The 10 Best Golf Nicknames In The History Of The Game

If you are tuned in regularly to PGA Tour events, you will quickly feel as if you have a personal relationship with the players.

Viewers begin to know more about someone than how many majors they have won or where they are ranked globally. With the new-age media, we begin to know who these guys are away from the course.

It has been the case for a long time that fans have longed to get to know each player’s life up close and personal. To add a nice touch, many of the legends of the game have been given nicknames by the fans and media throughout the years.

In this article, we are going to give our top ten list of golf nicknames. We will cover legends of the game from both past and present, bringing multiple generations of players together.

Here is our greatest of all-time golfer nicknames list, in no particular order:

Three men stand holding golf clubs with the words "10 best golf nicknames of all times" in the foreground.

1. Eldrick “Tiger” Woods

We would create a list of top golf nicknames ever without including the most synonymous one in the game, “Tiger.”

Being the only golf nickname that actually showed up on leaderboards, if you are a sports fan, you know the name Tiger Woods. However, what a lot of fans don’t know is that Tiger’s real name is Eldrick and how he first got the nickname of Tiger.

At first glance, it might seem that he got the name Tiger from his brash competitiveness, tireless work ethic, or dominating success, but it actually goes back further than that in time and comes from his father Earl.

Earl called him Tiger from the time he was young to honor his friend and Colonel Vuong Dang Phong, whom he fought alongside with in Vietnam.

Even since this nickname was technically not given to him through golf, we can all agree that it has to be included in a list of golfer nicknames, and it is no doubt the most well-known one in the world of sports.

2. Jack Nicklaus – “The Golden Bear”

Moving from the most dominating player of all time to the most prolific major champion of all time, we get to Jack Nicklaus.

Jack was the quote on quote, Tiger Woods, from his era racking up eighteen major championships and seventy-three PGA Tour victories.

His nickname, “The Golden Bear,” is also one of the most popular in the world of sports, as he has used it to create his brand that includes golf course design and equipment.

As a coincidence, Jack’s high school mascot was a Golden Bear, but this nickname was coined for him at the 1967 US Open after Australian sports writer Don Lawrence described him for his blond hair and burbly psyche.

Nicklaus’ agent later asked Lawrence what he thought of Jack’s appearance, and he told him that he looked like a “big, cuddly, golden bear.”

To add to this lure, Nicklaus later started wearing a yellow shirt on Sundays. This was actually to honor the son of a close friend, Craig Smith, who fought bone cancer and passed away in 1971. Nonetheless, this helped his Golden Bear image grow even more.

3. Golf Nicknames: Arnold Palmer – “The King”

In the world of game nicknames, Arnold Palmer’s might be the most accurate as he truly was the king.

Winning seven majors and racking up sixty-two PGA Tour titles, Palmer was naturally the king in competition, but it didn’t stop there.

Winning fans and even non-golfers from around the world, Arnold always had people behind him which is referred to as Arny’s army. He was a modern-day Rickie Fowler who appeared in every TV commercial they would let him in and even created his brands.

Perhaps his most popular brand is still around in every convenience store today, the Arnold Palmer, which is a precise blend of lemonade and tea.

Up until the day he passed away, Arnold truly had the sports world in his grip and made everyone who came his way feel that they were important and known. The “King” serves him well and belongs on this list of golfing nicknames.

4. Gary Player – “The Black Knight”

In his era, Gary Player rounded out the “Big Three” players, which included himself, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.

Inspired by a hero on one of his favorite TV shows, Palldin, and equipped with advice from his father to have a trademark for his career, Player decided to wear all black a lot of the time on the golf course.

Since his playing career ended in 2009 he has gone on to create a Black Knight logo to be used for his business ventures between him and his son.

5. Craig Stadler – “The Walrus”

One of the most literal golfing nicknames in the world belongs to Craig Stadler. Affectionately engaged with galleries, he became known throughout his career as the Walrus due to his short, plumb build and mustache.

In addition to his appearance, Stadler also had a notoriously short temper, just like a Walrus. He even had one event where he walked up the entire eighteenth hole, breaking every club in his bag.

6. Ben Hogan – “The Hawk”

Nicknames for golf are typically not intimidating unless you were Ben Hogan.

Just like a Hawk eyeing down from the sky to find its prey, Hogan was a fierce competitor, oftentimes was not a pleasant person to be around during competition, and was going to do everything he could to intimidate you on the course.

Hogan proved these things time and time again as he would successfully execute coming down the stretch in high-pressure situations, leaving no mercy for his competitors.

His steely nerve and his robust skill set made him the equivalent of a hawk, swooping down to capture its next meal.

7. Ernie Els – “The Big Easy”

Ernie Els is a big man and he sure does make the game of golf look very easy. Between his calm personality to his smooth and silky swing, Els sometimes looks as if he is barely trying on the course.

The running joke about his golf swing is that his name matches his effortless rhythm. You can slowly say his first name in his backswing and then say his last name in the downswing to get the perfect timing.

Els is the exact opposite of The Walrus above as he was in perfect shape in his prime and often walked down the fairways like he didn’t have a care in the world.

8. Bryson DeChambeau – “The Scientist”

Known for his quests to get better that often look like science projects, Bryson is, at times, a true scientist when it comes to his golf game.

His scientific approach became very clear when he first came onto the scene sporting same-length irons, all of them the length of a six-iron. In the modern era, Bryson was the first player to attempt this, as he got his inspiration from Bobby Jones’s old set.

In addition to using same-length irons, DeChambeau took the scientific approach to all new levels, reinventing his entire body to hit the ball as far as possible. We have seen players pick up club head speed, but this was an entirely new level.

He went from 45th in driving distance during the 2016-2017 PGA Tour season, averaging just 299.4 yards off-the-tee, to first place in the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season, averaging 323.7 yards off-the-tee.

In addition to his clubs that came from a physics classroom and his experiments in the gym, DeChambeau often discusses air pressure, temperature, and degrees on slope on the putting surface, among others when talking about his game.

In one event, cameras even caught him spraying dry golf balls on the range with a spray bottle to find out how morning dew affects golf shots. He is a modern-day scientist in a pro athlete’s body.

9. Miguel Angel Jimenez – “The Mechanic”

Miguel Angel Jimenez is not only one of the most interesting golfers on the PGA Tour, he is also one of the most interesting men in the world.

From his elaborate stretching routine on the driving range to his elegant Spanish accent, Miguel is a true entertainer.

Entertaining to watch though, he was an absolute force to be reckoned with on the PGA Tour in his day and still in on the Champions Tour. He was not always the best ball striker but he made up for his around the greens, hence the nickname, Mechanic.

Miguel would fix up a shot shot around the green to save par right when you thought he was out of the tournament. Other than the short game, his nickname also has a literal sense. He loves cars and often runs projects to fix them up when he is not at the course.

10. Tim Heron – “Lumpy”

Tim Heron’s given name on the PGA Tour is the most literal one on the list of nicknames for golf. The name Lumpy was coined, because at one point in his career, he weighed in at 243 pounds.

Heron embraced this nickname and used it as a chip on his shoulder while competing to win four PGA Tour titles throughout his career.

To weigh that much, be called “Lumpy” by your fellow competitors, and still manage to win four times against the best golfers in the world is truly impressive.

Key Takeaways

There you have it, the top ten golf nicknames of all time.

This was a very difficult list to put together, as ten does not allow for all the legends of the game to be included.

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Hello, I’m Patrick Stephenson, a golf enthusiast and a former Division 1 golfer at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. I have an MBA degree and a +4 handicap, and I love to share my insights and tips on golf clubs, courses, tournaments, and instruction.

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