Twice this week I had interesting discussions with fellow golfers regarding superstitions.
Are golfers superstitious?
It’s simple math.
A round of golf takes four-plus hours. A shot only takes what, a second or two to actually hit? So in 240 minutes, a golfer is actually swinging for about one-to-three minutes total. The other 237? It’s just us and our minds.
So just what am I talking about? Well, as I like to do from time to time, I’ll make it personal. To varying levels of “insanity,” these are some of the golf superstitions I have (or have had at one point). Starting with the beginning of the round:
I always mark my golf ball the same. Titleist ProV1. Any number except 3s, but preferably 1s and 8s. Magenta marker. Solid line over the “ProV1” on the side. Three dots.
At a college tournament in Chicago, my coach at Kent State, the legendary Herb Page, grabbed a handful of magenta tees from a basket, threw them in my bag and told me I was going to play great. I forget what I shot, but I played well enough to give some credit to the magenta tees. I used them for as long as I could, but they’re hard to find. I now use a magenta marker to mark my golf balls.
Prior to the 1999 state quarters, I used only quarters from “good” years. A 1965 quarter was obviously a better ball marker than a 1975 quarter. Today, my “favorite” state quarters for ball markers are Ohio, Connecticut, New York, Florida, Nevada and Delaware. Why? I have no idea.
I’m not huge on this one, but just in case you were starting to think I’m crazy, I thought I’d bring it up. The greatest golfer of my generation has won 75-plus PGA Tour events. I think he’s worn a red shirt for every one of those final rounds. Coincidence? I think not. Moving on.
For driver shots, I line the ball up with the magenta line pointing down my target line. For iron shots or lay ups, I use the Titleist line.
I always line up the magenta line on my ball with the line of my putt.
I always mark my ball with the quarter “heads up.” If I pull a quarter out “tails up,” that coin goes back in my pocket and I keep trying until I get a “heads up” quarter.
And finally, please don’t talk to my ball in the air. I hate it when I’m posing at a shot and someone yells “get up” only to watch the ball sail over the green. I know how I hit it. If I want to yell “get up,” I will. But if I’m not talking to my shot, neither should you. I don’t mean for it to sound as “snooty” as it does, it’s just one of my “things.”
A great story here has to do with a friend of mine I golf with regularly, Dennis Kunce. Denny used to do this thing where he’d yell “BANG” right before someone’s putt would go in the hole. Obviously, it had no effect on my putts, but I hated hearing “BANG” only to then watch my ball lip out. It’s now a running joke, but today when a putt lips out after being talked to, that player just got “Kunced.” It’s beautiful.
So those are my big superstitions on the course. Some of the others I’ve heard involve shoes, socks, hats, colored gloves, number of tees in a pocket, pre-round music, lucky irons (5 iron is good, 7 iron is bad), lucky pencil/pen/marker for scorekeeping, and a few others. I’d love to elaborate, but its bad luck if I go over a certain word count.
Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a Sunday golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance for Huntington Insurance and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at firstname.lastname@example.org