Golfers are always learning; if you play golf then you realize that you are never the finished article and there is always something to improve; something to work on to better your game. This is probably why golfers love to absorb as much advice as possible. If you follow the game of golf online then it’s not difficult to find books, articles, blog posts and videos from many of the game’s greats. In this article we have compiled some of the advice and wisdom of various notable golfing experts:
Living to the ripe old age of 96 (he passed in 2017), Sandy (former amateur standout and USGA president) was one of the great golfing philosophers and had more history than most when it came to our favorite game. His advice seems to be about accepting things as they are and not having expectations beyond the present moment and enjoying what each game brings; great advice.
“My game held together remarkably well through my 80s, to the point where I shot a 73 on my 86th birthday. But when I hit 90, my game went south without leaving a forwarding address. I haven’t been able to break 100 since. I was complaining about this to a friend not long ago, He looked at me and said, “Tatum, just keep swinging.” I think that’s good advice for anyone. I take what I can get on the course—which is very little—and I’m extremely grateful for it. That’s all I can do: Just keep swinging.”
A sprightly 68, Bill is a golf instructor and the son of 1948 Masters champion, Claude Harmon. His winning father gave him a piece of memorable advice that seemed to be about managing your emotions in the game and not taking your ego onto the golf course.
“My dad said something to me that stuck: “I don’t know why you get so upset. You aren’t that good.”
Kenny, 36 is the executive director of the National Amputee Golf Association and was given a pearl of wisdom by his grandfather that served to teach him about the importance of falling down;
“Unless you fail you can’t grow, you can’t improve and you certainly can’t generate the gratitude that we should all feel when we walk out onto a golf course on a sunny morning.”
My grandfather said, “You’ll never realize when you have a good day unless you have a bad one.”
Keegan Bradley was just 25 when he won the 2011 PGA championship. His aunt Pat’s advice taught him that patience is just as relevant when playing golf as it is when facing the challenges of every day life; patience is critical. Like Shakespeare said, nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so. It’s all about perception. Next time you’re on the course, wielding your latest Hybrid golf clubs, remember Aunty Pat’s advice:
“My aunt Pat [the World Golf Hall of Famer] told me to stay patient, not only on the course but also over the year. Sometimes you think things are so bad, and then a month later you win and you’re back at the top. I tend to have a good West Coast, then a lull, and the end of the year is normally pretty good. Staying patient has been the most important thing.”
Stewart is the 2009 British Open Champion and with his wife, Lisa, he does a lot of charity work, supporting many causes. Lisa gave him this advice which suggests that distilling your to-do list down to the single most important job is the right way to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize.
“Keep the main thing. We use that phrase for mobilizing our foundation charity event committee folks, and I also use it when I’m making decisions pertaining to golf, like which events to play, or when new equipment changes are happening. My wife, Lisa, was taught the phrase when she was training to run fund-raising events for a crisis pregnancy center where she is a volunteer counselor. It’s simple advice, but it helps narrow the focus in whatever you’re trying to accomplish.”
Bo Van Pelt
Bo, 43, is a successful tour winner and a veteran of the Ryder cup. The advice he got from his father was to never give up, never take things for granted and to always work hard. Advice that served him well.
“When I turned pro, my dad, Bob, told me that if I played like I was broke and hungry, I’d never be either one. Don’t take things for granted and get complacent.”