Let’s talk about the voices that make watching golf a real treat. The top golf commentators know how to keep us hooked with great stories and insights as the game unfolds.
Here’s a look at the best ones who add that extra spark to the sport.
Jim Nantz: A Master Behind the Mic
When you talk about top-tier sports broadcasting, Jim Nantz’s name inevitably pops up.
While he’s still in the game, it’s hard not to consider him as one of the best, if not the best.
With nearly 30 years at CBS, he’s covered golf like few others, having an edge even over seasoned pros like Jim McKay and Brent Musburger.
What’s impressive? His near-perfect track record, barely making any mistakes during PGA Tour events.
And if you’ve seen him team up with Sir Nick Faldo for 17 seasons, you’d admire how effortlessly they sync.
What stands out about Nantz? His consistency, accuracy, and the comfort he brings to viewers.
He’s the kind of commentator you’d always want to rank at the top.
Nick Faldo: From Green to Screen
Nick Faldo isn’t just any golf commentator; he’s among the elite.
Starting his journey as an English pro golfer, he’s now a respected voice for major golf championships.
Inspired by Jack Nicklaus’s 1971 Masters, Faldo turned professional in 1976.
His golfing achievements? A whopping 43 wins, a world number one spot for 97 weeks, and six major titles. Not to mention bagging the European Tour Golfer title thrice.
But it’s not just his golf that grabs attention. When he transitioned to broadcasting, many were taken by surprise. And pleasantly so.
Faldo’s distinct humor, sharp insights, and the camaraderie he shared with co-commentators like Paul Azinger and Mike Tirico had fans hooked.
By 2006, he shifted gears to CBS, putting the spotlight on commentary over golfing.
With an MBE in 1988 and the 1989 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in his kitty, Faldo has been recognized far and wide.
When you tune into his commentary, you’re not just listening to words but gaining insights from one of golf’s finest.
John Wood: Quick on his Feet
When it comes to on-course reporting, John Wood stands out from the crowd. He’s got a sharp eye, and his keen observational skills set him apart.
Quick thinking and a knack for distilling his observations into short, informative statements have made him a go-to voice on the greens.
After Jim Mackay moved on from NBC in 2021 to caddie for Justin Thomas, Wood’s role at the network grew even more.
Coming from a caddying background himself, Wood knows that the job requires fast decisions and thinking on your feet.
And in his current role, he’s proving that you don’t need to be cleaning clubs to make an impact in golf.
Gary McCord: From Player to Pundit
Gary McCord might have started as a professional golfer, but he quickly became a familiar voice discussing the game.
He’s penned two notable golf books, Golf for Dummies and Just a Range Ball in a Box of Titleists.
And while he’s played in over 400 PGA Tour events, his wins came a bit later with two senior PGA Tour Champions in 1999 and a Korn Ferry Tour win in 1991.
He’s best remembered for his 54th finish at the PGA Championship.
But for many fans, a quirky incident at the 1984 FedEx St. Jude Classic stands out. Lining up a putt on the 15th hole, McCord had a wardrobe malfunction, to put it lightly.
With no underwear on, he found a quick fix by buying Peter Jacobsen’s rain pants.
It’s one of those memorable moments that keeps the game real and relatable.
Dan Hicks: The Voice of NBC Golf
Dan Hicks took over NBC’s golf coverage in 2000, steering it in a fresh direction compared to its earlier days without a dedicated golf anchor.
Teaming up with the ever-vocal Johnny Miller, Hicks provided balance with his cool demeanor and occasional quips.
Think of him as an air-traffic controller, staying calm even with a sky full of planes.
He combines a down-to-earth attitude with a deep understanding of golf. It’s no surprise he’s valued so highly at NBC.
Paul Azinger: Authenticity in the Tower
Paul Azinger’s transition from professional golf to commentary has been seamless.
Those fiery and spirited traits that made him a fan-favorite on the course found a new home in the commentary box, first with ABC, then with Fox, and eventually with NBC, succeeding the iconic Miller.
While aware of the inevitable comparisons, Azinger chose to dial back on the sharp criticisms, yet he remains genuine and unfiltered.
His commentary during the 2022 U.S. Open stands as a testament to his expertise.
What makes Azinger exceptional is his ability to convey the pressures of a Sunday afternoon game.
It’s clear to any viewer that he speaks from experience. After all, he’s navigated the ups and downs of a career filled with both victories and challenges.
It’s this authenticity that resonates, reminding everyone that Azinger truly knows the ins and outs of the game.
Verne Lundquist: The Voice Behind Iconic Moments
Verne Lundquist is versatile.
While he’s lent his voice to various sports, including the Olympics, American football, and basketball, his work with golf is particularly memorable.
Before golf, he was known for his dedication to the Dallas Cowboys in the late ’60s and for commentating on Bowling for Dollars in the early ’70s.
But for many golf enthusiasts, it’s Lundquist’s call during the 2005 Masters that steals the show.
When Tiger Woods prepared for a challenging shot on the 16th hole, Lundquist captured the moment brilliantly with, “Well, here it comes… Oh, my goodness! Oh wow! In your life, have you seen anything like that?!” That shot, combined with Lundquist’s voice, is a timeless piece of golf history.
Every time you watch it, it feels just as thrilling, and Lundquist’s commentary plays a big part in that feeling.
Rich Lerner: Versatile and Consistent Voice
Rich Lerner is a name that resonates with avid golf watchers.
His ability to mix things up and deliver consistently makes him a standout in golf commentary. As a key figure at the Golf Channel, Lerner effortlessly leads the way, especially when anchoring “Live From.”
The postgame and pregame shows have seen improvements with the inclusion of Paul McGinley.
But it’s Lerner’s knack for keeping things lively and engaging that truly shines through.
Simply put, he’s a commentator who knows his craft and does it with flair.
Frank Nobilo: From Greens to the Screen
Anyone into golf knows Frank Nobilo. Born in New Zealand in 1960, he kicked off his pro golfing career in 1979, racking up 14 tournament wins.
By 1997, he was ranked 21st globally, but an unexpected tee shot injury in 1998 changed his trajectory.
The accident, which needed 30 stitches above his left eye, affected his game, leading him to retire in 2003.
But that wasn’t the end for Nobilo. Switching gears, he stepped into the world of commentary.
Fans quickly took to his straight-talking style and insights, something many attribute to his Kiwi background.
In a candid TV chat, Nobilo shared, “I had my ups and downs with golf. While I didn’t achieve all I wanted on the green, golf has shaped my life in so many ways.”
Today, Nobilo’s reflections and insights offer a fresh perspective in the commentary box, letting viewers into the thoughts and feelings of a seasoned golfer.
Dottie Pepper: A Notable Voice in Golf Commentary
Born in New York, Dottie Pepper first made her mark in the golfing world as a professional player.
From 1988 to 1995, she was known on the greens as Dottie Mochrie before a name change following her divorce.
With 25 professional tournament wins under her belt, including two ANA Inspiration titles and consistent performances in the U.S. Women’s Open, her resume is impressive.
However, it’s not just her playing career that stands out. Dottie ventured into commentating in 2005 and immediately drew attention with her candid take on the U.S. team’s performance at the 2007 Solheim Cup.
The phrase “choking freaking dogs” became the talk of the tournament. After a brief retirement due to injuries in 2004, she took a hiatus from commentary in 2012.
But the allure of the game brought her back, first with ESPN in 2013, and then with CBS in 2015, stepping in for the legendary David Feherty.
Today, many in the golfing community consider Dottie one of the most insightful on-course reporters.
When thinking about top-tier golf commentators, Dottie’s name might not immediately come to mind for everyone, but it should.
On numerous occasions, she’s proven her mettle, not just on the course, but also behind the desk, providing sharp insights and memorable moments.