Did You Know? 25 Golf Fun Facts
As one of the world’s oldest sports, golf’s history is rich and varied. Although its origins are widely disagreed upon, the game has undoubtedly left an indelible imprint on society.
In celebration of golf’s past and present, The Daily Tee has compiled a list of 25 of the game’s most unusual, awe-inspiring, and just plain weird facts. Enjoy!
1) Breaking Barriers – Long before Annika Sorenstam competed in the 2003 Bank of America Colonial, Babe Zaharias became the first – and only – female golfer to make the cut at a PGA TOUR event, shooting 76 and 81 during the first two rounds of the 1945 Los Angeles Open.
2) Break Needed – One of the world’s most popular actors, Samuel L. Jackson, is also an avid golfer. In fact, the star of flicks like “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained,” has a contract clause to play golf twice a week whenever he films movies.
3) Fortune Teller? – Prior to the 1957 Masters, Doug Ford not only predicted his victory, but his winning score of 283 as well. Sure enough, Ford’s projections came true, as he was fitted for his only green jacket. Perhaps Ford is a distant cousin of Nostradamus?
4) Nearly Impossible – Is there anything that matches the feeling one has when they make a hole-in-one? How about two in one round? Recently, Oakland University’s Kassandra Komma did just that, recording two ones on her scorecard in nine holes. But, the odds are incredibly low, at one in 64 million!
5) Splash! – Every year, roughly 125,000 balls are hit into the water surrounding TPC Sawgrass’ world-renowned island green 17th hole. During the 2013 Players Championship, 44 balls were lost. But two errant shots received more media coverage than any other. Attempting to capture his second Players Championship, Sergio Garcia carded an untimely quadruple bogey seven at the 17th on Sunday, losing two balls – and the tournament – in the process.
6) Righty Tighty, Lefty Lucy – He may be the most famous left-handed golfer of all-time, but four-time major champion Phil Mickelson is naturally right-handed. As a youngster, he mirrored his father’s swing and enjoyed so much success that he never needed right-handed clubs.
7) Grand Finale – The very first nationally-televised golf tournament, the 1953 World Championship of Golf, featured an incredible finish from Lew Worsham. Needing a birdie for a playoff with Chandler Harper, Worsham holed out for eagle from 104 yards on the 72nd hole to defeat Harper by one shot.
8) Mighty Condor – As unlikely as a hole-in-one is on a par-three, imagine making one on a par-five. This highly unusual shot, informally known as a condor, has only been verified four times!
9) Rain or Shine…and Snow – Dwight Eisenhower. John F. Kennedy. Barack Obama. These are just a few of the presidents associated with golf. But Woodrow Wilson is often overlooked. An avid golfer, he was so dedicated to the game that he even played in the snow – using black golf balls!
10) Moonwalking – To this day, golf is one of only two sports, along with the javelin throw, to have ever been played on the moon. Back on February 6, 1971, Apollo 14 member Alan Shepard hit a ball with a six-iron, swinging one-handed as a result of his pressure suit.
11) The Power of Golf – To millions, she is beloved for her powerful voice, releasing hits like “The Power of Love.” But singer Celine Dion is also a golf fanatic and owns a course, Terrebonne, Quebec’s Le Mirage Golf Club.
12) Age is Just a Number – You have heard the stories before. Perhaps you have even witnessed them yourself. A 90-year-old man breaks 90 in consecutive rounds. A lifelong golfer shoots 66 on her 66th birthday. But nothing compares to the feats of Kermit Dannehl, who has shot an astonishing 1,138 rounds at or below his age! Clearly, the old adage still applies – age really is just a number.
13) Illegal – Starting in 1457, golf was banned throughout Scotland by the nation’s Parliament, which believed it interfered with residents’ military training. This ban was repeated twice more, in 1471 and 1491. Nearly 300 years later, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was founded.
14) Bird…ie – While playing in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1889, Ab Smith hit a shot he defined as a “bird of a shot.” His description ultimately led to one of the game’s most popular terms, which golfers regularly aim for – “birdie.”
15) Tees…Who Needs ’em? – Long before the advent of tees, golfers played off of hand-built sand piles. That all changed, of course, when tees were invented, gaining popularity during the 1920s.
16) Walk It Off – If you choose to walk, rather than ride 18 holes, you will not only walk roughly four miles, but also burn 2,000 calories. To compare, golfers that ride carts burn about 1,300 calories.
17) Bring Your Benjamins – Charging $500 for an 18-hole round, Las Vegas’ Shadow Creek Golf Course is the United States’ most expensive public course. Known for its celebrity sightings, the Tom Fazio-design is regularly ranked as one of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest.
18) Speed Round – Alice Miller presently holds the LPGA Tour’s record for fastest round, completing 18 holes in one hour, 26 minutes, and 44 seconds. The record was established during the final round of the 1997 Welch’s/Circle K Championship.
19) A True Golf Fanatic – From January 1 to December 31, 2010, Richard Lewis set the all-time record for the most holes of golf played in one year – 11,000! Remarkably, he played every single hole at Irving, Texas’ Four Seasons Resort and Club.
20) Here’s Johnny! – Known worldwide as Johnny Carson’s lovable sidekick, Ed McMahon also hosted a PGA TOUR tournament from 1975 to 1979. The Ed McMahon – Jaycees Quad Cities Open, today’s John Deere Classic, attracted celebrities like Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope.
21) Turkey and Cattle – In the midst of World War II, Augusta National Golf Club closed for three years, and cattle and turkey were raised on the grounds to support the war effort. The Masters was not contested again until 1946. That year, Herman Keiser won his only major championship, defeating Ben Hogan by one shot.
22.) Bring Your Parka – Northern Canadian territory Nunavut’s annual Toonik Tyme Festival includes a nine-hole golf tournament. With temperatures well below freezing, golfers play on a sheet of ice, using fluorescent balls, in fear of losing them in the snow.
23) No Gimme – Bob Cook holds the record for the longest recorded putt in tournament golf. During the 1976 International Fourball Pro Am Tournament, he holed a 140-foot-and-2 3/4-inch-long putt at St. Andrews’ 18th hole.
24) A Win for the Ages – Sam Snead is legendary for his 82 PGA TOUR victories, seven major championships, and longevity. But he is also the only male golfer to win on the LPGA Tour, capturing the 1962 Royal Poinciana Plaza Invitational by five shots.
25) Ad-Libbed – “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion.” A cult classic, “Caddyshack” delivers one memorable movie line after another. But few are quoted as often as greenskeeper Carl Spackler’s Masters reference, as he imagines winning the tournament, while swinging away at flowers with a garden tool. Incredibly, the entire scene was improvised by comedic legend Bill Murray.