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Musings on the nature of the game and the human condition

Golf is so popular simply because it is the best game in the world at which to be bad.
 - A.A. Milne

Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject.
 - David Forgan

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

Half of golf is fun; the other half is putting.
 - Peter Dobereiner

Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into a even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.
 - Winston Churchill

Golf is a good walk spoiled.
 - Mark Twain

Golf is a game of expletives not deleted.
 - Dr Irving A. Gladstone

Golf is played with a number of striking implements more intricate in shape than those used in any form of recreation except dentistry.
 - E.V. Knox

Golf is golf. You hit the ball, you go find it. Then you hit it again.
 - Lon Hinkle

Golf is a terrible, hopeless addiction, it seems: it makes its devotees willing to trudge miles in any manner of weather, lugging a huge, incommodious and appallingly heavy bag with them, in pursuit of a tiny and fantastically expensive ball, in a fanatical attempt to direct it into a hole the size of a beer glass half a mile away. If anything could be better calculated to convince one of the essential lunacy of the human race, I haven't found it.
 - Mike Seabrook

Golf is the only game I know of that actually becomes harder the longer you play it.
 - Bobby Jones

One of the most fascinating things about golf is how it reflects the cycle of life. No matter what you shoot - the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make yourself into something.
 - Peter Jacobsen

Golf is an ideal diversion but a ruinous disease.
 - B.C. Forbes

Golf is probably the only known game a man can play as long as a quarter of a century and then discover it was too deep for him in the first place.
 - Seymour Dunn

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 a playing a game. You are playing old man par.
 - Bobby Jones

"After all, golf is only a game", said Millicent. Women say these things without thinking. It does not mean that there is any kink in their character. They simply don't realise what they are saying.
 - P.G. Wodehouse

Golf isn't like other sports where you can take a player out if he's having a bad day. You have to play the whole game.
 - Phil Blackmar

Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots - but you have to play the ball where it lies.
 - Bobby Jones

One thing about golf is you don't know why you play bad and why you play good.
 - George Archer

Golf is an open exhibition of overweening ambition, courage deflated by stupidity, skill soured by a whiff of arrogance.
 - Alistair Cooke

Golf is the cruellest of sports. Like life, it's unfair. It's a harlot. A trollop. It leads you on. It never lives up to its promises. It's a boulevard of broken dreams. It plays with men. And runs off with the butcher.
 - Jim Murray

Golf is 20 percent mechanics and technique. The other 80 pecent is philosophy, humor, tragedy, romance, melodrama, companionship, camaraderie, cussedness and conversation.
 - Grantland Rice

Golf is the only-est sport. You're completely alone with every conceivable opportunity to defeat yourself. Golf brings out your assets and liabilities as a person. The longer you play, the more certain you are that a man's performance is the outward manifestation of who, in his heart, he really thinks he is.
 - Hale Irwin

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 Jenkins

Professional golf is the only sport where, if you win 20 percent of the time, you're the best.
 - Jack Nicklaus

Playing golf is a little like carving a turkey. It helps if you have your slice under control.
 - Bob Orben

All I've got against golf is it takes you so far from the clubhouse.
 - Eric Linklater

Golf is more exacting than racing, cards, speculation, or matrimony. In almost all other games you pit yourself against a mortal foe; in golf it is yourself against the world: no human being stays your progress as you drive your ball over the face of the globe.
 - Arnold Haultain

Golf is the only game that pits the player against an opponent, the weather, the minutest details of a large chunk of local topography and his own nervous system, all at the same time.
 - Mike Seabrook

Golf is more fun than walking naked in a strange place, but not much.
 - Buddy Hackett

Golf is 60 or 70 contestants over 200 acres doing unpredicatable things at improbable times. It's an 18-ring circus without a ringmaster.
 - Nick Seitz

Golf is like faith: it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
 - Arnold Haultain

Golf is the only game where the worst player gets the best of it. He obtains more out of it as regards both exercise and enjoyment, for the good player gets worried over the slightest mistake, whereas the poor player makes too many mistakes to worry about them.
 - David Lloyd George

Golf is not a game of great shots. It's a game of most accurate misses. The people who win make the smallest mistakes.
 - Gene Littler

Golf is played by 20 million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun.
 - Jim Bishop

Golf is the most over-taught and least-learned human endeavour; if they taught sex the way they teach golf, the race would have died out years ago.
 - Jim Murray

Golf is the only game in which a precise knowledge of the rules can earn one a reputation for bad sportsmanship.
 - Patrick Campbell

Golf is like love. One day you think you are too old and the next day you want to do it again.
 - Roberto de Vicenzo

Golf is the loneliest of games, not excluding postal chess.
 - Peter Dobereiner

Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.
 - Arnold Palmer

Golf is, in part, a game; but only in part. It is also in part a religion, a fever, a vice, a mirage, a frenzy, a fear, an abscess, a joy, a thrill, a pest, a disease, an uplift, a brooding, a melancholy, a dream of yesterday, and a hope for tomorrow.
 - New York Tribune (1916)

Golf is the cruelest game, because eventually it will drag you out in front of the whole school, take your lunch money and slap you around.
 - Rick Reilly

Golf is very much like a love affair. If you don't take it seriously, it's no fun, if you do, it breaks your heart. Don't break your heart, but flirt with the possibility.
 - Louise Suggs

Golf is not, and never has been, a fair game.
 - Jack Nicklaus

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.
 - Colin Bowles

The right way to play golf is to go up and hit the bloody thing.
 - George Duncan

Golf is not, on the whole, a game for realists. By its exactitudes of measurement, it invites the attention of perfectionists.
 - Heywood Hale Broun

Golf is like acting in that both require concentration and relaxation at the same time. In acting, you can't push emotion. You have to let it rise from you naturally. Same thing in golf. You have to have a plan and a focus; but then you need to just let it happen and enjoy the smooth movement of the swing.
 - Jane Seymour

Golf is not a game, it's bondage. It was obviously devised by a man torn with guilt, eager to atone for his sins.
 - Jim Murray

Golf is not just an exercise; it's an adventure, a romance... a Shakespeare play in which disaster and comedy are intertwined.
 - Harold Segall

Golf is a funny game. It's done much for health and at the same time has ruined people by robbing them of their peace of mind. Look at me, I'm the healthiest idiot in the world.
 - Bob Hope

Golf is like a chain. You always have to work on the weakest links.
 - George Archer

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 such is certainly not the case.
 - Bobby Jones

Golf is a diabolical game. It's easy to make fun of something that's so bizarre, so painful, so humiliating... yet so joyous.
 - Ken Green

Golf is a game you can never get too good at. You can improve, but you can never get to where you master the game.
 - Gay Brewer

There are no absolutes in golf. Golf is such an individual game, and no two people swing alike.
 - Kathy Whitworth

If the purpose of golf is purgatorial, nothing more needs to be said. But if the purpose is to entertain as well as instruct, then let us pause in the mad rush for hazards, more hazards and still more and fiercer hazards.
 - William Hemingway (in 1909)

Golf is a difficult game, but it's a little easier if you trust your instincts. It's too hard a game to try to play like someone else.
 - Nancy Lopez

Golf is 20 percent talent and 80 percent management.
 - Ben Hogan

If there is one thing I have learned during my years as a professional, it is that the only thing constant about golf is its inconstancy.
 - Jack Nicklaus

Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of a bagpipe.
 - Anonymous

I have seen men who have won a dozen or more tournaments, upon teeing off for their first USGA Open Championship, come close to vomiting. And golf is no easy game when you are trying to hole a downhill three-footer and throwing up at the same time.
 - Charles Price

Playing golf is like raising children. You keep thinking you'll do better next time.
 - E.C. McKenzie

Golf is to me what his Sabine farm was to the poet Horace - a solace and an inspiration.
 - Ramsay MacDonald

The fun part of golf is the variety of shots. In football you can do anything with a ball, but you can do anything with a golf ball as well. When you hit a shot and the ball does exactly what you want it to do ... that's wonderful. It's just great when you hit the ball well. You should always try not to make the ball cry.
 - Johann Cruyff

We can get so much out of golf. I know I have, and I'd like to see the same for you. Golf is the game of a lifetime, one in which you can get better and better. It's not what you do that counts, but what you attempt to do.
 - George Knudson

Sudden success in golf is like the sudden acquisition of wealth. It is apt to unsettle and deteriorate the character.
 - P.G. Wodehouse

Golf is a non-violent game played violently from within.
 - Bob Toski

Golf is like a razor. You get just so sharp and then it begins to dull a little more the more you use it.
 - Doug Sanders

Golf is like solitaire. When you cheat, you cheat only yourself.
 - Tony Lema

Golf is a lot like sex. It's something you can enjoy all your life. And if you remain an amateur, you get to pick your own playing partners.
 - Jess Sweetser

Having a great golf swing helps under pressure, but golf is a game about scoring. It's like an artist who can get a two-inch brush at Wal-Mart for 20 cents or a fine camel-hair brush from an art store for 20 dollars. The brush doesn't matter - how the finished painting looks is what matters.
 - Jerry Pate

Learning to play golf is like learning to play the violin. It's not only difficult to do, it's very painful to everyone around you.
 - Hal Linden

People who say golf is fun are probably the same people who rationalize the game by saying they play it for their health. What could be fun about a game in the entire history of which nobody has ever shot the score he thought he should have?
 - Charles Price

Golf is the only sport I know of where a player pays for every mistake. A man can muff a serve in tennis, miss a strike in baseball, or throw an incomplete pass in football and still have another chance to square himself. In golf, every swing counts against you.
 - Lloyd Mangrum

Golf is a compromise between what your ego wants you to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do.
 - Bruce Crampton

Golf is the most useless outdoor game ever devised to waste time and try the sprit of man.
 - Westbrook Pegler

Golf is the Lord's punishment for man's sins.
 - James "Scotty" Reston

Tennis is like a wonderful, longstanding relationship with a husband. Golf is a tempestuous, lousy lover; it's totally unpredicatable, a constant surprise.
 - Dinah Shore

Golf is a better game played downhill.
 - Jack Nicklaus

Golf is not sacred, and there is no use getting so gosh-darned solemn about it.
 - Don Herold

If you think golf is relaxing, you're not playing it right.
 - Bob Hope

Golf is the hardest game in the world to play, and the easiest to cheat at.
 - Dave Hill

Golf is like an 18-year-old girl with big boobs. You know it's wrong but you can't keep away from her.
 - Val Doonican

Golf is a fascinating game. It has taken me nearly forty years to discover that I can't play it.
 - Ted Ray

Golf is not a wrestle with Bogey; it is not a struggle with your mortal foe; it is a physiological, psychological and moral fight with your self; it is a test of mastery over self; and the ultimate and irreducible element of the game is to determine which of the players is the more worthy combatant.
 - Arnold Haultain

The secret of golf is to turn three shots into two.
 - Bobby Jones

Golf isn't a game, it's a choice that one makes with one's life.
 - Charles Rosin

Golf is said to be an humbling game, but it is surprising how many people are either not aware of their weaknesses of else reckless of consequences.
 - Bobby Jones

Golf is very healthy; it is better to swat pills than to swallow them.
 - Ted Osborne

Golf is like tennis. The game doesn't start until the serve gets in.
 - Peter Thomson

I never did see the sense in keeping my head down. The only reason I play golf is to see where the ball has gone.
 - Charles Price

I think golf is good for boxing, but the reverse is far from being the case.
 - Max Baer (World Heavyweight Champion 1934-5)

Golf is not a mere game; it is a disease, infectious and contagious, which once acquired cannot be shaken off. Once a golfer always a golfer - there's no help for it!
 - L. Latchford (1903)

Golf is a lot of walking, broken up by disappointment and bad arithmetic.
 - Earl Wilson

Golf is a game which brings out the peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of human nature. It permits no compromises, recognises no weaknesses and punishes the foolhardy. Yet the apparent simplicity in hitting a small white ball from A to B lures all potential golfers into a false sense of security. Every instinct in the human psyche says the game looks easy, therefore it must be. That, for many of us, is where the trouble starts.
 - A.J. Dalconen

Golf, I have been told, is physically a better game for our sex than any other, as it exercises a greater number of muscles without fear of over-exertion or strain.
 - Issette Pearson (1899)

One reason golf is such an exasperating game is that a thing we learned is so easily forgotten, and we find ourselves struggling year after year with faults we had discovered and corrected time and again.
 - Bobby Jones

The average player would rather play than watch. Those who don't play can't possibly appreciate the subtleties of the game. Trying to get their attention with golf is like selling Shakespeare in the neighbourhood saloon.
 - Bob Toski

Golf is an indispensable adjunct to high civilisation.
 - Andrew Carnegie

Golf is essentially an exercise in masochism conducted out of doors; it affords an opportunity for a certain swank, it induces a sense of kinship in its victims, and it forces them to breathe fresh air, but it is, at bottom, an elaborate and addictive rite calculated to drive them crazy for hours on end and send them straight to the whisky bottle after that.
 - Paul O'Neil

Golf is a puzzle without an answer. I've played the game for 40 years and I still haven't the slightest idea how to play.
 - Gary Player

It is nothing new or original to say that golf is played one stroke at a time. But it took me many strokes to realize it.
 - Robert T. Jones, Jr



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