10 Quotes to Help You in Golf (and Life)
Golf is a game that’s been around for hundreds of years—it’s no wonder that so much has been said about it. And who knows the sport better than the men and women who play it professionally?
Here you’ll find the best golf quotes ever uttered by some of the best golfers ever to swing clubs. And who knows. Maybe these words of fairway wisdom will also inspire you off the course as well as on.
Learning to Play
"Golf is a fascinating game. It has taken me nearly 40 years to discover that I can't play it."
—Ted Ray, via Golf Today
They say practice makes perfect, but that's not always the case. See, sometimes you just have to admit that you’re not quite as good as you’d like to be, and that there’s a distinct possibility that you never will be. When it comes to golf—and, by extension, life—recognizing what you can’t do can be just as important as being confident in what you can do.
Of course, this quote is coming from a multiple-time championship winner, so it also shows the importance of humility.
Hard to Stay Honest
"I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone's golf game: It's called an eraser."
—Arnold Palmer, via ArnoldPalmer.com
Golf, when it comes down to it, is a game governed by the honor code. Most of us who ever tee off aren’t going to have scorekeepers and legions of fans counting up our strokes as we go. Generally, we’re responsible for keeping track of our own game, but as golf legend Arnold Palmer reminds us, it’s not always easy to stay honest.
The Beauty of Tomorrow
“The greatest thing about tomorrow is I will be better than I am today. And that's how I look at my life. I will be a better golfer, I will be a better person, I will be a better father, I will be a better husband, I will be a better friend. That's the beauty of tomorrow.”
Tiger Woods, one of the greatest golfers to ever heft a club, touches upon something that speaks to every human being. No matter how difficult things are, no matter how low we sink, no matter what trials we have to face, there’s always tomorrow. Each new day offers us a chance to improve and perfect ourselves, whether on the course or in any other aspect of our lives.
Love What You Do
“I'm a firm believer in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don’t enjoy.”
—Jack Nicklaus, via In The Zone
Sometimes when we watch professional golfers, we’re treated to some pretty shameful behavior. We get to watch tantrums, fights and petty disputes, all in the name of the game. So, one needs to ask the question: Why bother playing if you’re not having fun? Again, just as in life, if you want to do well, enjoy your work.
The Best Four Letter Word
"They call it 'golf' because all the other four letter words were taken.”
—Raymond Floyd, via TC Palm
Of course, it’s possible to enjoy, or even love, something and still become aggravated by it. Those who have children may understand this principle even better than most, but even if golf isn’t nearly as important as family, it can still play a huge part in our lives.
Ray Floyd approaches this truth in a humorous way and shows us that sometimes the most important things are also the most difficult.
Luck vs. Hard Work
“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
—Gary Player, Golf Digest
Luck is a funny thing. It’s a sort of religion in that it requires inexplicable faith in something intangible. But luck is a fickle deity, and if you really want its help, you need to do your part. Put another way, everyone is responsible for making his or her own luck. Gary Player is one of the most celebrated golfers in history, and he didn’t get there with anything less than sweat and toil.
Risk and Reward
“You don't know what pressure is until you play for five bucks with only two bucks in your pocket.”
—Lee Trevino, World Golf Hall of Fame
When it comes to golf, or any other part of life, you should never risk more than you can afford to lose.
Keeping a Positive Outlook
“Like most professional golfers, I have a tendency to remember my poor shots a shade more vividly than the good ones.”
—Ben Hogan, via Sports Illustrated
It’s always important to remember mistakes. Otherwise, we’ll never be able to learn from them. However, dwelling on them can be just as damaging as ignoring them. Golfers need to identify their weaknesses, correct them and then move on. If you can’t let it go, you’ll never progress past it.
“Of all the hazards, fear is the worst.”
—Sam Snead, via Golf Magazine
In the immortal words of author Frank Herbert, “Fear is the mind killer.” Fear prevents us from achieving our greatest potential. It tells us that we aren’t good enough and that trying to become better is a risk not worth taking. It forces us to imagine our failure and to accept it as a reality before we even make an attempt.
But ask yourself what’s worse: to fail or never to try. Sam Snead relates this poignant truth back to the game and reveals the only real danger on the course.
Your Ultimate Opponent
“No one will ever have golf under his thumb. No round ever will be so good it could not have been better. Perhaps this is why golf is the greatest of games. You are not playing a human adversary; you are playing a game. You are playing old man par.”
—Bobby Jones, via Golf Today
Golf is a unique sport in that it can be just as easily played alone as with opponents. This is because the game, no matter what some of the pros would have you believe, isn’t really a competitive sport. It’s more like a study in self improvement. Life is about waking up in the morning and using what we have to make ourselves better than we were.
Even if you end up as the greatest golfer in the game, you’ll always have a worthy and challenging opponent—yourself.