13 of Golf’s Greatest Superstitions

Any sport as old as golf is sure to have accumulated superstitions over the years. Some of these are more strange than others. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous, interesting, and strangest superstitions in the game!

  1. Always Wear a Red Shirt

This one has been popularized by Tiger Woods. Whether the color represents power, good luck, or prosperity, many golfers never play without it. Interestingly, there is evidence to suggest that there may be some scientific truth to this one!

  1. Low Number Balls are Lucky 

This one can be boiled down to “low number ball = low score”. It’s as simple as that. Many golfers refuse to use any golf ball numbered more than 4. This superstition is so prevalent that Titleist allows you to purchase balls numbered 1-4

  1. Don’t Keep Golf Balls in Your Pocket

Supposedly keeping extra golf balls in your pocket is bad luck. Perhaps by keeping them so accessible, you’re bound to use them. Regardless, if you’re looking for some good luck, move that extra golf ball to your bag.

  1. Tap the Inside of the Cup With Your Ball

After every good putt, you should tap the inside of the cup with your ball. Legend says if you fail to do this, you will pay on every green for the rest of the round. This superstition most likely stems from giving thanks for your luck. Regardless of if it’s true or not, it is probably good practice to show gratitude.

  1. Never Wash Good Equipment 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Whether it’s your favorite wedge, a lucky ball, or even some lucky shoes, don’t wash anything that’s performing well. You just might wash the luck off!

  1. Always/Never Play With Personal Things in Your Pocket

This superstition runs both ways. Some golfers believe it’s bad luck to play with any personal belongings in your pocket. Others believe that playing with empty pockets is bound to lead to poor performance. 

  1. Never Put a Club Back in Your Bag Without Using It

Every golfer has chosen a club of their bag only to suddenly have second thoughts about their choice. However, many believe that it is bad luck to put a club back into the bag without using it. I guess the golf gods prefer decisiveness. 

  1. Never Use Anything Less Than a Quarter as a Ball Marker

Using the change in your pocket for a ball marker is remarkably common. Rumor has it, you should never shortchange the ball though. It is bad luck to use any coin worth less than 25 cents as a ball marker!

  1. Don’t Use Found Balls on the Same Day

This superstition believes that picking up balls you find out on the course is just fine. It is fine, as long as you don’t try to use any of those balls that same day. Found golf balls need 24 hours for their bad luck to wear off. 

  1. Never Use Red/White Tees

In certain circles, using red or white tees is never a smart idea. The red tee represents aggression and anger, which no golfer wants. Meanwhile, a white tee is too similar to out-of-bounds markers. Perhaps it is best to stick with plain wooden tees just in case. 

  1. Golf Balls Only Have One Birdie

This rule says that every golf ball only has one birdie in it. If you birdie a hole, it’s best to retire that ball. Luckily for me, I never birdie holes, so I never have to retire a perfectly good golf ball!

  1. Never Use Pick Up a Ball That Ain’t Yours

Perhaps picking up balls you find is always bad luck. Some golfers out there theorize that if a ball was lost, it must’ve been unlucky. It is best to leave that ball where you found it. Nonetheless, it would be pretty difficult for me to pass up a free Pro V1 regardless of any bad luck that comes my way.

  1. The Unlucky Club

Every golfer has one unlucky club in their bag. If you take it out, that bad luck will transfer to another club. If you have an unlucky club, it’s best to just leave it alone or risk that curse moving to your putter or driver!

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