Did You Know? 25 More Fun Golf Facts
To celebrate golf’s storied past and present, we published a list of 25 intriguing, unusual, or simply bizarre golf facts this summer.
In continuation with the celebration, we’ve developed an entirely new list, featuring 25 more tidbits, regarding PGA and LPGA Tour professionals, golf courses, celebrities, amateurs, and the history of the game we all cherish. Enjoy!
1) Picasso, Michelangelo….Elkington? – To most golf fans, Steve Elkington is widely known for winning the 1995 PGA Championship, as well as two The PLAYERS Championships, but he also regularly publishes caricatures on his website, covering golf, politics, current events, and college sports.
2) The Bogey Man – Symbolizing one-over-par for more than a century now, the word “bogey” originated from a popular 1890s British Isles song, known as “The Bogey Man.” Since the song was based on the pursuit of a mysterious individual, “bogey” was first associated with a golfer’s quest for the perfect score, until “par” was considered the more ideal score during the early 20th century.
3) The Originators – Nearly 100 years before the first Open Championship was contested at Scotland’s Prestwick Golf Club, the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh created the game’s first 13 Rules of Golf, some of which still apply today, including playing the ball as it lies.
4) Iron Man – Consistency is well-celebrated within the sports world. However, one streak is often overlooked. From 1997 to 2005, Champions Tour member Dana Quigley played in 278 consecutive tournaments, of which he was eligible to compete in.
5) Like Father, Like Son – Perhaps the most famous father-son golfing duo of all time, Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris dominated the Open Championship during its early stages. Although nearly 140 years have passed since their last victories, they remain the oldest and youngest winners in championship history. In 1867, 46-year-old Old Tom Morris captured his fourth – and final – Open. The very next year, Young Tom Morris, won his first of four Opens, at the tender age of 17.
6) Look Up, Way Up! – At 13,025 feet above sea level, India’s Yak Golf Course is currently the world’s highest altitude course, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
7) Prodigy – This summer, 16-year-old Lydia Ko became the first amateur in LPGA Tour history to successfully defend a title, the CN Canadian Women’s Open. The youngest LPGA winner of all time, Lydia is also the first amateur to ever capture two LPGA titles.
8) Shock Rock and Golf – Musician Alice Cooper is recognized as a shock rock pioneer, using boa constrictors and electric chairs as stage sets, while singing classics like “School’s Out” and “Poison.” But did you also know that he is an avid golfer that hosts an annual celebrity golf tournament, which benefits his Solid Rock Foundation?
9) Filling Cavities, Draining Putts – Prior to becoming a full-time PGA TOUR professional and earning 40 victories, including three major championships, Dr. Cary Middlecoff served as an Army dentist and then worked at his father’s dentist office for about a year.
10) A Myth Exposed – As one of only five golfers to win the modern-day career grand slam, Gene Sarazen is widely credited as the inventor of the sand wedge, however, according to his daughter, Mary Ann, this is simply fictitious. Gene did design the first modern sand wedge, complete with a steel shaft and clubface markings. However, Walter Hagen had already used a sand wedge beforehand, invented by a man named Edwin K. MacLain.
11) The Rat Pack – Comprised of members like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr., the Rat Pack was not only one of the world’s most popular entertainment groups in the 1960s, they also took turns hosting PGA TOUR tournaments – the Frank Sinatra Open Invitational in 1963, the Dean Martin Tucson Open, from 1972 to 1975 and Sammy’s Greater Hartford Open, from 1973 to 1988.
12) History Preserved – The oldest golf course in the United States is Wheaton, Ill.’s Chicago Golf Club, which was founded before the turn of the 20th century, in 1892.
13) A Tradition Unlike Any Other – Many golf fans know Kenny Loggins wrote the theme song for one of Hollywood’s most iconic golf movies, “Caddyshack,” but many don’t know that his distant cousin, Dave Loggins, wrote, “Augusta,” The Masters Tournament’s soothing theme song about azaleas, towering pines, and green jackets.
14) Beauty, Brains and Golf – Famed 1980s – 1990s supermodel and businesswoman Kathy Ireland – known for her charity work – currently hosts the 9-1-1 for Kids Celebrity Classic, with former NFL wide receiver Tim Brown, and has also sponsored two LPGA Tour tournaments, the 2000 Kathy Ireland Greens.com LPGA Classic and the 2001 Kathy Ireland Championship Honoring Harvey Penick.
15) A Game for All Ages – In 1972, 103-year-old Arthur Thompson achieved a feat that will likely remain unsurpassed for years to come – he shot his age! Playing at Victoria, British Columbia’s Uplands Golf Club, Arthur proved that golf can truly be enjoyed no matter what your age is.
16) Calamity Jane – It was only 33 ½ inches long, weighed 15 1/2 ounces and featured a hickory shaft, but Bobby Jones’ Calamity Jane putter was his secret weapon, helping him capture three major championship victories. In 1926, the putter was replaced with an exact replica, which Bobby used to win 10 more majors, including four in 1930, his historic “Grand Slam” season. The replica is currently valued at $750,000 to $1 million.
17) Bring Your Driver! – No course’s length compares to Lijiang City, China’s Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club. Measuring at a shocking 8,450 yards, it is the longest course in the world, featuring a 735-yard par five and a 525-yard par four.
18) Better Late than Never – At first glance, the achievement may appear to be quite common. In 1962, professional golfer John Barnum won his very first PGA TOUR event, the Cajun Classic. But consider this: he was 51-years-old, becoming the oldest first-time winner in TOUR history, an all-time record.
19) Happy Place – Actor Adam Sandler, who plays the outrageous golfer with unbelievable driving prowess in the movie, “Happy Gilmore,” co-wrote the film’s screenplay with his NYU college roommate, Tim Herlihy. The two also collaborated on other films including, “Billy Madison” and “Waterboy.”
20) World Travelers – On June 24, 2013, Belgians Kasper De Wulf and Alexander Hautekiet added their names to the history books by playing 144 holes, eight separate 18-hole rounds, in eight different countries, all within a 22-hour period.
21) Just Hand Me the Six-Iron – Over a quarter of a century has passed since Thad Daber achieved the unthinkable: shooting a two-under-par 70 with only one club, a six-iron, at the 1987 World One Club Championship. Since then, no one has verified a lower score in a competitive tournament while only using one club.
22) Olympians – Although golf is one of the world’s oldest sports, it has only been included as an Olympic sport twice, in 1900 and 1904. That will all change soon, as golf will be played at the 2016 Olympic Games, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
23) Domination – Everyone knows about Byron Nelson’s historic 1945 season, in which he won 18 tournaments, including 11 in a row. But few realize that Mickey Wright established an all-time LPGA Tour record in 1963, with 13 tournament victories. Mickey’s domination continued in 1964, as she captured 11 more wins.
24) For the Love of Country – Long recognized as a hangout for the rich and famous, Pebble Beach Resort’s legendary Hotel Del Monte was leased by the US Navy in 1943, in the midst of World War II. Eventually, the Navy purchased the hotel and built the renowned Naval Postgraduate School, which still remains on the site today.
25) A Victory for the Ages – Without question, Tiger Woods and 12-time PGA TOUR winner Calvin Peete are the most successful African Americans in the history of golf. However, Pete Brown hoisted a trophy long before Tiger or Calvin, becoming the first African American to win a PGA TOUR tournament, the 1964 Waco Turner Open.