The world’s most famous avid golfers part two – Entertainers, Artists and Authors

In this second part of our series of articles about famous golfers, we look at some of the most famous entertainers, authors and artist’s in the world who have not just shone in their own chosen field, but have become huge fans of the game of golf.

While many of the names you may well know as keen golfers, such as Ghostbuster’s star Bill Murray, there are one or two names on this list who may well be  a surprise to you!

Fred Astaire – learned to play golf as a youngster on holiday in Delaware and admitted in his autobiography “I was so crazy about golf I couldn’t sleep at nights” and “I had a terrific desire to be a golf pro”. Astaire was no bad player, who played off a 10 handicap at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles. He also recorded a hole in one at the club’s 13th hole during his time as a member.

Perhaps only he could make golf look as graceful or as easy as this, perhaps if we could play golf as well as he danced here, we’d be in good shape!

Willie Nelson – The country and western star may be famous for his singing and song writing skills, but he is also an avid golfer, so much so that Nelson’s private recording studio is housed within the confines of his own 18-hole course, Pedernales Golf Club, near Austin Texas.

Humphrey Bogart – A single-digit handicapper who played at Lakeside Golf Club in LA. He’d play in between takes or watch players at the Los Angeles Open, in his trademark trenchcoat and fedora while, reportedly, sipping bourbon from a hip flask.

Katharine Hepburn – The winner of four Oscars, Hepburn was a very keen and excellent amateur golfer, developing her skills from the age of 5 at a nine-hole course in Fenwick Connecticut. As a famous actress she regularly played the Bel Air course and lived on a house near the 14th tee.  She also played all her shots in the 1952 golf film “Pat and Me” (shown below) alongside Spencer Tracy and once scored a hole in one at the course in Fenwick many years later, just a day before a hurricane swept through and destroyed her family home.

Sir Sean Connery – Connery was a latecomer to golf, taking his first lesson in his 30s, but quickly he developed a passion for the game that continues to this day. In 1987, he won an Oscar for his part in “The Untouchables” but said that winning a Silver Jubilee event at St. Andrews in the same year was more satisfying.

Bill Murray – The star of films Ghostbusters and Caddyshack is well known as a lover of the game and is a regular, though not entirely serious, competitor in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament each year.

Rita Hayworth – The famous glamour queen of the 30s and 40s was a very keen golfer and was a member of Riviera Golf Club in Los Angeles. In 1958, she also visited Scotland and played some of the countries most famous courses, including Gleneagles, home of the 2014 Ryder Cup, where she birdied the final hole in front of 500 spectators, for a hugely impressive round of 87.

Jack Nicholson – In 1989, while preparing for the film “The Two Jakes”, Nicholson took a few golf lessons and was immediately smitten with the game. Since then the star of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest reveals that golf has become his true passion, but he refuses to play in televised pro-am events stating: “I’m too expensive for TV!”.

Harpo Marx – Another player who came to the game late, Marx was a member of Hillcrest GC in Los Angeles where he played with George Burns and would amuse fellow golfers by having a hinged driver, into which he would reach and take out a sandwich while playing.  He was one of a group of investors who founded the Tamatisk Golf Club, which opened in 1952 and he lived in a property on the course. When he died in 1964 his ashes were reportedly scattered into a bunker on the 17th.

Rudyard Kipling – Kipling was not just a keen golfer, who played with his friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Vermont in the 1890’s, he is also reputed to have invented snow golf, painting his golf balls bright red and sliding a tin can into the snow so he could continue playing throughout the Vermont winter.

Bob Hope – Arguably the most famous entertaining golfer of his day, Bob Hope once hoked that “I tell jokes to pay my green fees”. Hope was an excellent player, who played in the British Amateur Championship and had a handicap that was once as low as 4. He is one of the few non-professional golfers to have been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame and his name is still visible on the professional tour today as part of the Bob Hope Desert Classic, held annually at Palm Springs.

He was also a guest on the Mike Douglas television show when the world was first introduced to a two-year-old prodigy golfer called Tiger Woods. Hope’s love affair with the game is clearly shown by the video below.

Alice Cooper – Famous for his gory stageshows and hits like “School’s Out” and “Poison” Alice Cooper freely admits that while some people found salvation in God, he found it in Golf. Cooper now tries to play 36 holes each day when not working and has a handicap of around seven. He has also appeared in adverts for Callaway.

Oliver Hardy – Strange as it may seem, Hardy was not just an avid golfer, but an exceptionally good one too. The more rotund half of Laurel and Hardy was a member of Lakeside Golf Club in the 1930s and played alongside the likes of Bing Crosby and WC Fields, regularly shooting in the 70s. The famous Laurel and Hardy classic “Should Married Men Go Home” is still regarded to this very day as the crowning achievement of golf slapstick.

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Richie February 3, 2016

Katharine Hepburn!! never heard of it!! …Oh! It’s good to see not only the great golfer but also their passion for the game! Thank you very much!

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