Fairway: a narrow strip of mown grass that separates two groups of golfers looking for lost balls in the rough.
A golf ball can stop in the fairway, rough, woods, bunker or lake. With five equally likely options, very few balls choose the fairway.
When you're having trouble and topping the ball, it means the ground is moving on you.
The number one thing about trouble is...don't get into more.
Trouble is bad to get into but fun to get out of. If you're in trouble, eighty percent of the time there's a way out. If you can see the ball, you can probably hit it; and if you can hit it, you can move it; and if you can move it, you might be able to knock it in the hole. At least it's fun to try.
When the ducks are walking, you know it is too windy to be playing golf.
The difference between a sand trap and water hazard is the difference between a car crash and an airplane crash. You have a chance of recovering from a car crash.
It won't help to tell yourself, "Don't hit it in the water". Your mind will only hear "water".
Splosh! One of the finest sights in the world: the other man's ball dropping in the water - preferably so that he can see it but cannot quite reach it and has therefore to leave it there, thus rendering himself so mad that he loses the next hole as well.
When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.
A ball will always come to rest halfway down a hill, unless there is sand or water at the bottom.
Being a Scotsman, I am naturally opposed to water in its undiluted state.
What's the point of washing off your ball when teeing off on a water hole?
The golfer has more enemies than any other athlete. He has fourteen clubs in his bag, all of them different; 18 holoes to play, all of them different, every week; and all around him is sand, trees, grass, water, wind and 143 other players. In addition, the game is 50 percent mental, so his biggest enemy is himself.
May thy ball lie in green pastures... and not in still waters.
The best advice I can give for playing a ball out of water is - don't.
Im gambling that when we get into the next life, Saint Peter will look at us and ask, 'Golfer?' And when we nod, he will step aside and say, 'Go right in; youve suffered enough.' One warning, if you do go in and the first thing you see is a par 3 surrounded by water, it aint heaven.
One thing I've learned over time is, if you hit a golf ball into water, it won't float.
Golf balls are attracted to water as unerringly as the eye of a middle-aged man to a female bosom.
A passion, an obsession, a romance, a nice acquaintanceship with trees, sand, and water.
Putting isn't golf, greens should be treated almost the same as water hazards: you land on them, then add two strokes to your score.
Water creates a neurosis in golfers. The very thought of this harmless fluid robs them of their normal powers of rational thought, turns their legs to jelly, and produces a palsy of the upper limbs.
On the course, what is feared is like a magnet. Water, bunkers, trees, ravines, high grass - whatever you fear turns magnetic.
The reason I don't play golf is because I was a caddie when I was 13. Women never gave up a golf ball that was lost somewhere in the trees and thicket and down through the poison ivy. It was during one of these searches that I vowed to the Lord above that if I ever earned enough money I would never set foot on a course again.
I get pissed off. I simply do not understand someone who hits a ball that lands behind a tree and can look at it and say, "Well, that's golf".
The hardest shot in golf is a mashie at 90 yards from the green, where the ball has to be played against an oak tree, bounces back into a sandtrap, hits a stone, bounces on the green and then rolls into the cup. That shot is so difficult I have made it only once.
There is an old saying: if a man comes home with sand in his cuffs and cockleburs in his pants, don't ask him what he shot.
The grounds on which golf is played are called links, being the barren sandy soil from which the sea has retired in recent geological times. In their natural state links are covered with long, rank bent grass and gorse. Links are too barren for cultivation: but sheep, rabbits, geese and professionals pick up a precarious livelihood on them.
No matter what calamities befall him in everyday life, the true hacker still needs the pressure and inconvenience of four hours of trudging in wind or rain or sleet or sun (or all of them at once), hacking at a white pellet that seems to have a mind of its own and a lousy sense of direction.
And the wind shall say:
The older you get the stronger the wind gets... and it's always in your face.
A good player prays for wind every day, but not too earnestly.
If the wind is in your face, you swing too hard just to get the ball through it; if the wind is at your back, you swing too hard just to see how far you can get the ball to go.
If the purpose of golf is purgatorial, nothing more needs to be said. But if the purpose is to entertain as well as instruct, then let us pause in the mad rush for hazards, more hazards and still more and fiercer hazards.
I've lost balls in every hazard and on every course I've tried. But when I lose a ball in the ball washer, it's time to take stock.
Of all the hazards, fear is the worst.
If your ball lands within a club length of a rattlesnake you are allowed to move the ball.
Once when I was golfing in Georgia, I hooked the ball into the swamp. I went in after it and found an alligator wearing a shirt with a picture of a little golfer on it.
You can, legally, possibly hit and kill a fellow golfer with a ball, and there will not be a lot of trouble because the other golfers will refuse to stop and be witnesses because they will want to keep playing.
The behavior etiquette for a greenside bunker should go into reverse. Players should be forbidden to smooth them in any way. The bunker should be the fearful place it once was, not the perfect surface from which a pro expects to float his ball out stone dead, something he doesn't expect when chipping.
If a ball comes to rest in dangerous proximity to a crocodile, another ball may be dropped.
One of the advantages bowling has over golf is that you seldom lose a bowling ball.
Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots - but you have to play the ball where it lies.
The bunker should be the fearful place it once was, not the perfect surface from which a pro expects to float his ball out stone dead, something he doesn't expect when chipping.
The object of a bunker or trap is not only to punish a physical mistake, to punish lack of control, but also to punish pride and egotism.
If your adversary is badly bunkered, there is no rule against your standing over him and counting his strokes aloud, with increasing gusto as their number mounts up; but it will be a wise precaution to arm yourself with the niblick before doing so, so as to meet him on equal terms.
Player's don't get relief from divots in fairways or footprints in bunkers. Why should they get relief from spike marks on greens?
The moment the average golfer attempts to play from long grass or a bunker or from a difficult lie of any kind, he becomes a digger instead of a swinger.
Golf acts as a corrective against sinful pride. I attribute the insane arrogance of the later Roman Emperors almost entirely to the fact that, never having played golf, they never knew that strange chastening humility which is engendered by a topped chip shot. If Cleopatra had been ousted in the first round of the Ladies' Singles, we should have heard a lot less of her proud imperiousness.
Golfers who carry ball retrievers are gatherers, not hunters. Their dreams are no longer of conquest, but only of salvage.