Home Runs To Holes-In-One: MLB Players With A Passion For Golf

Home Runs To Holes-In-One: MLB Players With A Passion For Golf

Photo by Scott Taetsch/LIV Golf via AP

With the 2024 Major League Baseball season underway, there are about to be a lot of players whose golf habits are going to die down.

However, for the active players on this list, we’re pretty sure they’ll find a way to sneak in some rounds during road trips, and for those who are retired, there is no golf offseason.

Enjoy this count down 10 of the most golf-crazed Major Leaguers to ever lace up their spikes.

John Smoltz

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

We get this list started with quite possibly the best golfer to ever grace a pitching mound. Former Atlanta Brave John Smoltz has a reported sub-2 handicap playing out of Hawks Ridge Golf Course in Georgia. Since retiring he’s also built quite a backyard to hone in his skills which feature nine different tees and three greens. Several years ago Tiger Woods was once asked about Smoltz’s game and had quite the response:

“Smoltzy? Well, I had not ever played with an amateur that had ever shot the scores he shot,” Woods said to the Orlando Sentinel. “He is a hell of an athlete. He can play basketball. Obviously he was an incredible pitcher. But I think just the way he is able to take that same tenacity into golf is amazing. I’ve gone out there with him when he’s shot 69-67 in the same day … so it’s pretty phenomenal.”

Mike Trout


Two-time AL MVP Mike Trout loves to play golf, and can afford the greens fees at any course he wishes. That interest extends into during the baseball season, which is usually frowned upon for position players. He’s been known to play in former teammate Albert Pujols’ charity golf tournament and has helped his foursome win the title. Back in 2013, he played in another tournament and then hit for the cycle the next day, so maybe he’s onto something. More recently, he’s begun work with Tiger Woods to build his own course.

Justin Verlander

AP Photo/Gary McCullough

The 2011 American League MVP used to say he was a semi-pro golfer in his Twitter bio. Besides throwing 100+ mph fastballs, he also reportedly plays to a 4 handicap. Verlander made his tournament debut in 2013 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and says he plays golf nearly every day during the offseason after picking up the game in high school.

Josh Donaldson

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Josh Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays grew up next to a driving range in the Florida Panhandle and first picked up a club at 18 months old. While baseball took up most of his time, he really didn’t start playing golf until he was in college at Auburn. Now he’s reportedly a 5.4 handicap and can routinely belt it out there over 300 yards with the driver. Fairly unsurprising for a man who has had a combined 78 home runs the past two seasons. 

Greg Maddux

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Greg Maddux was as lethal at painting the corners as he is with a wedge. Another member of the famous trio of golfers on the Atlanta Braves back in the 1990s which included John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, Maddux translated his smart pitching into a smart golf game. He reportedly plays to a sub-4 handicap.

Adam Wainwright

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

The Cards’ ace grew up in coastal Georgia and played countless rounds as a kid at the Sea Island Golf Club. In the offseason, Wainwright retreats to nearby St. Simons Island, where he counts PGA Tour pros Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker among his neighbors. He sometimes golfs with them too, and can hang; Wainwright’s handicap hovers around 3.

Joe Nathan

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

The right-handed pitcher, like many of his counterparts on the mound, enjoys playing golf in between starts and also during the offseason. He sports, according to Golf.com, a 10 handicap. He specializes in a four-seam fastball during his day job — we’d like to know if he hits the golf ball left to right or right to left.

Ozzie Smith

AP Photo/Mike Groll

“The Wizard of Oz” Ozzie Smith as he was known as with the St. Louis Cardinals only started playing golf when he retired from baseball in 1996. The Hall of Famer reportedly has a 4.3 handicap on a couple of courses in Missouri. Smith has made it a goal of his to introduce more inner-city kids to golf.

Tom Glavine

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Tom Glavine was the third member of the Atlanta Brave 90s pitching staff that brought the heat to the golf course. He reportedly plays to a 2.8 at a couple courses in Georgia. The lefty has a sweet swing, not unlike his near flawless pitching motion.

George Brett

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Longtime Kansas City Royal Hall of Famer George Brett still tees it up at a few courses in Missouri where he plays to a reported 4-handicap. That is when he’s not running operations for the ball club. Good thing there’s usually no pine tar in the clubhouse locker room. 

Joe Mauer

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, known for his consistent batting and Head & Shoulders endorsement, also boasts an impressive golf game with a rumored 11 handicap.

Ian Kinsler

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Former Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler is just starting his golf journey. Rumored to have rushed to the course post-season, Kinsler sports an impressive 4 handicap.

Kyle Lohse

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Former Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse, self-proclaimed 0.5 handicap, claims to be one of MLB’s best golfers, often besting former Cardinals teammate Adam Wainwright on the links during their time together.

Jeff McNeil

AP Photo/Kevin Kolczynski

Mets All-Star Jeff McNeil, a former U.S. Junior Amateur competitor alongside Jordan Spieth, chose baseball over golf scholarships. Known for his 300+ yard drives, McNeil shares Phil Mickelson’s aggressive tee shot philosophy.

Tyler Clippard

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Former Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard, who considered pursuing professional golf before focusing on baseball, shot an impressive 72 at Pebble Beach in 2015 and maintains a substantial golf shoe collection.

Aaron Hicks

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Aaron Hicks, who grew up playing on the same course as Tiger Woods, won junior tournaments and had 5 holes-in-one by age 15 before focusing on baseball.