Hitting the links has gone through surges of popularity over the years.
The 80s caught golf on an upswing. There were some great players, male and female, helping push 1980s golf into the spotlight.
As one of the biggest names in 1980s golf, Tom Watson was honest, aggressive, and great in bad weather.
He had 19 wins throughout the decade, five of them being majors. He won the Masters in 1981, the U.S. Open in 1982, and the Open Championship in 1980, 1982, and 1983. He was also the PGA Player of the Year in 1980, 1982, and 1984.
Jack Nicklaus was a legend of the 60s and 70s, but also held his own during the 80s. In 1980, he won the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. His third win of a major came in 1986, where he surprised everyone by beating Greg Norman and Tom Kite – he set a record that year with 18 wins in majors.
Another golfing great was Seve Ballesteros, who turned pro when he was only 16 years old. During the 80s, he had seven PGA Tour wins, including four majors. He won the Masters in 1980 and 1983, and the British Open in 1984 and 1988. Seve also had over 50 wins in Europe throughout the decade.
Greg Norman, aka ‘The Shark,’ was another big name in golf. He had eight wins on the PGA Tour, including the 1986 British Open. He could have won many more; he came in second in four majors throughout the decade, proving his consistency.
Some other great golfers during the decade were Fuzzy Zoeller, Craig Stadler – aka ‘The Walrus,’ Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, and Ray Floyd.
The LPGA had been around since the 50s, but some incredibly athletic women helped women’s golf gain momentum throughout the decade.
There was JoAnne Carner, winner of the USGA Bob Jones, Vare, and LPGA Player of the Year Awards…and that was just in 1981. She also had 50 LPGA Tour wins.
Pat Bradley had the most wins in the LPGA twice – in 1983, and again in 1986 when she also won the GWAA Female Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy, and the LPGA Player of the Year. She had 18 wins during the decade, including six majors.
Betsy King was another winning player. She won the GWAA Female Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989, the Vare in 1987, and the LPGA Player of the Year in 1984 and 1989. King had 20 wins, with two of them being majors.
Another fantastic female golfer was Amy Alcott. She had 21 LPGA Tour wins, including three majors. In 1980, she won the U.S. Women’s Open – the same year she won the Vare Trophy.
Other prominent golfers were Beth Daniel and Nancy Lopez. Throughout the decade, they were both winners of the Vare Trophy, LPGA Tour Player of the Year, and GWAA Female Player of the Year.
There were also some slight equipment changes for both men and women. Drivers got longer, but they used high-tech materials like graphite and titanium, which made them strong and lightweight.
If you didn’t play the game, you could usually catch some great golf on television if the season was right.
If playing wasn’t your thing, you could always get you golf fix by watching the 80s golf movie “Caddyshack” for a good laugh.