponentially in key emerging economies like China and Brazil. There is very little benefit to be gained from the inclusion.
However, it is quite understandable that fans of golf would want to use this opportunity to increase the game's exposure in countries where golf remains relatively unknown. Unfortunately, golf is and has never been an inclusive sport. It costs a lot of money to play golf; it costs even more money to develop golf courses and maintain them. Affordability is a major issue today and is likely to continue to be an issue far into the future. Being an Olympic event won't make the game any more popular than it currently is.