By 19th Hole Staff | Sept. 24, 2018
We’re used to seeing them on the golf course, wowing us with their birdies and double eagles, but what do golf players get up to in their spare time? The dedication and drive required to play professionally can work wonders in other areas of a player’s life, giving them the focus and know-how to excel on and off the green. Here we’ll look at the pastimes of some of the world’s most successful and best-loved golfing professionals.
The poster boy for the sport and not shy of courting controversy, Tiger Woods is what you could call a golf superstar. Perhaps the most celebrated player ever to pick up a club, Woods has returned to the sport recently with a rejuvenated attitude toward success. Could it be his passion for spearfishing that’s helped him on the road to recovering his crown?
It’s not quite common knowledge, but Tiger Woods is an accomplished free diver and spearfisher. Jetting out to exotic locations like the Bahamas, he can free dive down to 100ft and hold his breath for up to an impressive four whole minutes. The accomplished athlete loves to catch fish and lobster, but his ideal catch is a yellowfin tuna. It’s not hard to see the crossover between the precision and concentration needed for years of golf tournaments and the patience it must take to find success beneath the waves.
Frequently hailed as one of the best female golfers in history, there isn’t much Annika Sörenstam can’t do once she sets her mind to it. She runs half marathons, designs golf courses, has opened the ANNIKA Academy for sports and founded sponsorships in her name. However, her favorite pastime off the green is cooking. Before her “retirement” in 2008, she even worked eight-hour shifts at the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club kitchen three times a week during the 2003 off-season. She has published a recipe book, Mat, Minnen & Golf, and is thrilled to carry out live cooking demonstrations at golf tournaments. Sörenstam has spoken in the past of her enjoyment of trying local foods when traveling for tournaments, and she still keeps up with her online food blog.
Now here’s something you may not have heard of before: astrophotography. That’s right, pro golfer Jimmy Walker is a proficient astroimager, creating breathtaking images of stars, galaxies, nebulas, and other space objects. Through a sponsorship with Celestron, Walker has remote access to a powerful telescope at New Mexico Skies from which he can pursue his hobby even when away from home. On his travels, as he follows golf tournaments across the world, he also likes to find dark sky sites where he can use his compact kit to take a few shots on the go.
Golf as a Hobby
For some, golf is a vocation whereas, for others, it’s merely a hobby. A surprising number of accomplished athletes like to kick back and relax by playing a hole or two, and many have impressive handicaps. It’s something of a sport for all!
After winning the Main Event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2003, Chris Moneymaker was the name on everybody’s lips. Now, an established pro poker player, he’s currently on the road traveling across America with his Moneymaker PSPC Tour. However, in his spare time, he likes to pursue golf. Maybe it’s the cerebral focus and measured pace of both sports that appeals to the poker champion.
Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian of all time, and Michael Jordan, the basketball legend, both enjoy golf as a hobby. Predictably, Phelps has taken to the sport like a fish to water (pardon the pun) and has worked intensely on his handicap for the past year or so. Jordan, on the other hand, loves the sport so much that he’s building a golf course in Florida and has hosted years’ worth of the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational tournament.
As you can see here, champion golfers like to turn their hand to many different and sometimes, surprising hobbies. For the nonprofessionals, on the other hand, golf can be a welcome escape from the pressures of the poker table, the swimming pool or the basketball court. The wide appeal of the sport gives it the potential to be an excellent leveler and an opportunity to form closer ties between different sporting disciplines.