Great Golf Quotes

October 21, 2017
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Great Golf Quotes

Every once in a while a golfer will put his clubs to one side and let his mouth do the talking. They may be inspired words which remind us of why we love the game, they may be a bit of fun for a laugh and, now and then, they are simply a means of verifying stupidity. Whatever the reason, here is a list of a few words that have tumbled out of the mouths of some of the great and not-so-great golfers of the world. We have worked alphabetically by first name and tried our best to apply these quotes accurately, although sometimes the actual detail of what was said gets lost in translation. We hope we are at least within a pitching wedge of the spirit of what was intended. If your favourite quote isn't here, or if you notice a glaring oversight somewhere, apologies to those quoted and feel free to contact us with any new suggestions or revisions. Enjoy!

Alex Karras (1935 - )

"My best score ever was 103, but I've only been playing 15 years."

"Hey, is this room out of bounds?" - After hitting his ball through a clubhouse window at Red Run Golf Club.

Karras was a pro wrestler turned actor, most famous for his classic role as 'Mungo' in Blazing Saddles.


 Alister Mackenzie (1870 - 1934)

“I try to build courses for the most enjoyment by the greatest number.”

“A good golf course is like good music. It does not necessarily appeal the first time one plays it.”

"I have always wanted to live where one could practice (golf) shots in one’s pajamas before breakfast."

“The chief object of every golf architect or greenkeeper worth his salt is to imitate the beauties of nature so closely as to make his work indistinguishable from nature itself.”

“There may be a certain amount of pleasurable excitement in running up to the top of a hillock in the hope of seeing your ball near the flag, but this kind of thing one gets tired of as one grows older.” - On the value of blind shots to golf course design.

"Golf is a game, and talk and discussion is all to the interests of the game. Anything that keeps the game alive and prevents us being bored with it is an advantage. Anything that makes us think about it, talk about it, and dream about it is all to the good and prevents the game becoming dead."

“Golf courses are becoming far too long. Twenty years ago we played three rounds of golf a day and considered we had taken an interminably long time if we took more than two hours to play a round. Today it not infrequently takes over three hours.”


Arthur Rainsford

“When I came up, my ball was about three yards from the hole. Two putts made 99. I felt I was now really a golfer.”


Anon.

"Is my friend in the bunker or is the bastard on the green?"

"I have spent most of my life golfing...the rest I have just wasted."

"A well-adjusted man is one who can play golf as if it were a game."

“When Golf starts getting in the way of work and family...give up work and family.”

“The niblick, with its heavy head of iron, is a capital club for knocking down solicitors.”

"Show me a man who is a good loser and I'll show you a man who is playing golf with his boss."

“Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle.”


A.P. Herbert (1890 - 1971)

“Men who would face torture without a word become blasphemous at the short fourteenth. It is clear that the game of golf may well be included in that category of intolerable provocations which may legally excuse or mitigate behaviour not otherwise excusable."


Arnold Haultain (1857 - 1941)

"Golf is like faith: it is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen"

"Golf is a game in which attitude of mind counts for incomparably more than mightiness of muscle."


Arnold Palmer (1929 - )

"The road to success is always under construction."

"Your worst putt will usually be as good as your best chip."

"Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger."

“One thing I've learned over time is, if you hit a golf ball into water, it won't float.”

“Putting is like wisdom - partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.”

“How did I make a twelve on a par five? Easy - I missed a four foot putt for an eleven.”

"What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive."

“Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.”

"I've always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn't have a chance to win."

"It is a funny thing, the more I practice, the luckier I get" (Also attributed to Gene Sarazen, Gary Player & Jack Nicklaus at different times. They probably all said it and they were all correct.)

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”

“I feel more strongly than ever about this. I would like the professional game freed of golf carts. Golf is a physical game. If we are playing competitive professional golf, we should walk. When I can't walk 18 holes, I'll pack it in.”

 
AW Tillinghast

"Little Bobby Jones of Atlanta is really a fine player, and shows every indication of becoming a tremendous great one, once he is master of himself, which must come with maturity." - When Jones was 14.  

 
"If some hole does not possess striking individuality through some gift of nature, it must be given as much as possible artificially, and the artifice must be introduced in so subtle a manner as to make it seem natural."


Babe Zaharias

"I just hitch up my girdle and let 'er fly."

"That little ball won't move until you hit it, and there's nothing you can do for it after it is gone."
 
"I can beat any two players in this tournament by myself. If I need any help, I'll let you know." - To her partner in a fourball event.

"They say golf came easy to me because I was a good athlete, but there's not any girl on the LPGA Tour who worked near as hard as I did in golf. It's the toughest game I ever tackled." 


Ben Crenshaw (1952 - )

“I don't have any big secret about putting. Just hit at it. It's either going to miss or go in.”

“A good golf course makes you want to play so badly that you hardly have the time to change your shoes.“

”My golf game's gone off so much that when I went fishing a couple of weeks ago my first cast missed the lake.”

"If we are to preserve the integrity of golf as left to us by our forefathers, it is up to all of us to carry on the true spirit of the game."

“Golf is the hardest game in the world. There is no way you can ever get it. Just when you think you do, the game jumps up and puts you in your place.”

"You learn to accept defeat graciously in golf. Unlike other sports, the game itself is a constant opponent. It never stops. A golfer is fortunate to win a few times. We spend our whole lives trying to conquer something, and we lose a lot more than we win."

“I was horrified. Absolutely heart sick. All I could think of was that after 23 years together, I'd lost my faithful ally. I couldn't sleep, couldn't get the loss out of my mind. It was like discovering that someone in my family had died.” - On the loss of his putter. 


Ben Hogan (1912 - 1997)

“The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight.”

"The most important shot in golf is the next one."

“The ultimate judge of your swing is the flight of the ball.”

"Hit the ball up to the hole...you meet a better class of person there."

"This is a game of misses. The guy who misses the best is going to win."

“I learn something new about the game almost every time I step on the course.”

“I couldn't wait for the sun to come up the next morning so that I could get out on the course again.”

"As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round."

"If a man can shoot 10 birdies, there's no reason why he can't shoot 18. Why can't you birdie every hole on the course?"

“There is no similarity between golf and putting; they are two different games one played in the air, and the other on the ground.”

“I have always felt and said that a man who can be a champion in one era could be a champion in any other era because he has what it takes to reach the top.”

"Reverse every natural instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing."

"You hear stories about me beating my brains out practising, but the truth is, I was enjoying myself. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning, so I could hit balls. When I'm hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply, it's a joy that very few people experience."

 
Billy Casper (1931 - )

“Golf puts a man's character on the anvil and his richest qualities - patience, poise, restraint - to the flame.”


Bobby Jones
(1902-1974)

"Nobody ever swung a club too slowly."

“The secret of golf is to turn three shots into two.”

“You swing your best when you have the fewest things to think about.”

“Some people think they are concentrating when they're merely worrying.”

“I can play the game only one way. I must play every shot for all there is in it. I cannot play safe.”

“Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course...the space between your ears.”

"Golf is a game that creates emotions that sometimes cannot be sustained with the club still in one's hand."

“Bad putting is due more to the effect the green has upon the player than it has upon the action of the ball.”

"It is nothing new or original to say that golf is played one stroke at a time. But it took me many years to realise it."

“It is nevertheless a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul.”

“The rewards of golf, and of life too I expect, are worth very little if you don't play the game by the etiquette as well as by the rules.”

“No man ever will have golf under his thumb. No round ever will be so good it could not have been better. Perhaps that is why golf is the greatest of games.”

“The moment the average golfer attempts to play from long grass or a bunker or from a difficult lie of any kind, he becomes a digger instead of a swinger.”

 “I have never felt so lonely as on a golf course in the midst of a championship with thousands of people around, especially when things began to go wrong and the crowds started wandering away.”

“I had held a notion that I could make a pretty fair appraisal of the worth of an opponent simply by speaking to him on the first tee and taking a good measuring look into his eyes.”

 "The toughest opponent of all is Old Man Par. He's a patient soul who never shoots a birdie and never incurs a bogey. And if you would travel the long road with him, you must be patient too."

"The main idea in golf, as in life I suppose, is to learn to accept what cannot be altered and to keep on doing one's own reasoned and resolute best whether the prospect be bleak or rosy."

"Golf is assuredly a mystifying game. It would seem that if a person has hit a golf ball correctly a thousand times, he should be able to duplicate the performance at will. But this is certainly not the case."

“You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank. There is only one way to play this game.” - After he was praised for his honesty in calling a penalty on himself in the first round of the 1925 US Open at Worcester Country Club when his ball moved at address. No one else saw the ball move on a steep bank in the long grass by the11th green and despite the attempts by officials and playing partner Walter Hagen to dissuade Jones, he insisted the penalty be applied.

“I will tell you privately it's not going to get better, it's going to get worse all the time, but don't fret. Remember, we play the ball where it lies, and now let's not talk about this, ever again.”

“If ever I needed an eight foot putt, and everything I owned depended on it, I would want Arnold Palmer to putt for me.”

"Nicklaus played a game with which I am not familiar." - after watching Nicklaus win the 1965 US Masters.

“I think that (Alister) MacKenzie and I managed to work as a completely sympathetic team. Of course there was never any question that he was the architect and I was the advisor and consultant. No man learns to design a golf course simply by playing golf, no matter how well. But it happened that both of us were extravagant admirers of the Old Course at St Andrews and we both desired as much as possible to simulate seaside conditions insofar as the differences in turf and terrain would allow.” – On the creation of Augusta National.


Bob Hope (1903 - 2003)

"I'd give up golf if I didn't have so many sweaters."


Bob Toski (1926 - )

"Most golfers prepare for disaster. A good golfer prepares for success."

 
Bruce Lansky (1941 - )

“The only thing in my bag that works is the bug spray.”

“Some golfers fantasize about playing in a foursome with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Sam Snead. The way I hit I'd rather play in a foursome with Helen Keller, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder.”


Byron Nelson (1912 - 2006)

“Winners are different. They're a different breed of cat.”

“The only shots you can be sure of are those you've had already."

“Sam Snead did to the tee-shot what Roger Bannister did to the four-minute mile.”

“Every great player has learned the two Cs: how to concentrate and how to maintain composure.”


Carl Spackler (Bill Murray - Caddyshack)

“So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

To hear this from Carl himself on YouTube, click here.


 Cary Middlecoff (1921 - 1998)

“Anyone who hasn't been nervous, or hasn't choked somewhere down the line, is an idiot.”


Chi Chi Rodriguez
(1935 - )

“I don't exaggerate - I just remember big”

"I'm playing like Tarzan and scoring like Jane."

“I'm getting so old, I don't even buy green bananas anymore.”

“Golf is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off.”

“I was on the dance floor but I couldn't hear the band.” - On a 50-foot putt.

“I never pray to God to make a putt. I pray to God to help me react good if I miss a putt.”

"The best putting advice I ever received was make sure you concentrate real hard on keeping that darn ball real low"

“The first time I played the Masters, I was so nervous I drank a bottle of rum before I teed off. I shot the happiest 83 of my life.”

“Golf is the only sport that a professional can enjoy playing with his friends. Can Larry Holmes enjoy fighting one of his friends?”

“After all these years, it's still embarrassing for me to play on the American golf tour. Like the time I asked my caddie for a sand wedge and he came back ten minutes later with a ham on rye.” - On his Puerto Rican accent.

“I've heard people say putting is 50 percent technique and 50 percent mental. I really believe it is 50 percent technique and 90 percent positive thinking, see, but that adds up to 140 percent, which is why nobody is 100 percent sure how to putt.”

"Jack Nicklaus is a legend in his spare time."


Colin Bowles (1953 - )

"The fundamental problem with golf is that every so often, no matter how lacking you may be in the essential virtues required of a steady player, the odds are that one day you will hit the ball straight, hard, and out of sight. This is the essential frustration of this excruciating sport. For when you've done it once, you make the fundamental error of asking yourself why you can't do this all the time. The answer to this question is simple: the first time was a fluke."


Colman McCarthy (1938 - )

"The highest pleasure of golf may be that on the fairways and far from all the pressures of commerce and rationality, we can feel immortal for a few hours."


Craig Stadler (1953 - )

"Why am I using a new putter? Because the last one didn't float too well."


Dan Jenkins (1929 - )

“The devoted golfer is an anguished soul who has learned a lot about putting, just as an avalanche victim has learned a lot about snow.”

“Regardless of what the Tour pros think, golf is a rich and varied game, and what all of us awkward fools do on weekends is what golf is truly all about.”

 
Dan King

“Scottish golf is a more public game. It is more reasonably priced and they play faster. It isn't cart golf. The only reason resorts force you into carts is for the money. They are selling off the soul of the game for a few dollars.”

 
Dave Marr (1933 - 1997)

“The fact is all golfers are equipment junkies and professional golfers are the worst of the lot. They'll do anything to find the perfect putter even though they'll insist no such instrument exists.”


Dave Stockton (1941 - )

"The number one thing about trouble is...don't get into more."


David Feherty (1958 - )

”I was swinging like a toilet door on a prawn trawler.”

"Colin Montgomerie is a few French fries short of a Happy Meal."

"That's the trouble with Nick. The only time he opens his mouth is to change feet." - On Faldo.

"The course (Crooked Stick) is so long, I had to take the curvature of the Earth into consideration."

"Playing Augusta is like playing a Salvador Dali landscape. I expected a clock to fall out of the trees and hit me in the face."

"The world's No. 1 tennis player spends 90 percent of his time winning, while the world's No. 1 golfer spends 90 percent of his time losing. Golfers are great losers."

 
Davis Love III (1964 - )

"I want to build a course my mum can enjoy."

 
Dean Martin (1917 - 1995)

"If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt."

 
Doug Sanders (1933 - )

“Hagen said that no-one remembers who finished second. But they still ask me if I ever think about that putt I missed to win the 1970 Open at St. Andrews. I tell them that some times it doesn't cross my mind for a full five minutes.”


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)

“How has retirement affected my golf game? A lot more people beat me now.”

 
Ed Furgol (1917 - 1997)

“My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery people would stop dying.”


Eldridge 'Tiger' Woods
(1975 - )

”I don't know if I even have an aura, man. I just try to win.”

"I hit a one-yard draw in there" (Bushranger note: think about this. A one-yard draw?)

”One of the things that my parents have taught me is never listen to other people's expectations. You should live your own life and live up to your own expectations, and those are the only things I really care about it.”

“Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.” (With respect to Robin Williams: "Golf is a game where white men can dress up as black pimps and get away with it.")

"One of the things my dad kept instilling in me was the joy of the game. He made it fun for me. A lot of the time I see kids that don't enjoy being out there and that's a shame; you're supposed to enjoy the game."


Ernest Jones (1887 - 1965)

“Dividing the swing into its parts is like dissecting a cat. You'll have blood and guts and bones all over the place. But you won't have a cat.”

 
Francis Ouimet (1893 - 1967)

“Golfers should not fail to realise that it is a game of great traditions, of high ideals of sportsmanship, one in which a strict adherence to the rules is essential.”


Fred Couples (1959 - )

“I didn't hit the ball like I was 46. But I putted like I was 66.”

“As far as swing and techniques are concerned, I don't know diddly-squat. When I'm playing well, I don't even take aim.”

 “Always count your blessings. Be thankful you are able to be out on a beautiful course. Most people in the world don't have that opportunity.”

 
Fuzzy Zoeller (1951 - )

“Arnie, you're going to have to buy a bigger jet.” - On seeing Arnold Palmer take six putters to the practice green.

“I've never been to heaven and, thinking back on my life, I probably won't get a chance to go. I guess the Masters is as close as I'm going to get.“

Great Golf Quotes page 1 (A - F)
Great Golf Quotes page 2 (G - L)
Great Golf Quotes page 3 (M - Z)