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25 Unique Golf Facts You Didn’t Know About

How knowledgeable are you about golf? Here are some wide-ranging golf fun facts presented with a little context. We hope they spark your curiosity to learn more about this historic game and spur you to get out and play

1. Largest Crowd

In 2018, the last time the PGA Tour’s WM Phoenix Open released attendance figures, a record 216,818 fans turned out for the Saturday round at TPC Scottsdale. That number, the largest for any tournament in golf’s history, was likely eclipsed in 2023. For the first time ever, Saturday ticket sales were curtailed and the tournament known as “The Greatest Show on Grass” was declared a sellout. Although marathons in big cities attract far larger numbers of spectators, among ticketed U.S. sporting events, only the Indianapolis 500 with its 300,000+ race-day crowd beats the Saturday attendance of golf’s WM Phoenix Open.

2. Breaking Barriers

Over the years, several women have competed in PGA Tour tournaments. In 2003 LPGA great Annika Sorenstam, then the world’s no. 1 woman golfer, entered the Bank of Colonial at Colonial Country Club. Michelle Wie played in eight PGA Tour tournaments between 2004 and 2008. As a 14-year-old phenom, Wie shot 68-70 at the 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii and missed the cut by one stroke. The only woman to make a cut on the PGA Tour was Babe Zaharias, who first accomplished the feat at the 1945 Los Angeles Open. That year she also made the cut at the Phoenix Open and the Tucson Open.

3. Inflation Buster

Buying food at sporting events is normally an expensive proposition, but at the Masters, the food concessions, highlighted by the pimento cheese sandwich, are a great bargain. Since 2003 this favorite Masters’ sandwich has been priced at $1.50.

4. Keeping Good Company

In 2022 more than 25.6 million Americans played a round of golf on a golf course and another 15.5 million participated in off-course golf activities like Topgolf. A total of 119 million Americans—one-third of the population—either played golf (on or off-course), watched it on television or online, listened to a golf podcast, or read about the sport.

5. Aces Wild

The insurance companies that underwrite hole-in-one contests figure the odds of a pro making a hole-in-one are 3,000 to 1. For amateurs, it’s 12,500 to 1. How about two holes-in-one in one round? Those odds are an astronomical 67 million to 1. In 2013 Oakland University women’s golfer Kassandra Komma scored two aces on the front nine of a practice round. Amazingly, the feat has been accomplished three times on the PGA Tour, most recently by lefty Brian Harman at The Barclays in 2015.

6. Splash

During the 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, the pros dunked 58 balls into the lake that surrounds the island-green on the par-3 17th hole of the Players Stadium Course. Not surprisingly, public players rinse balls at a much higher clip. Each year, some 35,000 rounds are played on the Stadium Course and about 60,000 golf balls are fished from the lake on 17. While there’s no official limit on how many times you can re-tee, the unwritten policy is players are permitted up to three swings from the tee and, if unsuccessful, two more from the drop zone.

7. Floating Fun

Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho added a new wrinkle to island holes by creating the world’s first floating island green when the course opened in 1991. Thanks to an underwater cable system, the entire green on the par-3 14th is moved daily to vary the length of the hole and its position relative to the tee boxes. Since it is a true island hole, a small boat transports players to and from the green.

8. Lefty Haven

While left-handers make up 10 to 12 percent of the overall population, only about 5 to 7 percent of golfers play left-handed. Unless you go to Canada, that is. In the Great White North, 30 percent of golfers play left-handed. Credit hockey, a game synonymous with Canada. Nearly two thirds of Canadian hockey players stick-handle and shoot left-handed, so it’s an easy transition for them to swing a golf club from the left side.

9. What a Debut

The first nationally-televised golf tournament in the U.S. was the 1953 World Championship of Golf held outside of Chicago. Covered by the ABC Network, it featured an incredible walk-off win. Trailing by one stroke on the par-4 finishing hole, Lew Worsham hit a 115-yard wedge shot onto the green and the ball proceeded to roll 45 feet into the cup for an eagle and the victory.

10. Mighty Condor

An avian theme defines the best scores in golf. One-under-par on a hole is a “birdie,” two under is an “eagle,” and minus-3 on a hole is a “double-eagle” or “albatross.” A “Condor”—a minus-4 score—is achieved by making a hole-in-one on a par 5 or a “2” on a par 6. The feat is so rare it’s only known to have occurred five times. Most recently, in December 2020, amateur Kevin Ponan holed out for a “2” on the 649-yard, par-6 18th hole at Lake Chabot Golf Course, a GolfNow course in Oakland, California.

11. Over the Moon For Golf

Astronaut Alan Shepard is responsible for the most otherworldly fun golf fact—he introduced golf to the moon. During an Apollo 14 moon walk on February 6, 1971, he brought out a couple of golf balls and a custom-made 6-iron. Swinging one-handed because of his bulky space suit, Shepard whiffed a couple of times and then shanked a shot, but on his final swing he made good contact and told the world the ball went for “miles and miles and miles.” Alas, it’s now believed the ball flew just 40 yards.

12. Age is Just a Number

One of the most remarkable feats in golf is shooting your age. Fred Couples calls his final round 60 to win a PGA Tour Champions tournament in 2022 at age 63 the best round of his life. Sam Snead was the youngest PGA Tour player to shoot his age when he recorded a second-round 67 in the 1979 Quad Cities Open, and he topped that with a final round 66. Thomas Edison Smith, an amateur from Minnesota, shot his age a whopping 3,359 times. Props also to Arthur Thompson of Victoria, British Columbia, who in 1972 recorded a 103 score, making him the oldest golfer to shoot his age.

13. A Victory For Womankind

Lynn Grant made history at the Volvo Scandinavian Mixed in June 2022 when she became the first woman to win an official DP World Tour tournament. The field was composed of 72 DP Tour members and 72 members of the Ladies European Tour. Though the men and women played from different tees calibrated to produce approach shots from equitable distances, the competition was completely integrated. Grant bested second-place finisher Henrik Stenson, the 2016 Open Champion, by nine strokes.

14. So Many Eyes on Tiger

When Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters in runaway fashion for his first major championship, the final round attracted a television audience of 44 million—the largest ever to watch a golf tournament. By contrast, the 2023 Masters, the most-watched golf telecast in the last five years, had an audience of 12 million.

15. The PGA Tour’s Worst Score was Painfully Bad

The worst score registered on the PGA Tour is the 123 Mike Reasor recorded in the third round of the 1974 Tallahassee Open. Reasor was actually less “bad” than badly injured. After making the 36-hole cut, he went horseback riding and fell from his horse. Since a requirement for securing his place in the next week’s field was completing all 72 holes of the tournament, Reasor played the final two rounds (he shot a fourth-round 114) with serious injuries to his shoulder, knee, and ribs. He persevered by swinging with one arm and using just a five-iron, two wedges and a putter.

16. Iceland is Golf-Land

One of the most surprising golf facts is that Iceland boasts more golf courses per capita than any other country. Located just below the Arctic Circle, the small island nation with a population of 388,000 people is home to 65 golf courses. That’s one course for every 6,000 Icelanders. Golf season is short—late May to early September—but between early June and late July you can play past midnight.

17. Low Wages

In 1895, the winner’s share of the prize fund at the first U.S. Open Championship, a 36-hole stroke-play tournament held at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island, was $150. The remaining payouts for the best finishers in the 11-player field were $100, $50, $25, and $10. Adjusting for inflation, the 1895 winner’s haul equates to about $5,600 today.

18. Picking Up the Pace of Play

Slow play is a frustrating issue in golf, but many pro Tour players actually love to play fast. Wesley Bryan unofficially holds the record for the fastest round on Tour. Playing alone and running between shots at the 2017 BMW Championship, Bryan finished his final round in 89 minutes. Most impressively, he shot a 2-under-par 69. On the LPGA Tour, Alice Miller, a major winner who amassed nine Tour titles during her career, holds the record. She completed a round at the 1997 Welch’s/Circle K Championship in 1 hour, 26 minutes and 44 seconds.

19. Lightning Strikes

The CDC estimates that random individuals in the U.S. have a million to 1 chance of being struck by lightning, but for golfers the odds jump to 250,000 to 1. Thankfully, lightning strikes aren’t normally fatal. With an average of only one fatality per year, golf isn’t the most dangerous outdoor activity for lightning strikes (fishing tops the list), and it isn’t even in the top ten. Still, it’s best not to tempt fate. Six-time major champion Lee Trevino has been struck three times. He was hospitalized and knocked out of the PGA Tour’s 1975 Western Open by a lightning strike when he declined to return to the clubhouse and instead stood under a tree with his umbrella open.

20. Most Unusual Caddies

Talamore Golf Resort in Southern Pines, North Carolina captured headlines in 1981 when its Rees Jones-designed course debuted featuring llama caddies. The llamas occasionally went out with golfers on the hilly course, but they were essentially a publicity stunt. Nowadays the honor of “Most Unusual Caddy Program” goes to Silvies Valley Ranch, a livestock ranch and 52-hole golf resort near Burns, Oregon. The caddie corps consists of several goats who are saddled up with a pack featuring a custom-made double golf bag and pouches for golf balls, drinks and peanuts (a treat for the caddies). Resort guests can book a goat caddy on the 7-hole McVeigh’s Gauntlet and 9-hole Chief Egan par-3 course.

21. A True Golf Fanatic

In 2020, 61-year-old Barry Gibbons of Austin, Texas, set the record for “Most Golf Played in a Year” by completing 1,235 rounds on the four courses of The Hills Country Club, his home club. In all, he walked 8,377 miles playing golf—the equivalent of crossing the continental U.S. three times.

22. Most Expensive Muni

Rambling over an old landfill in the shadows of the Whitestone Bridge in the Bronx, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, a GolfNow course, cost an estimated $250 million to build by the time it debuted in 2015. Though it is a thrilling, upscale, links-style New York City muni with breathtaking views of Manhattan, it was a colossal boondoggle that took decades to come to fruition.

23. Go Golfing, Go Naked

While many golf courses adhere to strict dress codes, one course in Gironde, France, has a strict “undress code.” At La Jenny Golf, the world’s only naturist golf course, nudity is compulsory for all players. When weather permits, you must take off all of your clothes to play the 6-hole, par-20 course.

24. You vs. Tour Players

According to studies by the USGA and R&A, the average length of drives for amateur golfers across all levels is 215 yards. For amateur women golfers, drives average 147 yards. Meanwhile, in 2022-2023, Rory McIlroy averaged 326 yards on his drives. On the LPGA Tour, the longest hitters averaged 285 yards. No wonder the pros often seem to be playing a different game than ordinary golfers.

25. Olympic Golf, Take Two

After a 112-year absence, golf re-established itself on the Olympic stage in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro when Justin Rose of Great Britain and Inbee Park of South Korea won gold medals. In its first go-round as an official Olympic event, in 1900 and 1904, golf wasn’t exactly a hit. In St. Louis in 1904, golfers representing the United States and Canada were the only competitors. Golf was scheduled to be included in the 1908 London Olympics but Great Britain decided to boycott the tournament and it was cancelled because of lack of entries. n the 1908 London Olympics but Great Britain decided to boycott the tournament and it was cancelled because of lack of entries.

12 responses to “25 Unique Golf Facts You Didn’t Know About”

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  5. kaitlin says:

    cool facts

  6. Chandramani Panda, FCA, ACS says:

    Truly inspirational pieces of information. I feel people have really struggled enough to bring the game to its current format so much so that instruments have been made to make the judgment of direction and trajectory of the ball.

    It feels indeed great to know the odds against which people have achieved a lot.

    Chandramani Panda

  7. lool says:

    ha lol

  8. crazysmasher says:

    5 Facts about golf that most of you will not be knowing:

  9. The facts are so interesting and true, and its apply on all the people who are the player of the golf and its lover too. as a technological age these facts are totally become close in a cave like golf-cave which is a very interesting thing for the golf lover which is virtual golf simulator and its really a fun. Thanks for sharing this information.

  10. auzerria johhnson says:

    Almost all modern sports have origins in earlier games, going as far back as thousands of years – golf is no different. Most modern games then eventually developed into a more recognizable version in the last 200 years or so. In this respect, golf differs from its sporting counterparts. Though golf’s origins lie in the ball-and-stick games of ancient times, the modern game of golf dates as far back as the 1400s in Britain, and more specifically Scotland. In its early days, Scottish kings – James II and James IV – actually outlawed the game, believing the popularity of the sport conflicted with military training. However, King James IV himself became enamored with the sport by the 1500s, and in the early 1500s, in a short peace with England, the game became popular there as well, though when the two countries were back at war with each other, golf receded in England again. However, when James VI of Scotland took the throne in England in 1603, the game came to England to stay

  11. Ryan Sabol says:

    awesome. I saw another one of your articles on another gem.

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