Is golf a noun or a verb?


When talking about the act of playing the sport of golf, should you use the word "golf" as a noun or a verb? Believe it or not, the answer to this question is split down the middle. Which of the following phrases is grammatically correct:

  • "I play golf."
  • "I golf."

I asked this exact question to my Twitter followers in a poll the other day. Surely the masses would decide once and for all which option is correct.

I was wrong.

Nearly 50/50 folks, and those results don't account for the emails and replies I received from passionate defenders of their respective stance.

This issue has been addressed by many of my favorite sites. Ryan Ballengee of The Golf News Net seemingly settled this debate earlier in the year, agreeing that golf is "not a verb." There are pages on the topic at both the Sand Trap and The Hackers Paradise. Clearly there should be agreement by now.

Make no mistake: "golf" is only a noun. It is never, ever, ever a verb.


Don't believe me? Would it ever be appropriate to say "I basketball?" Or "I tennis?" Or "I football?"

Of course not. You'd be shunned as an outcast. Children would be kept away from you at a safe distance. Therapy would be recommended if not mandated.

And don't get me started on bowlers. There isn't enough time in the day to address that lot, but the verdict remains the same.

So the next time someone in your foursome makes the obscene mistake of using "golf" as a verb, be patient, take a deep breath, and correct them politely yet with conviction.