Of all the sports in the world, you’d be hard pushed to say golf was on a par (sorry) with the biggest. It’s not as global as football, nor as lucrative as boxing. It doesn’t have the razzle-dazzle of the gridiron, and it doesn’t hold the world in thrall for two weeks a year like tennis.
Nonetheless, it’s got plenty of interest, enough to feed some of the most famous quotes in sport. If you’re thinking of taking it up, you could learn from some of them.
“Golf Is A Good Walk, Spoiled”
One of the most famous golf quotes is attributed to Mark Twain but was probably not said by him. There may be some truth in the idea that golf takes a walk in pleasant surroundings, and mixes it with the frustration of being bad at something. However, if you’ve never played, you shouldn’t let it put you off. If you don’t expect to turn pro right away, it can be a relaxing way to get some exercise.
“Drive For Show, Putt For Dough”
As far as we know, that was Bobby Locke. Is it true, though? Opinions differ, but for some time the longest-driving pro on the PGA Tour was John Daly. A talented golfer, he underachieved because his all-around game was erratic. He could out-drive anyone else on the tour at the time, but other players with more controlled games made cuts and carded low scores.
That was in the nineties. Twenty-something years on, most golfers can now drive half as long again as Daly’s longest on the 1992 tour. That includes regular winners like Bubba Watson and the current record-holder Davis Love III. Why? Because clubs are better. Read this Cobra Bio Cell Hybrid review, and wonder at what someone like John Daly could have hit with that.
What is true is that, without a good putting game, you won’t win often. It doesn’t matter if you can get on the green in two on a par five if you then take four putts to hole it.
“The More I Practise, The Luckier I Get”
Although the first quote is attributed, probably wrongly, to one man, this one is attributed to many. Was it Gary Player? Was it Arnold Palmer? Gary Player says it was his friend, Jerry Barber. Fifty years from now, it will probably be attributed to Rory McIlroy.
Whoever first coined it, it is true. By playing rounds or matches regularly, you might get better. By practising regularly, you will improve. Find the parts of your game you aren’t so good at, and commit yourself to getting better. As Arnold Palmer definitely did say: “Don’t be embarrassed to take a lesson. I’m not.” And if he wasn’t, no one should be.
One final quote, which is going to be useful for any new player. This one, again, is Palmer. “I have a tip which can take five strokes off anyone’s game. It’s called an eraser.” Just don’t let anyone catch you cheating – some people take their golf very seriously.