Millions of people love to golf and have played it for centuries. But even if you’re an avid golfer, chances are you don’t know a lot of these crazy golf facts.
You will find the history of the game, information about professional golfers, statistics for amateurs, and much more. For some great golf entertainment and random knowledge, keep reading.
Let’s break all these golf facts into different categories to quickly learn more about this great game.
Golfs rich history is what makes it so unique. It’s why we think it’s one of the best sports played of all time.
We’ve come a long way from playing golf on a sheep farm and now have 600 yard golf holes! Here are some facts about golf.
Golf is hundreds of Years Old
There are many historians and sources that differ on the history of golf. Most agree that golf was invented by the Scots in the 1400s. Although no one knows the exact inventor of the game, we are grateful for their efforts.
St. Andrews became the first course to be officially recognized and is still the oldest golf course in the world. It’s now a bucket list golf course for the everyday person and still hosts a major tournament to this day (which is hard to believe based on its age). Even with the best equipment, players still have to deal with the harsh winds and weather at this home of golf.
Golf was banned
I bet you didn’t know that golf was once banned! Between 1457-1744, the Scottish government banned golf as it interfered with military training.
As someone who identifies as a “golf addict” I can 100% see how this is true. I’m sure a lot of significant others have banned golf as well! They unbanned it and made golf the great game it is today.
Golf balls made of feathers
Before Titleist became the “Number one ball in golf” players used very different equipment. The first golf balls and the first golf clubs were very different from today.
Players used wooden heads and wooden shafts. The original golf balls were made of feathers. Imagine how difficult the game was just a few hundred year ago.
Modern golf balls glide effortlessly through the air and make the game much easier. The modern-day golf clubs are a great pairing.
Golf for women
While the sport is dominated predominantly by men, the sport has been enjoyed for centuries by women. The first women’s club was developed in Musselburgh, Scotland in 1867.
Mary Queen of Scots, a French-born girl, was the first woman to play regularly golf. Now, women’s golf is growing quickly with players at all levels.
Golf Tees were Very Different
Golf tees are something that most golfers take for granted and don’t think twice about. There are many types of tees available, including plastic, wooden, and bristle.
Before the invention, golfers would make mounds out of sand and then place the ball on top. Consider how much work it takes to make contact with the ball.
The History of Yelling “FORE”
Ever wonder why we shout FORE instead of Look out when you hit a ball on the green? The reason we yell “FORE” if a golf ball is heading toward another player is because golf originally had “forecaddies.”
Back in the day, when players hit at the forecaddies, they finally reduced it to fore. Now, it’s a part of the game that everyone seems to know. Click here to find out more about forecaddies.
Professional Golf Facts
Now that you’ve learned about the background of this great game, let’s get into some of the best professional golf statistics.
Doug Ford is the Babe Ruth of Golf
When you say, “I’m playing great golf” the Golf Gods seem to find you and quickly humble your game. Doug Ford, in 1957, boldly claimed that he would win the event. He even predicted his winning score at 282. That’s like Babe Ruth pointing to where he’d hit the iconic home run in 1932.
Doug won the event. The exact score was 282, what a crazy golf fact!
Jack Nicklaus Won the Most Majors (18).
Four major championships are held each year for professional golfers. The Masters, The US Opens, The Open Championship and The PGA Championship. These are the major events that everyone anticipates as each player takes a shot at history.
Jack Nicklaus has won 18 major championships, more than any other professional golfer. He has been second 19 times! At 46, he won his last major at the 1986 Masters.
Ben Hogan Defies the Odds
Ben Hogan, who started playing and caddying at the age of 12 is considered one of the greatest golfers ever. A turning point was in 1949, when he was involved in a horrific car accident that caused severe injuries. He was discharged from the hospital 59 days later, and he said that he may never be able to walk again.
He defied all odds and won the US Open at Merion 16 months after the accident. With a 32 on the back 9, he won again in 1951.
He retired with 64 tournament wins, and nine professional major victories. He also wrote a biography. Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf which is still a top-selling book today. Many in golf believed Hogan discovered a secret to his game that he had not shared with the public. We wrote an article on hogan’s secret here. Regardless if he had a secret or not, Hogan’s swing is at the top of the list of all time best.
Click here for more information about the best golf books.
It is hard to win at Augusta
Winning a major championship can be difficult, but winning a green jersey is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Augusta Nationals back nine has seen some of the most devastating golf meltdowns in history. You will need to win the event with a lot of grit.
Its almost impossible to win it all back to back. Jack Nicklaus was the first person to successfully defend his title. Tiger joined him as the other player to do this in 2001 and 2002.
Augusta is a Golf City
Augusta is the crown jewel of American golf. It’s so private that the club turns down billionaires if they don’t think they’re the right for the club. Even the members don’t play regularly as they are constantly updating the course for the Masters and making it look picturesque for TV.
If somehow you are ever offered an invitation to this course, go… I don’t care how much it costs or what plans you need to cancel. This place is a paradise for golfers and a part in the legend of the sport.
Seve Ballesteros Won 90 Times
Seve was a legend in golf and made winning an integral part of his game. He won ninety-five major championships, and he was a winner of the game 90 times.
The Ryder Cup, one of the most prestigious parts of golf, is one of its greatest features. Every two years, the Ryder Cup pits team USA against team Europe in a thrilling three-day battle. These are some golf facts to go along with this incredible tournament:
- The first Ryder Cup was held in 1927.
- The captain’s pick system was introduced in the 1970s.
- Sergio Garcia has the most points of any player with 28 ½.
- Due to the two world wars, there were no Ryder Cups in 10 years.
- Phil Mickelson has made the most Ryder Cup appearances (12), from 1995 to 2018.
- The Ryder Cup trophy measures 17 inches high by nine inches wide and weighs four pounds.
- USA has 27 wins, Europe has 14, (the format has changed in 1979 and Europe seems now to be the favorite).
Phil Mickelson, a Righty
Phil Mickelson, also known as lefty, is actually right-handed. He learned the sport by mirroring his dad’s swing which accidentally led to playing golf as a lefty. This wasn’t easy as equipment was sparse for left-handed players and junior golfers at the time.
Tiger Woods Golf Facts
Tiger has had such a distinguished career, that he deserves his own section. If he didnt, he could fill the entire professional golf facts section with his many records. These Tiger Woods facts will blow you away!
- His real name was Eldrick Tont woods. Tiger was named after his father, who gave it to him because of Col. Vuong Dang Phong (a friend and fellow soldier).
- He was two years old when he appeared on Mike Douglas show and hit some amazing shots.
- Tiger spent insane 683 weeks at the top of the worlds rankings, which is more than twice Greg Norman.
- Tiger made his eight-year-old first hole in one. Can you imagine?
- He completed the unofficial “Tiger slam” in 2000-2001. After winning the 2000 Masters Championship at Augusta National, he had all four major championship trophy trophies.
- Tiger has won 15 major championships, and is now second only to Jack Nicklaus. It’s been his goal since he was kid to surpass Jack and the entire world thought it would happen. Its not possible due to a lot injuries and an 11-year drought in majors.
- Tiger has won 82 professional tournaments, and is currently tied for the most wins with Sam Snead. Here’s to hoping he can win at least one more despite a myriad of injuries he’s suffered in recent years.
All the wins are incredible, but I think the best statistic about Tiger is the 142 consecutive cuts made between 1998 and 2005.That is absolutely amazing and a number I don’t think will ever be broken in the modern game. Bryon Nelson held the record at 113 consecutive cuts.
This is a shocking number, considering that some of the most talented golfers in the world miss the cut every single week. Finally, don’t forget that Tiger’s winning percentage is also insane at roughly 22.9% – another record that is unlikely for anyone to ever break.
Amateur Golf Facts
Now that you’ve learned about all things professional golf, let’s get into some stats from the average golfer.
Average Golf Handicap
According to the Golf handicap Index, the average golf handicap for men and women is 14.2 and 27.5 respectively. USGA.
Average Golf Stats
TrackmanThe top golf industry name,, shared some interesting facts about the average male player. These are some interesting facts that you can check out right now:
- Average golfers give up 30 yards because they are not optimizing their swing.
- 93.4 mph is an average driver club speed, which corresponds to 214 yards of total distance
You should also read our articles about average distances, handicap, and other topics.
Walking is a great way to exercise
If you’re up for walking a round of golf you’ll get some great exercise. The average full-length course is 4–5 miles (or more of walking).
According to Golf.comThe average amount of calories you burn while walking is 1,400 If you use a caddy instead of carrying yourself, expect to burn 800–900 calories. While cart golf burns 800–1300 calories depending on the player, course, etc.
Golfers Lose A Lot of Balls
As I’m sure you know, losing a golf ball sucks as it hurts your score and wallet. Did you know that every year, over a million golf balls are lost?
Multiple sources claim that the average golfer loses between 3-4 balls per round. Thats 420 million golf balls lost each year, based on all the golf we play. Needless to say, I don’t think Titleist, Callaway or TaylorMade are leaving the golf ball market anytime soon.
Here are some ways to stop losing too many golf balls.
Island Greens Aren’t for Amateurs
TPC Sawgrass #17 is one of Americas most famous holes. The 16th is a fantastic par 5, 17, and 3 hole. 18 is another great hole. But #17 is so epic because it’s a true island green.
Even though it’s less than 140 yards, golfers struggle! It’s been reported that more than 125,000 golf balls are hit in the water every single year. This is a very expensive day for golfers, but its well worth it.
Some Rounds of Golf Aren’t Cheap
Golf isn’t a cheap sport to begin with thanks to tee times, equipment, caddies, etc. However, there are many golf courses that are very expensive. According to Bleacher ReportThese are the seven priciest golf courses in the United States.
- Shadow Creek Golf Course ($750 – $1,000) = most expensive golf club
- TPC Sawgrass ($400 – $840)
- Wynn Golf Club ($600-$650)
- Pebble Beach Golf Club ($595 – $640)
- Old White course at Greenbrier Resort ($365 – $5575)
- Trump National Doral ($495)
- Whistling Straits ($485)
Chipping and putting is hard
According to this Golf Monthly articleA typical 10 handicapper is more likely than not to hit it within 20 feet, but it is less likely to hit it within 5 feet from just 15 yards.
According to the same article, 12 handicappers were more likely than 15-footers to 3-putt than to hole out from 15 feet. Needless to say, make sure you’re spending plenty of time with your green reading and putting stroke to avoid three jacks.
Scratch golf is rare
Most golfers strive to achieve lower scores. Only a few golfers can become scratch golfers.
According to the USGA report earlier, only 2% of all golfers are a 0 handicap. It puts you in the elite category of golfers, it is obvious.
Click here to find out how to become scratch golfer.
Here are some more fun facts about golf
You want more stats from this amazing game? Keep reading…
- Richard Lewis holds the record (11,000) for the most holes completed in a single calendar year.
- Le Mirage Golf Club in Quebec is reminiscent of Arizona desert landscapes thanks to thousands upon thousands of Gramineae. It makes for an unforgettable experience.
- South Floridas best golf courses include Blue Monster at Doral, Heron Creek Golf Club and many others. Florida is truly a paradise for golfers!
- There are more than 9,000 golf courses in the United States.
- A par 6 is a hole that measures more than 670 yards by men and 570 yards by women, according to the USGA.
- The world’s longest hole is almost 1,000 yards long in South Korea at Gunsan Country Club. It’s also a par 7 and the third hole of the day, quite a way to start the round.
- Brett Stanford from Australia made the longest putt at 395 feet.You can watch this amazing feat on YouTube). Jack Nicklaus also made an incredible 110-foot putt.
- Most golf courses are par 72 (as opposed to 70, 71, and occasionally 73).
- Peru features the highest golf course in the world – La Paz Golf Club. It is a par 69 and rises to 9,863 feet.
- Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. played on the moon with a 6-iron, which may be the most crazy golf fact ever. Imagine hitting a ball into outer space. It would be even better than qualifying for a PGA Tour event… We can only dream!
- A shark attack has a greater chance of happening (1 in 350,000,000) than getting an albatross (double-eagle) within a year.
- Condors are an ace on par 5, which Larry Bruce first did in 1962 on a 480-yard dogleg right par 5.
Golf is a favorite sport of many people
According to the PGA, there is 450 million rounds played in the US each year. This is roughly 25-30,000 rounds per course (and each course only reports 10–15 aces each year).
Hole in One Chances
Your chances of making an ace aren’t great!
So if you haven’t made one yet, don’t beat yourself up. But don’t forget the youngest golfer to record an ace was only five years old (Cosby Orr in 1975).
As stated on PGA’s website, “According to the National Hole-in-One Registry, the odds of the average golfer making a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1.”
These statistics will make it less likely that the odds of success are even higher:
- A Tour player has a 3000:1 chance of scoring an ace. A low handicap golfer has a 5000-to-1 chance.
- The odds of two players from the same foursome scoring an ace in a round are 17 million to 1. So if your buddy dunks one on a par 3, don’t expect the magic to happen again that round.
- One player can make a hole-in-one twice during the round.
- If you’re lucky enough to get two aces in your life, the average time between aces is 24 years!
Only 1-2% of golfers are skilled enough (or lucky enough!) to be able to score an ace every year.
Are you looking for more information about the history of golf or other facts about this great game? Continue reading if you have more questions about the history of golf and other facts about this great game.
What does golf mean?
A running joke in the game is that the word golf stands for “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden” as it was originally a sport played by men. This is false and golf is not an acronym.
According to the USGA, “It derives linguistically from the Dutch word ‘kolf’ or ‘kolve,’ meaning quite simply ‘club.’ In the Scottish dialect of the late 14th or early 15th century, the Dutch term became ‘goff’ or ‘gouff,’ and only later in the 16th century ‘golf.”
Whats cool about golf?
Golf is fun because everyone starts from the same point and experiences the same struggles. Whether you’re old or young, tall or short, everyone feels the challenges of this great game. Even the most talented golfers are not able to win in this sport. This is why so many golfers become addicted to it. It challenges your mental and physical abilities.
When was golf invented.
Golf has a long history. It dates back to the 1400s, but some believe it was even earlier. Plus, the sport was banned as it was a “distraction” as people played golf instead of attending military training.
Click here to find out more about the history and development of golf.
Here are 50+ facts about golf. You can find so many amazing facts, records and figures about this game, from the history to Tiger Woods stats.