13 Famous Golf Quotes to Help you on the Course

Vince Lombardi, Lou Gehrig, and Mohammed Ali all come to mind when we think of inspiring quotes from prominent sports figures.

However, these sports don’t run as parallel to life as golf does, which is why famous golf quotes hit closer to home.  

This game can be such an exasperating experience where nothing goes right, yet we keep playing it regardless. This relatable aspect keeps people playing for decades and attracts new players each day. 

Using these famous golf quotes can give you a great perspective on what is otherwise a confusing game.

We all agree that golf is a mental game, but how can we improve that specific area to lower our scores?

It starts by researching what the most successful golfers think about the game and trying to adopt their mindset

Here are some famous golf quotes to help you next time you find yourself despising the game and contemplating taking up bowling.

famous golf quotes. A golfer tees off from the tee box.

Humorously Famous Golf Quotes

“They call it golf because all of the other four-letter words were taken.”

– Raymond Floyd

This always gets a laugh on the links because we’re no strangers to a four-letter word every so often.

Cursing is not something we’re proud of as golfers, nor is it very classy, but it happens.

Ray Floyd famously pointed this out and essentially let everyone know that golfers maybe aren’t as refined as we want people to think.

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

– Chi Chi Rodriguez

Known for his colorful personality, only Chi Chi Rodriguez could get away with such a tantilising statement.

You’re probably familiar with the many clips of Chi Chi wielding his putter like a fencing saber after sinking a long putt. This great quote never gets old because it’s so true!

“Don’t play too much golf. Two rounds a day are plenty.” 

– Harry Vardon

The golden age of golf knew how to have a laugh or two. Without even knowing it, Vardon created one of the earliest ‘golf memes’.

You may have heard a variation of this from your grandfather or boss, and it still holds up today.

Golfers are unique in that no matter what happens on the course, we’d rather be there than anywhere else. If you ask me, sometimes, two rounds aren’t even enough.

a golf ball next to a hole.

Famous Golf Quotes That Aged VERY Well

“The most important shot in golf is the next one.” 

– Ben Hogan

This quote stands the test of time and is just as relevant in real-life scenarios.

It is definitely one to keep in mind if you play in any tournaments. The time commitment to one round of golf means you’ll hit a few less-than-desirable shots.

If you play golf in a 2 or 4-day tournament, those mistakes will start to compound. The key to anyone’s golf game is to limit the number of poor shots you hit; you can only do that by looking forward to the next shot.

There’s nothing you can change about the past; only what lies ahead!

“Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears.” 

– Bobby Jones

This is one of the most famous golf quotes of all time, and you’ve probably seen it displayed on a golf towel in every pro shop in the world.

It sums the game up perfectly and points out what elite golfers already know. The older generation tended to focus their efforts on the things they can control—their mindset.

They almost never talked about technology, equipment, course conditions, schedules, and money as much as they do these days.

“Golf is about how well you accept, respond to, and score with your misses much more so than it is a game of your perfect shots.” 

– Dr. Bob Rotella

Dr. Bob is widely known in the world of golf and especially to the touring pros. I recommend you buy one of his books, starting with ‘Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect.’

It will give you a much better perspective on your own golf game and turn your mental game into an advantage instead of a liability.

He has worked with the game’s top players for more than three decades. He’s also written many books on this topic, and they’re all worth reading for hundreds of satisfying famous golf quotes just like this one.

“Success in this game depends less on strength of body than strength of mind and character.” 

– Arnold Palmer

You may notice a pattern here that the older generation chooses to focus more on the mental aspect of the game. There is a lot of talk about physical fitness and equipment technology these days, maybe too much.

Many golfers don’t want to admit that their mental game is what’s holding them back and keeping their scores the same.

If Arnold Palmer says the mental game is this important, we should listen attentively.

A golf ball on a course next to cliffs.

Famous Golf Quotes In Film

“I don’t think the heavy stuff is coming for a while.” 

–Carl Spackler, Caddyshack

Heard just about every time a single raindrop falls at any golf course anywhere in the world, we couldn’t talk about famous golf quotes and not talk about Caddyshack.

If you don’t know this quote, then your homework tonight is to watch Caddyshack 17 times in a row. The movie is overflowing with one-liners so ‘you got that going for yourself, which is nice’.

“Why don’t you just go HOME? That’s your HOME! Are you too good for your HOME? ANSWER ME!” 

– Happy Gilmore, Happy Gilmore

You’re probably reciting this whole scene in your head right now. It’s possibly the most relatable scene in movie history.

Leaving a putt short hurts, especially if it’s for birdie or better, yet we’ve all done it somehow. Thanks to this movie scene and famous golf quote, we’re now able to vent our frustrations in a comical but relieving way by yelling this quote directly at the ball from inches away.

“When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment… or the moment defines you.”

– Roy ‘Tin Cup’  McAvoy, Tin Cup

Another classic movie that if you haven’t seen, you should also watch 17 times after you’re done with Caddyshack.

Yes, this movie is full of funny quotes from Tin Cup and his motley crew of golf outcasts, but this quote hits home for any golfer who has played with something on the line.

At some point, you’ll have to execute and produce the exact shot needed to win. Those who stand up to the task win championships and maybe even the love and affection of Dr. Molly Griswold.

A golf green next to the sea.

Lee Trevino Golf Quotes

“If you are caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.”

Yes, Lee Trevino gets his own section of famous golf quotes because he’s chock-full of them. This popular “only god” quote came about after Lee Trevino was actually struck by lightning.

In 1975 he was playing in the Western Open in Illinois, and a thunderstorm rolled in. As many golfers did, Lee opened his umbrella to shelter himself but got struck by lightning instead. He suffered burns to his back but otherwise, he was ok.

Upon his exit, he was asked by a reporter what precautions he would be taking to prevent this from happening again. The rest is history!

I’ve never had a coach in my life. When I find one that can beat me, then I’ll listen.”

Always a fierce competitor, and this is what made him so successful on the course. It was more common in the earlier days of golf as everyone had to figure the game out for themselves and use more natural instincts.

There were a few books at the time but nothing compared to the internet’s information. These guys had to “dig it out of the dirt,” as they say.

“Pressure is when you play for five dollars a hole with only two in your pocket.”

This is a poignment quote today’s younger phenom players will never understand. Trevino always enjoyed playing at the highest level and came from a rough upbringing; he knows the value of a dollar.

He gifted us with this nugget of wisdom when he was being asked about how to handle the “immense pressure” that pros face in majors. He’s implying that the pressure he faces in majors is nothing compared to his experiences as a younger golfer.

He had to work hard to get into golf clubs to practice and get money to play in tournaments. If he didn’t, he simply couldn’t play.

A golf course with a small lake.

So What Did We Learn?

The older generation had a lot more famous golf quotes than the current crop of PGA Tour stars. We live in an age of sports agents and public relations reps, so the chances of getting honest insight about golf from these guys are slim.

However, knowing about the earlier famous golf quotes is interesting because the game hasn’t changed.

Watching current players break course records is a sign that they are students of the game and have read all these same quotes.

While we might not be breaking 70 very often like those guys, we can still increase our golf IQ to hopefully lower our scores and take a few skins off our buddies.

At the very least, you’ll get a good laugh from Lee Trevino’s quotes.

Feeling Confident?

Photo of author
Clint has been active in golf since he was very young. He graduated from the Professional Golf Management Program at College Of The Desert in Palm Desert, CA before turning pro shortly after. Upon moving back to Canada he has been certified with the PGA of Canada where he was the Head Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest academies. Now as a golf writer, he is happy to share his knowledge when he's not out playing with his family and friends.

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