From a participation point of view, anyway, according to this BBC Sport report.
More worryingly for golf in England, participation has fallen by about 180,000 in eight years. Cycling, on the other hand, gained about 270,000 pedal-pushers in the last year alone. This figure does not include people tootling to work or down to the local. Cycling waxes while golf wanes.
And a fun phrase here:
Golf and cycling overlap in terms of their socio-economic profiles. Both sports can be reasonably cheap, but they can also be eye-wateringly expensive. Golf has always had players with ‘all the gear and no idea’, but cycling also has its own somewhat pejoratively named demographic: ‘Mamils’, or ‘middle-aged men in Lycra’.
This is why I do all my cycling in regular old cargo shorts. I’m under no illusion that I need $200 in body-hugging clothes to add 0.1 mph to my blazing 8 mph top speed.
But speaking as someone who is equally incompetent in each sport, I can see a few pros and cons here.
In cycling’s favor:
- Flexible scheduling. Go whenever you’re free from work.
- Actual aerobic exercise.
- No looking for a lost bike in the woods while cursing your slice.
- Groups of three, five, two or one are perfectly acceptable. No waiting for a foursome.
In golf’s favor:
- Much easier on your backside.
- If you hit the wall, it’s in the literal sense, and you just pick up your ball and move on.
- No dismounting on ridiculous uphills.
- I actually find it less of a pride issue to get skunked on the golf course than I do to have 60-year-old dudes in lycra ripping past me.
Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off to yoga.