Jack Nicklaus Quotes

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Jack Nicklaus
— Golfer â€”

Nicklaus in September 2006
Personal information
Full name Jack William Nicklaus
Nickname The Golden Bear
Born (1940-01-21) January 21, 1940 (age 76)
Upper Arlington, Ohio
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Nationality  United States
Residence North Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Spouse Barbara Bash
(m. 1960–present)
Children Jack, Steven, Nancy, Gary, Michael
Career
College Ohio State University
Turned professional 1961
Retired 2005
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins 120
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 73 (3rd all time)
PGA Tour Champions 10
Other 26 (regular)
11 (other)
Best results in major championships
(wins: 18)
Masters Tournament Won: 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986
U.S. Open Won: 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980
The Open Championship Won: 1966, 1970, 1978
PGA Championship Won: 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1974 (member page)
PGA Tour
leading money winner
1964, 1965, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976
PGA Player of the Year 1967, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976
Bob Jones Award 1975
Payne Stewart Award 2000
PGA Tour Lifetime
Achievement Award
2008
Congressional Gold Medal 2015
(For a full list of awards, see here)

The long irons are the nemesis of the average golfer. I'm convinced that the underlying reason for this is that he keeps hearing how hard they are to handle. They're not that difficult, truly.
Jack Nicklaus
I had polio when I was 13. I started feeling stiff, my joints ached, and over a two-week period I lost my coordination and 20 pounds.
Jack Nicklaus
If I had one golf course, from a design standpoint, one that I really love, it would probably be Pinehurst. There's a totally tree-lined golf course where trees are not a part of the strategy.
Jack Nicklaus
I can barely turn on my computer!
The longer you play, the better chance the better player has of winning.
The Senior Tour is a good concept, although frankly I'm not astounded at its continued success. It gives a lot of guys an opportunity to extend their careers.
Jack Nicklaus
The best way to cope with trouble is to stay out of it as much as possible.
Jack Nicklaus
If I have a weakness, it's probably ice cream. That's where I get lax, sloppy. I'll sneak into the refrigerator at night and take two or three bites and put it back. Butter pecan. Only two or three bites, but it shows.
Jack Nicklaus
Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.
Jack Nicklaus
A kid grows up a lot faster on the golf course. Golf teaches you how to behave.
Jack Nicklaus
I'm a firm believer that in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don't enjoy.
Jack Nicklaus
The biggest rival I had in my career was me. I couldn't control Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson or Lee Trevino. The only person I could control was me.
Jack Nicklaus
Well, the biggest rival I had in my career was me.
People don't want to go to the dump and have a picnic, they want to go out to a beautiful place and enjoy their day. And so I think our job is to try to take the environment, take what the good Lord has given us, and expand upon it or enhance it, without destroying it.
Jack Nicklaus
How people keep correcting us when we are young! There is always some bad habit or other they tell us we ought to get over. Yet most bad habits are tools to help us through life.
Jack Nicklaus
All I ever wanted to do was play competitive golf against the best players in the world.
Jack Nicklaus
You have to trust your kids. They have to experience life, and you just hope you've provided them a foundation for what's right and what isn't.
Jack Nicklaus
The older you get the stronger the wind gets and it's always in your face.
Jack Nicklaus
When I fly in a helicopter, I insist there be two sets of controls, one for me in case something happens to the pilot. I'm no expert, but I know enough to at least get the thing on the ground. Nothing scares me like the thought of not being in control.
Jack Nicklaus
Mostly I built golf courses the way I played golf, which was left-to-right. But I learned very rapidly that people wanted to see more than just the way I played golf and that I had to balance up what I was doing, right-to-left, left-to-right, etc.
Jack Nicklaus
I played competitive golf all my life. Then all of a sudden, when I quit playing the game, I've got all this spare time and this energy. And certainly I wasn't ready to pack up my bags and go sit in front of the television with a shawl on.
Jack Nicklaus
A Nicklaus Design golf course is done by the guys in my company that I work with, that have been trained in my vision, and they do what they think I might do. They might come in the office and ask me questions and I'd certainly answer their questions, but I'm not involved in the site visits or anything else.
Jack Nicklaus
He had a lot of talent, but didn't have much dedication, wasn't organized, didn't know how to learn, didn't know how to comprehend what he was doing, didn't try to learn how to get better.
Jack Nicklaus
I've never set up any golf course that would favor anybody. I try to make it exactly the opposite, which is what we did at Valhalla when we modernized it to accommodate the lengths players are hitting it today.
Jack Nicklaus
This is a game. That's all it is. It's not a war.
I'm probably the only bottom-heavy golfer in the country.
A big part of managing a golf course is managing your swing on the course. A lot of guys can go out and hit a golf ball, but they have no idea how to manage what they do with the ball. I've won as many golf tournaments hitting the ball badly as I have hitting the ball well.
Jack Nicklaus
Focus on remedies, not faults.
The fact is, I diet every day of my life. I have to work at it. But I diet so I can pig out.
Jack Nicklaus
Golf was my vehicle to competition, and I can't play if I can't compete.
Jack Nicklaus
Did you know there's probably more golf played in Iceland than most places in the world? They play 24 hours a day in the summertime and the northern part is warmer than the southern part.
Jack Nicklaus
And, of course, I'm constantly energized by designing courses around the world.
Jack Nicklaus
I couldn't control Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson or Lee Trevino. The only person I could control was me. The only person I could prepare for events was me. And if I didn't play well, I didn't play well, and I wasn't going to compete.
Jack Nicklaus
Through the years of experience I have found that air offers less resistance than dirt.
Jack Nicklaus
Why are we building golf courses? Because we enjoy being outside, bringing man and nature together.
Jack Nicklaus
There are no maladies in my golf game. My golf game stinks.
A perfectly straight shot with a big club is a fluke.
Public appearances are a headache. I hold mine down to a minimum.
Golfers have a tendency to be very masochistic. They like to punish themselves for some reason. A lot of them like tough courses.
Jack Nicklaus
Golf is a better game played downhill.
I first saw Arnold Palmer when I was just a kid and he came to Columbus to play in a tournament. I watched him on the driving range hit balls that day. We went on to become great friends.
Jack Nicklaus
Crises are part of life. Everybody has to face them, and it doesn't make any difference what the crisis is.
Jack Nicklaus
Success depends almost entirely on how effectively you learn to manage the game's two ultimate adversaries: the course and yourself.
Jack Nicklaus
It's hard not to play golf that's up to Jack Nicklaus standards when you are Jack Nicklaus.
Jack Nicklaus
Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety.
If I were to look back on my work, I think I accomplished probably about 70 to 75 percent of what I could have. Maybe 60 percent. Somewhere in that area; two-thirds of what I could have accomplished. If I had been a really dedicated person, and really worked hard, I think I could have accomplished more.
Jack Nicklaus
Golf is game of respect and sportsmanship; we have to respect its traditions and its rules.
Jack Nicklaus
I never worried about money, except that I knew that all I had to worry about was golf. As long as I could play, I was going to make money.
Jack Nicklaus
I've wanted to design golf courses ever since I was a kid. I suppose it comes from the way I've played the game. To find the proper way to play any hole, I've always begun by asking myself what the architect has tried to do with it.
Jack Nicklaus
Well, I think that Augusta is not the same golf course that I grew up on. Bobby Jones' philosophy was giving you space off the tee; if you put it in the right side of the fairway, you ended up getting the right angle to the green.
Jack Nicklaus
The way I pack is I look at how long I'll be gone and I pack day for day. If I'm going on a three-day fishing trip, I plot each day. I put most of that in a little bag. If I'm going from there to work on golf courses for a few days, I plot that trip.
Jack Nicklaus
I like trying to win. That's what golf is all about.
In 1979, when I was 39, I had such a bad year, I thought it was all over. Thankfully it wasn't.
Jack Nicklaus
See, as much as I love the game, golf was my vehicle to competition. And I love to compete.
Jack Nicklaus
Don't be too proud to take lessons. I'm not.
When I want a long ball, I spin my hips faster.
Pete Dye introduced me to golf course design back in the 1960's. He came to my hometown Columbus, Ohio to work on The Golf Club.
Jack Nicklaus
I don't believe in luck. Not in golf, anyway. There are good bounces and bad bounces, sure, but the ball is round and so is the hole. If you find yourself in a position where you hope for luck to pull you through, you're in serious trouble.
Jack Nicklaus

Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety.
He's going to be around a long, long time, if his body holds up. That's always a concern with a lot of players because of how much they play. A lot of guys can't handle it. But it looks like he can.
Jack Nicklaus
My ability to concentrate and work toward that goal has been my greatest asset.
Jack Nicklaus
Whether it's pool or Ping Pong, I can't stand to have my kids beat me. Especially Ping Pong! And when they beat me, they just needle the devil out of me. That's fine. I'd rather have that than let them win a shallow victory.
Jack Nicklaus
I learned early in my career, where you get so wrapped up and so excited, that all of a sudden you don't think. So I worked very hard to keep myself suppressed. And that's one of the reasons I wasn't gregarious with the gallery.
Jack Nicklaus
Sometimes, I'm an ogre. I can be short. I'll walk into the office some days and I've gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, and everybody knows it. I'm a perfectionist. I like to be organized, and I like to get everything done today.
Jack Nicklaus
I think I fail a bit less than everyone else.
There are always new places to go fishing. For any fisherman, there's always a new place, always a new horizon.
Jack Nicklaus
I like to catch fish and release them. I probably haven't killed a fish that I've caught in sport fishing for 20 years. No reason to kill it. You know, just take it and release it.
Jack Nicklaus
I might cook occasionally, but I'm not a good cook. That's not my passion.
Jack Nicklaus
Professional golf is the only sport where, if you win 20% of the time, you're the best.
Jack Nicklaus
But if I played well and prepared myself properly, then all I had to do was control myself and put myself in a position to win.
Jack Nicklaus
Naturally it is nice to be widely known for worthwhile achievements, but it forces you to do many things which you don't like to do and these things take up time you want for other things.
Jack Nicklaus
I've been fortunate over my career to make a little history on the 16th hole at Augusta National.
Jack Nicklaus
There isn't a flaw in his golf or his makeup. He will win more majors than Arnold Palmer and me combined. Somebody is going to dust my records. It might as well be Tiger, because he's such a great kid.
Jack Nicklaus
Writers have told me more than once that I'm a better interview in defeat than in victory, which is a compliment I am extremely proud of.
Jack Nicklaus
Sometimes the biggest problem is in your head. You've got to believe you can play a shot instead of wondering where your next bad shot is coming from.
Jack Nicklaus
I think that Pebble Beach is my favorite golf course to go to. I think Augusta is my favorite place to go play golf.
Jack Nicklaus
Resolve never to quit, never to give up, no matter what the situation.
I have said many times that most people work all their life to retire to play golf, while I played golf all my life to retire to work. I enjoy working. It has kept me young and on the move, and I have had a good time with it.
Jack Nicklaus
I thoroughly enjoy working with kids, whether it's The First Tee or the lesson tee with my grandkids.
Jack Nicklaus
The game is meant to be fun.
I love design in general, the creativity. Whether it is golf courses, my apparel line, ads we do or our business with AriZona, design is fun.
Jack Nicklaus
I'd rather be two strokes ahead going into the last day than two strokes behind. Having said that, it's probably easier to win coming from behind. There is no fear in chasing. There is fear in being chased.
Jack Nicklaus
He has the finest, fundamentally sound golf swing I've ever seen.