The Nine Most Interesting Golf Facts You Never Knew

The game of golf goes back centuries and its history is littered with fascinating facts and statistics.  This article will cover nine of the most interesting golf facts you may not know.

  1. Scotland is thought of as the birthplace of golf but you would be surprised to know the sport was banned by the country several times back in the 15th century.  Originally banned by King James II back in 1457, two of his predecessors banned the game again in 1471 and 1491 as precautionary measures to keep the country safe from the threat of war with England.  The belief was that golf interfered with the military training of Scotland’s male population and the country wanted its young men practicing archery instead of working on their flop shots.
    King james
    James II’s 1457 Act of Parliament regarding the ban on golf read,
    “It is ordained and the decreed that the lords and barons both spiritual and temporal should organize archery displays four times in the year. And that football and golf should be utterly condemned and stopped. And that a pair of targets should be made up at all parish churches and shooting should be practiced each Sunday … And concerning football and golf, we ordain that [those found playing these games] be punished by the local barons and, failing them, by the King’s officers.”
  2. Many golf history facts are unfortunately set during times of war.  Did you know that The Masters Tournament was canceled from 1943 to 1945 as the US was busy defeating evil during World War II?  During those years while Augusta National Golf Club sat vacant, cows and turkeys roamed the fairways to keep the grass maintained.
    From When War Interrupted by Bill Fields:
    “Fred Bennett, later a caddie and longtime caddie master at the Club, also played on the Augusta National property as a kid during wartime. “I remember those cows very well,” he told Owen. “And when the war was over, you could tell they’d been there because all over the fairways there were circles of bright green grass about a foot across.”
    In April 1946, about a year after the course had reopened for member play, the Masters resumed with the course no worse for wear. “The fairways were almost as smooth as the average putting green,” the Associated Press reported in its preview of the Tournament, “and the greens were bits of velvet set in the rolling scene.”
  3. We all know that golf can be an expensive game and the folks at Japanese golf club manufacturer Honma take it to another level.  In what can only be considered one of the craziest golf facts you’ll find, Honma’s BERES collection starts at roughly $40,000 for a set of clubs, and its highest-end collection can run north of $60,000. 
  4. Most people under the age of 50 think of Tiger Woods as the GOAT, including me but what Jack Nicklaus did in major championships is simply ridiculous.  It’s well known that Nicklaus is the all-time leader with 18 major championship wins but did you know that he also has a staggering runner-up finish in majors?  That’s 37 first or second-place finishes in golf’s big four.  That’s a mark that’s unlikely to ever be touched.  And if that’s not enough, The Golden Bear also holds the record for most top-five finishes in major championships with 56.  Now THAT is one of the craziest golf facts we’ve ever seen.
  5. Did you think we could post about Jack and not immediately post a golf fact about Tiger? Think again.  There was nothing better than peak Tiger Woods and the way he consistently brought it every single time he teed it up.  How consistent was he?  Well, from 1998 to 2003, Tiger made 142 consecutive PGA Tour cuts.  It’s a record that still stands today and another golf history fact that’s unlikely to be rewritten any time soon.
  6. Let’s do another Tiger Woods interesting golf fact, shall we?  Tiger holds the record for weeks ranked as the number one player in the world.  Since they were introduced back in 1986, more than 25 players have sat atop the Official World Golf Rankings for at least one week.  Tiger has held the top spot for a total of 683 weeks which blows away the next closest golfer, Greg Norman (331 weeks).  Tiger has held the number-one ranking for 281 consecutive weeks.
    World No. 1
  7. Year in and year out, the U.S. Open makes for some of the most compelling golf television you could ever ask for, and thank goodness social media wasn’t around for the 1990 event played at Shinnecock Hills.  In one of the craziest golf facts about the pro circuit that you’ll ever know, 10 players held or shared the lead during the final round at the 1990 U.S. Open.  Raymond Floyd ultimately won the trophy and would have broken the internet had that happened in 2023.
  8. The U.S. Open has been the backdrop for so many historic golf facts and this one surely passes the test:  While the first U.S. Open was held in 1895, did you know that an American-born player did not win the title until 1911 as it was dominated by international stars for most of its first two decades?
  9. Golf has always operated in its little bubble.  You either love it or you don’t.  But should you wind up catching “golf fever”, rest assured that you’ll always be able to find a place to play as it’s estimated there are over 16,000 golf courses in the United States.

Avid golfers like us love learning trivial golf facts that serve as a reminder of just how neat and expansive this game is.  Played for centuries, played all over the world, played during times of war, and played by all skill levels.  Every day presents a new opportunity for interesting golf facts to be made and we can’t wait to learn about them.

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