40 Powerful Golf Quotes for Life, Laughs and Inspiration

By Todd Mrowice

Three golfers smiling on course

Golf is one of the most quotable sports of all time. Golf quotes are thrown around on the course, they hang above desks, and they become part of people’s guidance and laughter in everyday life. Here are some of the most notable golf quotes to share with your golf peers. They derive from golf legends, sports icons, ambassadors, comedians, and movies.

Funny Golf Quotes

Taking golf too seriously can be dangerous. These golf quotes keep things light-hearted.

  • "It took me seventeen years to get 3,000 hits. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course." - Hank Aaron. Hammerin’ Hank was an avid golfer and close friend of Lee Elder, who hosted his charity golf events for many years.
  • "I had a wonderful experience on the golf course today. I had a hole in nothing. Missed the ball and sank the divot." - Don Adams. Adams often cut golf jokes on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show.
  • "When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls." - Henry Beard. Beard wrote several golf books and played frequently, never keeping score.
  • "Give me golf clubs, fresh air, and a beautiful partner, and you can keep the clubs and the fresh air." - Jack Benny. The episode of The Jack Benny Show from 1961, “Jack Plays Golf,” is golf comedy gold.
  • "Many a golfer prefers a golf cart to a caddy because the cart cannot count, criticize or laugh. - Author Unknown. While unknown, this could have been said by several PGA Tour players.
  • "Golf is played by twenty million, mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun." - Jim Bishop. The famous journalist’s quote now applies to approximately 25 million golfers.
  • "I may be the only golfer never to have broken a single putter if you don’t count the one I twisted into a loop and threw into a bush." - Thomas Boswell. In 2021, Boswell retired after 52 years at the Washington Post.
  • "I don’t like to watch golf on television because I can’t stand people who whisper." - David Brenner. Brenner was considered a pioneer of observational comedy.
  • "I’m about five inches from being an outstanding golfer. That’s the distance my left ear is from my right." - Ben Crenshaw. Gentle Ben was being a little hard on himself considering he won 30 worldwide events including the Masters twice.
  • "The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody put a flagstick on top." - Pete Dye. Anyone who designs the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass has to have a sense of humor.
  • "They call it golf because all of the other four-letter words were taken." - Raymond Floyd. A four-time major champion, Floyd still adds his commentary when asked.
  • "I know I am getting better at golf because I’m hitting fewer spectators." - Gerald Ford. This is actually true. The 38th President was known for hitting multiple spectators at celebrity golf events.
  • "I went to play golf and tried to shoot my age, but I shot my weight instead." - Bob Hope. There may never be a bigger ambassador to the game of golf than Bob Hope.
  • "If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball." - Jack Lemmon. Lemmon had an endless pursuit to improve his game alongside close friend, Clint Eastwood.
  • "The only sure rule in golf is – he who has the fastest cart never has to play the bad lie." - Mickey Mantle. Mantle was known for hitting huge drives on the course, which matched his batting stats.
  • "If you think your hands are more important in your golf swing than your legs, try walking a hole on your hands." - Gary Player. Even in his 80s, it still wouldn’t be surprising to see Player do a proper handstand.
  • "If you’re 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." - Lee Trevino. Trevino would know. He has been hit by lightning three times in his life including at the 1975 Western Open at Butler National.

Inspirational and Intellectual Golf Quotes

Some of golf's greatest players shed some light on their mental approach to golf and the work ethic that helped separate them from the rest.

  • "Never listen to other people’s expectations. You should live your life and live up to your own expectation." - Tiger Woods. It's hard not to take advice from the GOAT.
  • "Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work." - Jack Nicklaus. The Golden Bear was known as one of the hardest workers on all aspects of his game, dating back to his high school years.
  • “When I play my best golf, I feel as if I'm in a fog, standing back watching the earth in orbit with a golf club in my hands.” - Mickey Wright. Wright, winner of 82 LPGA Tour events, was often playing her best golf.
  • "Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented." - Arnold Palmer. Palmer always had a way with words, which resonated with his droves of fans for his entire life.
  • "Success in this game depends less on strength of body than strength of mind and character." - Arnold Palmer. An interesting quote from someone who showed what a strong body could do to a golf ball.
  • "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. Rotella is routinely recognized as one of the best sports psychologists in the world.
Seve Ballestros golf quote
  • "To give yourself the best possible chance of playing to your potential, you must prepare for every eventuality. That means practice." - Seve Ballesteros. With 90 professional wins including five majors, Ballesteros prepared to perfection.
  • "Baseball reveals character; golf exposes it." - Ernie Banks. “Mr. Cub” continued to play his second favorite game, golf, until he passed away in 2015.
  • "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. The Australian has 45 professional wins to his credit, so clearly, nerves didn't get in the way often.
  • "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. One of the most impactful quotes from the four-time major champion which doesn’t include his normal splash of humor.
  • "The most important shot in golf is the next one." - Ben Hogan. Advice for players of all levels from one of the best to ever put on a pair of golf spikes.
  • "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. Jones always had a very simplistic, yet insightful, approach to the game he dominated.
  • "I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win." - Arnold Palmer. You will find quotes similar to this one across all sports, likely from some on the greatest to have ever played them. The King is no exception.
  • "Of all the hazards, fear is the worst." - Sam Snead. A fitting quote from one of the most fearless players of all time.
  • "Why go to a tournament if you're not going there to try to win. There's really no point." - Tiger Woods. Seemingly every Tiger comeback has had a version of this quote as an answer at a press conference.

Golf Quotes From Movies

Some of the most quotable golf lines of all time are pulled directly from Hollywood scripts. Thanks to a few of our favorite golf movies, we have these one-liners.

  • "So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.’ And he says, ‘Oh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice." - Caddyshack, Carl Spackler (Bill Murray).
  • "Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Something we were born with. Something that’s ours and ours alone. Something that can’t be taught to you or learned. Something that’s got to be remembered." - The Legend of Bagger Vance, Bagger Vance (Will Smith).
  • "Yeah, I always felt a man's grip on his club just like a man's grip on his world." - The Legend of Bagger Vance, Bagger Vance (Will Smith).
  • "Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir, and I never slice." - Caddyshack, Judge Smails (Ted Knight).
  • "I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball." - Caddyshack, Ty Webb (Chevy Chase).
Happy Gilmore Adam Sandler golf quote
  • "Why Don’t You Just Go Home? That’s Your Home!" - Happy Gilmore, Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler).
  • "Lots of pressure. You've gotta rise above it. You've got to harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness... energy... block... bad. Feel the flow, feel it. It's circular. Its like a carousel-- you pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular... circle. With the music, the flow. All good things." - Happy Gilmore, Gary Potter (Kevin Nealon).
  • "I can't believe you're a professional golfer! I think you should be working at the snack bar." - Happy Gilmore, Bob Barker (as himself).
  • "That's what the golf swing's about. It's about gaining control of your life, and letting go at the same time." - Tin Cup, Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner).

About the Author

Todd Mrowice is a Staff Writer for GolfLink. His experience spans over 15 years and he has covered all aspects of the game including travel, products, business, and professional tours. Todd has also put his deep knowledge of golf equipment to work as a club fitter and in several marketing roles in the golf industry. He has a hole-in-one on his playing resume and appropriately gave his son the middle name “Ace.”