Race Appropriate Sports: Is Golf Considered More Appropriate for Whites Compared to Racial Minorities?



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For various reasons, certain races tend to play particular sports. Sports with low costs of participation (e.g., basketball and football) have higher percentages of minority participants relative to sports with high costs of participation (e.g., golf). In addition to the cost of participation being a deterrent, stereotypes can also play a role into who plays various sports. Certain races tend to feel most competent in a particular sport (e.g., African Americans in basketball). This study focuses on the degree to which stereotypes contribute to the under representative rates of minorities in golf, compared to their overrepresented White counterparts. Data were collected from 217 students at a large US public university. A pilot test was used to develop a scale depicting the "general golfer." In the primary study, participants used a 7-point scale to rate the degree to which the "general golfer," Whites, Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans exhibited these characteristics. Examples of these characteristics include "refined", "etiquette", and "skillfulness."

The scale items were all reliable. The correlation between the general golfer and Whites was the strongest (r = .50), followed by Asians (r = .36), Hispanics (r = .29), and African Americans (r = .23). The correlation between the general golfer and Whites was significantly stronger than correlations between the general golfer and African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, t's > 2.3, p's < .05. In addition, Whites were viewed as more appropriate for golf relative to racial minorities.

Stereotypes can influence which races people view as appropriate and not appropriate for golf. These stereotypes can in turn impact participation, or lack thereof, of certain races in golf. If certain racial groups are not considered appropriate for a sport in which mental strength, etiquette, and persistence are valued, this could also impact access to jobs in which these characteristics are also valued. In addition, these stereotypes can potentially lead to self-limiting behavior by the negatively affected races.