Golf is a sport that has a passionate following of players and fans around the world. National Golf Lovers Day celebrates this popular pastime and the joys it brings to those who participate. This unofficial holiday falls on the third Friday in April each year.
History and Origins
The origins of National Golf Lovers Day are unclear, but it seems to have first appeared on calendars and in social media postings around 2015-2016. While the creator is unknown, it seems to have been established simply as a fun day to recognize and appreciate the game of golf and those who enjoy playing it or watching it.
Golf has a long and storied history dating back centuries. Many trace the modern game back to Scotland in the 15th century, though various games involving sticks and balls strewn across landscapes existed earlier around the world. The term “golf” itself stems from the Scottish word “goulf.” Over centuries, the game evolved across the British Isles and eventually made its way to America and elsewhere across the globe.
Today, golf is played in over 200 countries by more than 60 million people regularly. National Golf Lovers Day celebrates this widespread, enduring popularity.
How National Golf Lovers Day is Celebrated
Fans and organizations celebrate National Golf Lovers Day in various ways. Many golf courses and facilities run special events, contests, clinics, and promotions to mark the occasion. For example, some offer free or discounted rounds of golf, giveaways, golf skill challenges, demo club testing, and more.
Golf-related brands and retailers often highlight deals on equipment, apparel, and accessories for the holiday. Social media features many postings spotlighting people’s passion for golf using the hashtag National Golf Lovers Day. Golf magazines and websites publish articles spotlighting famous courses, players, tournaments, and more.
On an individual level, National Golf Lovers Day is a time for players to share their enthusiasm by:
- Playing a round of golf at a favorite course or trying a new one
- Dining at a clubhouse restaurant
- Watching golf on TV
- Reading about the history and legends of the sport
- Reminiscing about favorite golf memories and career highlights
- Reconnecting with fellow golf lovers in their life
- Planning future golf trips and bucket list courses/events to attend
Golf lovers also use the day to promote growth of the game by introducing it to newcomers, volunteering at community programs, and more.
Famous Golfers & Moments
Part of celebrating National Golf Lovers Day often involves highlighting famous golfers and moments over the decades.
Legends of the Sport
Certain names stand out as legends. These include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Annika Sörenstam, and more recently, Tiger Woods. Fans frequently reminisce about their dominant performances, championship wins, and indelible impact during their primes.
There are also many landmark golf moments that fans recall fondly, such as:
- Bobby Jones winning the Grand Slam in 1930
- Jack Nicklaus besting his rivals in the famous “Duel in the Sun” at Turnberry in 1977
- Tiger Woods’ 15-stroke victory at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach
- Phil Mickelson’s triumph at the 2004 Masters to claim his first major
- Europe’s dramatic comeback against the US in the 1999 Ryder Cup dubbed the “Battle of Brookline”
Certain tournaments hold special significance with golf devotees as well, especially the four Majors:
- The Masters at Augusta National
- PGA Championship
- U.S. Open
- The Open Championship
But other events like the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team events, and classic courses like St Andrews, Pebble Beach, and others also come to mind. Reminiscing about famous victories, dramatic finishes, and records set at these events is common on National Golf Lovers Day.
Growth & Popularity of Golf
While golf participation has declined in America over the past 15+ years, there are positive signs for growth. National Golf Lovers Day also brings attention to promoting and expanding the sport.
Initiatives Bringing Newcomers
Several initiatives aim to make golf more welcoming and accessible, bringing newcomers into the game:
- Youth golf programs like The First Tee, PGA Junior League, and variety of schools/juniors clinics
- Alternative formats like TopGolf, FootGolf, disc golf, and shortened versions of traditional golf
- More beginner-friendly public courses, especially par-3 layouts
- Increased inclusive messaging and activism toward women, minorities, LGBTQ, and disabled/adaptive golf communities
Surging Public Interest
Public interest and coverage of golf has increased considerably as well in recent years:
- Tiger Woods’ 2019 Masters victory and subsequent comeback drew huge ratings and media attention
- Soaring popularity of long-drive events and competitors like Kyle Berkshire
- Continued growth of televised team events like the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup
- Fascination with new young stars like Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff, and others
- Expanded mental health conversations sparked by athletes like Bubba Watson have connected with audiences
Overall, National Golf Lovers Day promotes this rising tide lifting golf and making it more accessible for all.
How to Get Into Golf
For those looking to start playing golf, National Golf Lovers Day represents the perfect time to take up the sport. Here are some tips for beginning:
Take Lessons – Getting professional instruction early will establish proper fundamentals and prevent ingraining bad habits. Group lessons are also a fun, social way to learn with peers.
Use Game Improvement Clubs – Using oversized, forgiving clubs tailored to beginners will make early experiences more enjoyable and positive. Avoid hand-me-down clubs initially.
Play Par-3 Courses – Starting on shorter courses builds confidence without getting overwhelmed. Move up to longer courses after establishing a comfort level and basic skills.
Know Etiquette Basics – Learning standard etiquette rules right away, like not talking during swings and dressing appropriately, ensures not offending more experienced players.
Play Scramble Formats – Playing scramble formats makes things easier for beginners by allowing use of the best team shots each time. It’s also a pressure-free way to experience different courses.
With the right approach, National Golf Lovers Day can be the perfect launching pad into a lifelong passion for the sport.
Golf Terms & Lingo
Part of diving into golf is learning the unique terminology commonly used. Here are some examples of phrases frequently used by golf lovers:
- Eagle/Birdie/Bogey/Double Bogey – Scores of 2 under, 1 under, 1 over and 2 over par on a hole.
- Birddie – Scoring both a birdie and eagle in one round.
- Par – The designated number of strokes expected to complete a hole (often 3, 4 or 5).
- Approach Shot – A shot intended to land the ball on the green.
- Chip Shot – A short shot (usually from just off the green) intended to roll the ball onto the putting surface.
- Lag Putt – A long putt intended to simply get the ball close to the hole rather than going in.
- Shank – An errant shot where the ball is struck on the hosel rather than flush on the face.
- Duff – A poorly hit shot that travels a short distance.
- Mulligan – An extra shot replayed from the same spot, usually during casual play.
- 19th Hole – The clubhouse bar, where golfers go after a round to socialize over drinks.
Learning the lingo helps anyone feel more immersed as a true golf lover.
National Golf Lovers Day celebrates the enduring appeal of golf for participants and fans across countries, generations, and skill levels. Millions find joy, challenge, community, and fulfillment through this rewarding pastime. On this day, golfers reminisce on legendary figures and moments, promote inclusion for newcomers, and simply revel in the wonders of the sport. Above all, the day serves as a reminder that golf is truly a game for all to enjoy for a lifetime.