greatest golfers of all time golf digest

Top 10 Golfers Of All Time: You Should Know Them!

Whether you’re an ardent golf fan or player, you’d be curious to know the top best golfers who ever lived.

And trust me; we’ve had hundreds of them since the game was invented and more continue to come up as years go on… (You might feature on this list in future- you never know).

BUT…they can’t all fit in this post, so I tried to narrow down my list to feature only the ten best of the best players of all time. I based my ranking on several factors like major victories of each player, the number of wins, winning streaks, length of time played, and so on.

PS: Note that the list below does not follow any particular order and doesn’t necessarily match any other list out there, for I’ve used different ranking criteria.

Let’s get to know these incredible golfers:

#1. Jack Nicklaus

With a total of 18 professional majors, up to 73 PGA Tour wins in 25plus years and 2 US amateur titles, nobody would oppose the fact that Nicklaus is one of the best golfers who ever lived.

Nicknamed the golden bear, this golfer hit his last masters (the sixth one!) when he was age 46, and that automatically makes him the oldest golfer who ever won a tournament.

Nicklaus stayed at the top of money list in up to 8 different occasions. He was even named the PGA player of the years for five times!

Jack Nicklaus was simply the best of the best!

#2. Tiger Woods

Aren’t you familiar with the name Tiger Woods when it comes to golfing?

He’s among the top golfers who ever played the game better than anyone has ever done it. And the facts to support that are- 14 major championships (ranking second after Nicklaus), a total of 79 PGA Tour wins (second to Sam Snead who we’ll discuss later) and ten awards for the Player of The Year.

Wood’s level of impact in golfing and high levels achievements puts him on the map.

#3. Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer…“The King” he was called. He’d probably be remembered in golf circles as the player who popularized the sport and brought it from the country clubs to our living rooms.

Palmer had 62 PGA Tour wins, and seven major championships, not to forget that he was named the PGA Tour Player of The Year two times and led the money list four times.

He truly deserved “The King” nickname seeing that he even made it to the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1960 after getting the “Sportsman of The Year” title.

Hats off to Arnold Palmer!

#4. Bobby Jones

Jones is the best amateur golfer and could have taken his golf career were it not for his earlier retirement at a mere age of 28.

In his short career span, he won 13 major champions, and he’s the only golfer who ever won the Grand Slam all four major championships in one season!

#5. Ben Hogan

A renowned ball striker, with “The Hawk” nickname, Hogan also stands as one of 10 all-time best players the golfing world has ever had.

He won 3 consecutive majors in the year 1953- the US Open, the Masters, and the British Open. The “Wee Ice Man”- as Scots loved calling him- had nine major championships in 5 years. He won a total of 64 titles in his golf career- all of which were packed with legendary stuff!

Hogan is truly among the world’s best!

#6. Gary Player

The South African also deserves mention on our list for his impeccable performance and achievements in golfing. He won a total of 9 majors in his career, over 100 victories across the world.

And oh! He was the first golfer ever to play the sport at the highest level internationally.

It’s also important to mention that he was among the ONLY five players who won the modern grand slam. Plus he won the World Match Play Championship for unprecedented five times.

#7. Sam Snead

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As I told you earlier, Slammin' Sammy has a total of number of 82 PGA Tour wins- a record that’s yet to be broken by any golfer worldwide! Remember he amassed all these wins in the times of Nelson and Hogan.

The fact that he was playing bare feet back in the days didn’t stop him from winning the West Virginia Open for 17 times.

#8. Gene Sarazen

As a career grand slam winner, Sarazen is another unforgettable name in the golfing arena. He had memorable times in his golfing life in the 1920s and 1930s…take for instance in 1922 when he won the US Open, PGA Championship when he was only 20 years.

After this win at a tender age, he never looked back, and in his golfing career that stretched to over four decades, he won 37 more times.

Sarazen will remain an inspiration to experienced and upcoming golfers, thanks to his impact and achievements in golfing.

As a side note, Sarazen is credited with inventing the Sand Wedge club back in the 1930s.

#9. Tom Watson

Watson won 39 PGA Tour plays, 8 of which were majors. Don’t forget that this is the guy who dominated the British Open, one of the oldest golf tournaments, winning it five times in 9 years. And in 2009, he was at the whisker of winning it for the 6th time at age 59.

Watson would also forever be remembered for his memorable victories- making one of the greatest shots in the history of golf- with Jack Nicklaus (when Nicklaus was in his prime).

#10. Byron Nelson

In 1945, the golfer Nelson was more popular than the golf game itself. It was his record year, and he fully utilized the chance to garner up to 11 tournaments (in a row!), including the PGA Championship.

Byron is said to be the legend who could hit the golf ball straight than other players before/after him.

As they put it, Nelson was golf’s greatest gentleman!

Final Thoughts

Quite inspiriting stories of the ten all-time best golfers! Which golfer inspires you more and why?

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