9 outstanding pieces of Sam Snead advice for every golfer to follow

Sam Snead

An artist on the golf course and owner of arguably the finest swing the game has ever seen, Sam Snead’s wisdom outlives him through his quips and quotes.

Snead was never short of a one-liner to feed to the press or an admirer, but there was often a lot more depth to these Sneadisms than you might think.

Here are nine of his great quotes for any golfer or elite sportsperson to follow.

“The mark of a great player is in his ability to come back. The great champions have all come back from defeat.”

Snead points to great champions’ ability to come back and every golfer knows that coming back from a bad shot or bad hole is sometimes the hardest thing to do.

“Forget your opponents; always play against par.”

Let par be your guide says Snead, and don’t covet your neighbour’s lie.

Of course if you’re playing matchplay some have suggested it is more a case of: “Matchplay is like when you go for a hike in the woods with a friend and find an aggressive bear, you don’t have to run faster than the bear – only faster than your friend.”

However, there is merit in Snead’s words even in matchplay as sloppiness can creep into your game if you have outmatched your opponent.

“If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they’d starve to death.”

Snead could also be an acerbic critic on his day and was often irritated by a poor grip.

He remarked that the most common problem he saw on courses was bad grips.

“To be consistently effective, you must put a certain distance between yourself and what happens to you on the golf course. This is not indifference, it’s detachment.”

You need to separate your self worth from your golf game. Golf is intoxicating, but she is a fickle mistress.

“Correct one fault at a time. Concentrate on the one fault you want to overcome.”

Even if you have engaged a coach it isn’t advisable to try to fix multiple elements of your game at once.

“Practice puts brains in your muscles.”

Snead believed repetition was the key to a great golf game and would practice relentlessly.

“Of all the hazards, fear is the worst.”

In his sci-fi epic Dune, Frank Herbert writes: “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”

Snead similarly warned against fear on the golf course.

“Nobody asked how you looked, just what you shot.”

Golf is an outcomes-based sport at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what it looks like if it’s working for you.

“First and foremost, you must have confidence. Your second mental problem is concentration. Think the shot through in advance before you address the ball. Draw a mental image of where you want it to go and then eliminate everything else from your mind, except how you are going to get the ball into that preferred spot.”

Snead was preaching visualisation long before it was en vogue.

It is something the professionals and amateurs alike have found works a treat.