While NFL quarterbacks are focused on scoring as many points as possible, some of them spend the offseason trying to get the fewest points possible on the golf course. Some of the best NFL quarterbacks are also top golfers, but certainly not all of them. Here are the most famous NFL golfers ranked from worst to best.
8. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
- Handicap: doesn’t matter
In 2015, Cam Newton told People Magazine he’s “not the best golf player.” For this reason and since “everyone does a golf tournament,” the Carolina Panthers QB runs a celebrity kickball tournament to raise money for The Cam Newton Foundation, a nonprofit organization “committed to enhancing the lives of young people by addressing their socioeconomic, educational, physical and emotional needs.”
7. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
- Handicap: about 13.6
Jared Goff makes our list as a so-so golfer. He competed in the 2017 American Century Celebrity Golf Championship but finished third from last. The Los Angeles Rams star did beat Derek Fisher and Charles Barkley. He told the NFL Network, “I hope to be better at golf when I’m done playing football, not while I’m playing.”
In 2018, he improved at the same golf tournament, coming in 85 out of 92. Then, in June 2019, Goff got a hole-in-one at the Lakeside Golf Club in Los Angeles.
6. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
- Handicap: about 13
In a 2016 interview, Marcus Mariota said he golfed while playing at Oregon and now in Tennessee, and that he’s “not very good.” He admitted, “What do I shoot in 18 (holes)? Hopefully under 100. If it’s under 100, it’s a good day.” Mariota must enjoy golf though as his parents gifted him clubs as a graduation present. His charity, The Motiv8 Foundation, fundraises at golf tournaments.
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
- Handicap: between 3 and 9
Brees pointed out that quarterbacks are often good at golf because there are “a lot of similarities between the quarterback’s throwing motion and the motion of hitting a golf ball.” The Saints legend competed at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. In 2010, he played in the Honda Classic pro-am with Jack Nicklaus and got some tips from the pro.
4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
- Handicap: about 8.1
Before he was an NFL quarterback, Tom Brady worked at Polo Fields Golf and Country Club in Jackson, Michigan as well as the University of Michigan Golf Course in Ann Arbor. The NFL icon is a strong player and regularly competes in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He even shot an eagle at the 2014 tournament.
In 2016, Brady partnered with Jim Nantz and beat two presidents, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, in a golf match in Kennebunkport, Maine.
3. Alex Smith, Washington Redskins
- Handicap: about 6.8
Alex Smith is a strong golfer who competes at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. At the latter, he fell in the middle of the pack, coming in 59th place out of 89 golfers in 2017 and 47th out of 92 in 2018. Despite suffering a compound fracture to his leg last November, Smith played some golf this summer.
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Handicap: between 0.4 and 7, currently 2.7
This talented golfer has competed in many celebrity pro-am tournaments. At Golf Digest’s 2009 U.S. Open Challenge, he shot an 81 at Bethpage Black, which is one of the most difficult courses in the world. He also beat Michael Jordan and Justin Timberlake there. Some of his most-played courses include Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Country Club and Georgia’s Reynolds Lake Oconee.
1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
- Handicap: between 0.0 and +1.2
Matt Ryan has a great swing and has played several times in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. He runs the annual Matt Ryan Celebrity-Am Classic golf tournament each year in support of the Matt Ryan Foundation and Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
In an interview with PGA.com, Ryan said that while he golfed a little growing up, he began playing more and taking lessons during his NFL offseasons in Georgia. He said, “I think when you start to see yourself improve and shoot some better scores, it becomes more fun.” He was also motivated to improve his game so he could beat his then-backup quarterback Chris Redman.