Seven reasons why MTB is the new golf
Golf has bordered between a recreational sport and a corporate meeting for decades now. It has become as much a part of daily business as paying taxes. Countless deals have been sealed between the front and back nine. But the sport has entered uncharted territory. The monopoly once held by golf now faces stiff competition from the booming mountain bike scene. Here are seven reasons that instead of avoiding the bunkers and sticking to pristine fairways, business meetings are heading into the rough.
1. MTB relieves the frustration that golf causes
A gusty day out on a course can swiftly turn a business meeting sour. It’s not easy to talk business when you’re hacking your way through shrubbery 50 metres from the remainder of your four-ball, who watch on from the freshly mown fairway.
You’d struggle to find an MTB rider who has returned from a trail more frustrated or stressed out than when he began the ride. Splattered with mud, bleeding shins and a cracked helmet – he’ll still be grinning from ear to ear. Nothing quite soothes the soul like pedalling out the stress of the week.
Yes, golf is technically exercise, but chess is also technically a sport. Real exercise takes place on the trails, sweat dripping from your brow as you release endorphins, feeling as good as when you sink that 20-foot putt… only you don’t have to wait another 36 holes to feel it again.
2. A “round” of MTB is easier on the wallet
With memberships averaging R300-R350 and day entries around R30, taking a group of colleagues or clients for a ride isn’t just a little easier on the wallet than golf tends to be – it is at least a 100% cheaper.
There is no denying that equipment will set you back in either sport. And similarly, once the bug bites, you’ll be looking to upgrade and add accessories and apparel to your arsenal every occasion that payday comes knocking.
But once you have the bare necessities, when it comes to MTB it will cost you little to nothing to indulge in the sport.
3. It is much, much healthier
Stress and frustrations aside, we’ve established that MTB is far more rigorous exercise than golf. Both are forms of exercise, but then again a Big Mac and Tim Noakes’ banting burger are both burgers. One is far more good for your health. You don’t lose weight walking a golf course (assuming you haven’t given into the temptation of hiring a nippy golf cart) and the halfway house beer and pie special won’t aid your attempts either.
It should be far easier convincing the wife to let you spend the morning burning calories and drinking from your camel pack, than spending the day on the golf course, burning cash and sipping from your whiskey tumbler.
4. Golf is time’s slave; MTB is time’s master
You’ve probably been there a thousand times – you’re three holes into a round of golf, waiting for a four-ball of pensioners to tee off and realise that you’re going to have to cross of the rest of your day.
Golf is time consuming. It’s also very unpredictable. Depending on the players, on the course that day, the weather, the time and your form, you can only guess as to how long your time out there will be.
MTB is an entirely different ball game (there are no balls). A rider can decide how far they’d like to trek on a ride out. Choose a track, choose a distance, turn back if it’s getting late.
But leave your four-ball after the 11th hole and don’t expect any business deal to go through.
5. The competition is healthier
Physically the competition is healthier, yes, but it’s also easier for two riders of different levels to enjoy a ride out together than when one businessman, with a 16 handicap, plays a round with a scratch golfer.
Not only is it far less frustrating and embarrassing to take a ride with someone “better” than you, but you aren’t comparing scorecards, or three-putting while your partner is already lining up on the next tee box.
6. Four ball? Why not five?
Just as eggs come in packs of six or tennis balls in a can of four – golf is limited and structured. The inflexibility of golf’s four-ball leaves no room for a group of three or five. Tee up with a stranger or draw straws to see who sits out if your number isn’t a perfect four.
MTB doesn’t discriminate against odd numbers. Everyone is welcome, odd number and all.
You won’t have to rope in a co-worker just to fill a spot or have a willing golfer drive a cart, because one too many clients pitched up.
7. MTB promotes togetherness
You don’t need numbers, pencils, scorecards and losers to enjoy a ride out. “Winning” doesn’t have to be at the expense of losers and your performance isn’t laid bare for all to see. At the end of a ride out on a dirt track, surrounded by bush, forests or vineyards, everyone will feel as though they’ve accomplished something.
Riders won’t only know one another better – they would have conquered an obstacle as a team. What better way to begin a partnership or business agreement? Unknowingly, the journey may just have begun before any paperwork has been singed.
Golfers, take note: perhaps the rough is where you really want to be.
By Luke Thorrold