Ozzie Smith explains how he fell in love with golf

  • 2 min read
  • Dec 17, 2022

Ozzie Smith explains how he fell in love with golf

Ozzie Smith has long been a mainstay on the famous pro-am circuit.

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With a World Series title, 15 All-Star appearances and 13 Gold Glove awards, Ozzie Smith is the undisputed candidate for MLB’s defensive shortstop GOAT.

But these days? The 67-year-old is now fully focused on his golf game.

On this week’s episode of Subpar, Smith explained to hosts Colt Knesset and Drew Stoltz how he got into the game — and why it didn’t happen until he was an adult.

“I never picked up a golf club as a kid,” he said. I grew up in South Central Los Angeles. It was baseball, basketball and football. So golf was never for either of us.

Smith said it was in the late ’80s that Whitey Herzog invited Smith to tee off at his golf tournament. Despite never swinging a club before, Smith agreed and showed up for practice a few days early.

“As an athlete, I love the process,” Smith said. And the process continues today, knowing that I’ll never perfect it, but I’ve made it to a point of stability where I know what I’m trying to achieve.”

Ozzie Smith plays a shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by Synnex Corporation at Thornblade Club on June 10, 2021 in Greer, South Carolina.

A golf course that is still on Ozzie Smith’s baseball hall of fame bucket list


Jack Hirsch

Smith says he was comfortable enough during practice to hit the opening shot of the tournament.

“I hit it, and it went down the middle,” he said. “That was all. You know, when you hit it right. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Smith says he loved the challenge of being able to make the club look squarer and enjoyed the thrill of the competition.

For anyone who’s played any sport for 15, 20 years, there’s a competitive void in your life when you’re done. Golf fills that competitive void because I compete with myself first, the course and the people you play with. “I like this process and I’m trying to figure it out.”

Smith has done well by any standard and says he is currently a 4 handicap.

For more from Smith, including what it’s like to play in the top pros, his favorite courses and his experiences with the pros, check out the full interview below.

Jessica Marksbury

Golf.com photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia University’s inaugural class of women’s golfers, Jessica is able to outshine everyone on the deck. He can also apply them in the office, where he is primarily responsible for producing print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as the inaugural edition of GOLF’s Style Issue, which launched in February 2018. His original interview series, A Round With, first appeared in November 2015, both in the magazine and as a video on GOLF.com.

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