Some of Golf’s Most Curious Superstitions
Let’s face it. Golf is a difficult sport. That’s one of the reasons why it is so rewarding. Indeed, it’s a sport of a lifetime. The continuing challenge is what keeps us all coming back. This difficulty is due in part to the number of things a golfer needs to do right to have a great round. So many things need to happen in a precise and consistent way in order to produce precise and consistent results.
In the midst of this physical and mental struggle, many golfers have latched on to certain superstitions that tend to coincide with their better rounds. While these superstitions may all be in the golfer’s head, that’s where a lot of the game is played. For example, most successful golfers have a very specific pre-shot routine that never changes. They do the same thing every time before hitting the ball. While those foreign to the game might think this is a superstition, the seasoned golfer knows this is just good golf. Therefore, like a good pre-shot routine, the superstitions discussed below have at least some connection to the mental aspect of one’s golf game.
A famous example in the last twenty years is Tiger Woods. He wears red on every Sunday round. Why? “I wear red on Sundays because my mom thinks that that’s my power color, and you know you should always listen to your mom.” He started wearing red on Sundays when he turned pro in 1996, and has done so ever since. While some would say there’s no connection between what color one wears and how he plays, Tiger might argue that wearing the color red on Sundays helps him bring a certain mindset to the course.
Paula Creamer is another example of a professional golfer who wears a certain color on Sundays, though hers is pink. She has explained that pink is her color of choice on Sundays because it makes her happy.
Don’t have a lucky golf shirt yet? Perhaps you ought to take a page out of Tiger’s or Paula’s book and pick a color that helps you bring your “A” game to the course.
According to Golf Now, Ernie Els will switch to a new golf ball every time he gets a birdie. Els believes every ball only has one birdie in it. If having a new ball after every birdie helps the Big Easy keep his mind in the right place, there’s no reason not to follow this superstition.
Another superstition prevalent among golfers with respect to golf balls is to never wash a golf ball when you are having a dynamite round. Wiping your ball off on your towel is permissible, but one should avoid ball washing machines in an effort to avoid jinxing the round. This superstition is counterintuitive, considering playing with a dirty golf ball may negatively impact ball striking and ball flight, but like Ernie Els’ tradition, if that’s what it takes to keep your round of a lifetime going, by all means keep it up in order to keep your mind right.
Another common superstition among golfers is to only use certain colors of golf tees. For example, many golfers will not use red, yellow, or white golf tees. Why? Because these colors are the colors used on hazard stakes. Red stakes for lateral water hazards, yellow stakes for water hazards, and white stakes for out of bounds. Although the color of a golf tee should not have a practical impact on a golf ball’s flight, perhaps the image of a red, yellow, or white tee might conjure up fears of hitting a ball into a hazard or out of bounds for the golfer. If you’re that golfer, then you may well be benefited by avoiding red, yellow, or white golf tees.
There are many, many more such golf superstitions. Each one a product of a golfer trying to put his finger on why he had such a good round or such a bad round, and either embracing or avoiding whatever that “thing” might be. The morale of the story is that while golf superstitions may seem ridiculous and illogical, the mental demands of this sport require finding ways for a golfer to keep her mind right. If it takes abiding by a certain superstition to do so, that’s just fine.