Golf is a popular hobby and competitive sport for many professional footballers. The low-impact nature of golf makes it an appealing activity for football stars to enjoy in their leisure time away from the training ground and match days. Many footballers turn to golf as a way to stay active and compete while avoiding the high injury risk that comes with football.
Over the years, there have been many famous footballers who regularly played golf at a high standard. Some even took up golf professionally after retiring from football. This article will count down the top 10 footballers who play golf, looking at their golfing handicaps, stories, and passion for the sport of golf.
Table of Contents
1. Jimmy Bullard (+1 handicap)
Jimmy Bullard is well known as a former Premier League footballer who played for teams like Fulham and Hull City as a midfielder. Since retiring from football in 2012, Bullard turned professional in golf and now plays off an impressive +1 handicap.
He has always been a capable golfer since his playing days. But after being forced to retire early from football due to knee injuries, Bullard decided to focus on golf more seriously. He started entering regional tournaments as an amateur before turning professional in 2016 to pursue golf as a career.
Bullard’s comfort on the golf course and ability to grind matches his dedicated and gritty style during his football days. Don’t let his laughing and joking reputation fool you; Jimmy Bullard is a fierce competitor on the golf course with plenty of talent.
2. Andrei Shevchenko (2 handicap)
Legendary Ukrainian striker Andrei Shevchenko reportedly plays to a 2 golf handicap during his retirement years. Shevchenko terrorized defenses in Serie A for AC Milan and later in the Premier League with Chelsea.
During his playing career, golf was a hobby that Shevchenko enjoyed regularly as a way to relax away from competitive football. He took the sport more seriously after retiring and joined the prestigious Wentworth Golf Club in Virginia Water, London.
Shevchenko’s 2 handicap proves he has the dedication and natural athleticism to excel at golf just like his world-class football career. His competitive desire undoubtedly carries over to the golf course.
3. Alan Hansen (3 handicap)
Famed Liverpool defender Alan Hansen reportedly plays off an impressive 3 handicap. He enjoyed a successful playing career with Liverpool and Scotland, winning many honors. Hansen is also recognized globally as a football pundit for Match of the Day.
But few people realize that he had to choose between golf and football at age 15. Hansen was so skilled at golf that he turned down an apprenticeship with Partick Thistle F.C. to pursue amateur golf competitions. He eventually joined Liverpool but continued nurturing his passion for golf.
Hansen’s low golf handicap proves he could have made it professionally in either sport. But football fans are glad he stuck with soccer and became a legend for Liverpool and Scotland before turning back to golf.
4. Dwight Yorke (4 handicap)
Dwight Yorke formed a legendary partnership with Andy Cole at Manchester United, winning the treble in 1999. The Trinidadian striker was known for his quickness and ability to score against any opponent.
During his time with Aston Villa, Yorke was introduced to golf by some of his teammates. He immediately became hooked and found he had a natural ability to pick up the challenging sport quickly.
Yorke became good friends with Spanish golf icon Sergio Garcia during their overlapping playing careers. They connected over a shared passion for both football and golf. Yorke continues improving his golf game, currently playing off a 4 handicap.
5. Jamie Redknapp (4 handicap)
Jamie Redknapp followed in his father Harry Redknapp’s footsteps playing for clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham while also sharing a love of golf. Harry would take young Jamie to golf near their home in Bournemouth to teach him the game.
These early golf lessons instilled a passion that continues today with Jamie holding a 4 handicap marker. Although injuries impacted Jamie’s football career, he remains in good health to keep playing competitive golf rounds with his low single-digit handicap.
6. Gary Lineker (5 handicap)
Gary Lineker is England’s second-highest goal scorer behind Wayne Rooney and had an illustrious career with clubs like Leicester City and Barcelona. Since retirement, Lineker has stayed involved in football as a popular broadcaster and analyst for major tournaments.
When not busy with football coverage, Lineker makes time for his other sporting love – golf. He plays off around a 5 handicap, regularly posting photos on Twitter and Instagram from golf courses. Lineker has even participated in pro-am competitions on the European Tour.
7. Matt Le Tissier (5 handicap)
Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier is revered on England’s south coast for his incredible goal-scoring record with The Saints. The attacking midfielder possessed uncanny technical abilities that helped him score many memorable goals.
Le Tissier is also an avid golfer, playing to a 5 handicap. In his autobiography, he said that his “biggest indulgence in life is golf clubs and golf equipment.” Clearly, the appeal of golf’s challenge and gear draws in Le Tissier just as much as football.
8. Alan Shearer (6 handicap)
Premier League record goal scorer Alan Shearer is a single-digit golfer when not in the Match of the Day studio. Shearer’s 260 top-flight goals came while starring for Blackburn Rovers and hometown club Newcastle United.
The legendary Geordie striker hosts an annual charity golf event at Close House golf club near Newcastle to give back to the local community. Shearer plays off around a 6 handicap and enjoys testing his game against other footballers and celebrities at these tournaments.
9. Teddy Sheringham (6 handicap)
Crafty striker Teddy Sheringham is best known for his prolific goal-scoring spells at Manchester United and Tottenham. He was instrumental in United’s famous 1999 treble winning season.
Sheringham took up golf seriously during his career and continues playing in retirement to a 6 handicap. He rates golf’s major championships above any football honors when comparing his passions for both sports.
10. David Platt (7 handicap)
Former England and Juventus midfielder David Platt enjoyed success both domestically and internationally. Since retirement, he earned his golf union card and plays to around a 7 handicap.
Platt runs a golf events company arranging tournaments and golf breaks. He combines his business activities with pleasure by taking part in the events he organizes for other golfers and footballers.
Other Footballers Who Play Golf
In addition to the top 10 golfers above, many other current and former footballers enjoy teeing it up in their spare time:
Peter Schmeichel – The intimidating former Manchester United keeper has been spotted on fairways with his custom XXL golf clubs.
Carlos Tevez – During his time at Manchester City, the feisty Argentine striker could be seen taking swings at driving ranges near the training ground.
Ruud Gullit – The Dutch legend picked up golf later in life but dedicates time to improving his game in retirement.
Ian Wright – Arsenal’s record goal scorer is a regular at celebrity and pro-am golf events in Europe and enjoys practicing and playing.
Conclusion: Golf Proves Popular Among Footballers
This overview of footballers who excel at golf shows how the challenging sport appeals to many soccer stars. The list includes legendary names like David Beckham and Alan Shearer along with current Premier League golf fanatics such as Harry Kane.
For athletes accustomed to intense training and competition, golf provides a satisfying test of shot-making skills and mental fortitude without the strains of football. Many footballers turned to golf as a hobby before taking it up more competitively after retiring from soccer. Their passion and natural athleticism allow them to achieve impressive handicaps.
Golf will likely continue providing an enjoyable outlet and competitive fire for top footballers looking to fill their time away from the pitch. Fans can continue looking forward to tales of their favorite soccer stars teeing it up at courses around the world.
5 Key Takeaways:
Golf’s low-impact nature makes it appealing for footballers to start playing while active or after retiring.
Legends like Alan Hansen and Jimmy Bullard proved skilled enough at golf to turn pro after retiring from soccer.
Current Premier League stars such as Harry Kane and Jamie Redknapp regularly play golf to competitive handicaps.
Internationals like Dwight Yorke and Andrei Shevchenko became golf fanatics after being introduced by teammates.
Many footballers find golf provides competitive spirit and satisfaction without football’s physical strain.
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