10 of the Best (or Worst) Golf Crowd Shouts
Golf is not known as a traditionally loud sport – in fact, it’s frequently caricatured as too sombre and too silent. In recent years, however, its profile has been changing. Where a muted clap or a smattering of polite applause was previously akin to a rapture, now fans, especially across the Atlantic, express their feelings about players and shots more boisterously. The rowdiest and best recognised examples of this new spectator engagement are, of course, golfing chants, the cries of ‘mashed potatoes’ and ‘dilly dilly’ that are now such an inextricable feature of golf. They are certainly not the favourite of everyone, but what are the most popular and unique golfing cat calls?
A classic, but nonetheless striking for being so, if there’s one shout that is unambiguously deserving of a slot on this list, it’s ‘mashed potatoes’. It’s also one of the most ridiculous. While there’s perhaps a Spike Milliganesque logic to the phrase – ‘mashing a drive’ is a thing after all and perhaps the golf ball bears a weird, passing resemblance to a potato – a podgy, bald businessman in short shorts bellowing ‘mashed potato’ every time someone hits a good drive is a spectacle which seems comically out of place on the golf course. But time can make even the most bat-crud mental of curiosities seem natural, and, for all its strangeness, ‘mashed potatoes’ is now a staple of every good comp.
Activate the Glutes
Tiger Woods has long had a history of coining spurious sports lingo and minting apparently not-before-heard-of illnesses, but even by his low standards, the incident behind this gem of a chant was absurd. After pulling out of the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open, Woods famously claimed: “It’s just my glutes are shutting off, then they don’t activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back. So I tried to activate my glutes as best I could”. Any idea what he was on about? Don’t worry, neither does anyone else. So bizarre was Woods’s explanation, that it spurred a popular, mocking chant. You can even buy a ‘Glutes Activated’ Tiger-themed tee-shirt!
Annika Sorenstam Loves Trapeze
Some of the best golfing shout-outs are enigmatic. None of them more so than ‘Annika Sorenstam Loves Trapeze’. Believe it or not, this truly is really a thing, with the Masters recently adding it to their list of banned phrases – utter the words ‘Annika Sorenstam Loves Trapeze’ and you will be booted unceremoniously off the grounds! Commentators have been baffled by the meaning of the phrase and I’m not going to pretend to know the answer here. One possible explanation, though, may be found in a popular self-help book: Gail Blanke’s Between Trapezes (2004). In it, Sorenstam’s decision to become the first female golfer since Babe Didrikson Zaharias to play in the male 2003 PGA Tour Colonial Invitational is analysed and praised. Despite missing the cut, Blanke brands Sorenstam’s performance a triumph, memorably describing her as having “soar[ed] on her personal trapeze”. Could this be the origin of this bizarre but brilliant chant? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Rapper Meek Mill isn’t usually connected to golf, but in the world of golf chants, he’s a star. The cry springs from Mill’s imprisonment in 2007, which, after serving his sentence, he was then returned to, following an ostensible violation of his parole. Trouble is, the judge who was covering Mill’s case has been alleged to be biased and his sanctions, in the eyes of some people, to be rendered moot. Hence the cries to ‘free Meek’. Of all the chants on this list, this one is possibly the least relevant to golf, but man is it funny.
Nobody Beats the Wiz
‘Nobody Beats the Wiz’ is another shout that has nothing to do with golf. The call presumably hails from a famous chain of stores in New York which dominated the Big Apple’s highstreets in the 1990s, flogging TVS, DVD players and jumbo sized (as they were way back in the 90s) mobile phones. As well as for its outlandish name, however, the store was made particularly famous by its corny (even for the 90s!) ads which merged garish flashing light displays with squeaky voiced voice overs to register truly horrific adverts. Special points for picking out the ‘Wiz King’!
Brandel’s My Daddy
The ‘Brandel’ in question here is undoubtedly Brandel Chamblee, the infamous golf commentator, from the Golf Channel. As any golf fan worth his clubs will know, Chamblee has a bit of a reputation among commentators. Second to Johnny Miller, there is probably no golf pundit more Marmite-like than Chamblee, whose penchant for tough love and never pulling his punches has earned him as much criticism and hatred as straight-talking respect. We’re not quite sure where the ‘Daddy’ part of this phrase comes from, however. Does Brandel have an illegitimate son no one knows about? Or is it a metaphorical fatherhood, a testament to his sports commentating prowess? Have any ideas? Share your interpretation in the comments below.
Sweep the Leg Johnny
At first glance, ‘sweep the leg Johnny’ looks like it might be related to golf. What with long drive guru Mike Austin’s famous phrase ‘spin the meatballs’ and all manner of other crazy swing thoughts circulating in the golfing community, it’s not ridiculous to think that this wacky chant may have a similar origin. While there may well be some benefits to ‘sweeping your leg’ in a driver swing – maybe punching your weight through for extra length – we’re betting the real source of this phrase comes from the much beloved movie The Karate Kid. In the film’s finale, ‘karate kid’ Daniel Larusso faces off against his bully Johnny Lawrence. After months of training, Larusso is ready, but he’s nursing a leg injury from a previous round. The famous words are spoken by Lawrence’s duplicitous trainer: he advises him to ‘sweep’ Larusso’s bad leg. Of course, the original Karate Kid is well out of date now, but on the golf course, the spirit of the dojo lives on.
Jimmy Carter Eats Peanuts
For pure absurdity, this most recent phrase is surely at the top of the flag. As with many of these sayings, we’re only guessing, but it’s probable that the Jimmy Carter referred to in this phrase is the ex-President of the United States. Before entering the Oval Office, Carter famously managed a booming peanut farm, which sold certified seed peanuts and other farm supplies. Did dear old Jim actually eat his farm’s peanuts? Probably. The taste of those delicious buttery nuts though must have felt sour when he eventually exited the White House in 1981 to find his peanut farm was now over $1 million in debt.
To Infinity and Beyond
Everyone knows the origin of this famous phrase. If you don’t: how bad was your childhood? The coiner of the shout ‘to infinity and beyond’ was, of course, Toy Story astronaut Buzz Lightyear. But the phrase is so versatile that it’s no surprise that its been expanded into golf. Could there be a more elegant and witty way of describing the rocket-ship flight of a crushed drive? Most golf fans evidently don’t think so. So here’s to you Buzz, and the genius Pixar scriptwriters behind your most epic of lines.
No self-respecting list of the best golf chants and catchphrases could be complete without the mention of ‘dilly dilly’. Beer lovers will be able to source this most catchy of calls at a glance, but for those with less knowledge about different types of brewskis, a quick explanation is in order. The phrase has its origins in a series of comically bizarre adverts for Bud Light which showed faux medieval knights clanging glasses and generally misbehaving. The phrase that they chanted while drinking and doing their antics? Dilly dilly.
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