Is Snooker Harder Than Golf? Here's What Golfers Say...

2005 World Snooker champion Shaun Murphy said his game was the hardest, needless to say it prompted some debate

Is Snooker Harder Than Golf
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Both sports have huge elements of precision and technique but is one harder than the other? We asked our forum members.

Is Snooker Harder Than Golf? Here's What Golfers Say...

After going out of the Masters, 2005 World Snooker Champion Shaun Murphy tweeted this...

‘Snooker is the hardest single player sport in the world. Change my mind’

We’re not sure what he’s measuring this by (other than probably trying to amuse himself after getting knocked out) but where would you put golf in the chat?

We asked our forum members, who had some very interesting views...

Snooker is harder

I have played a lot of snooker. For me it is easier to become ‘decent’ at golf than it is to become decent at snooker. Let's say decent at golf is single figures and decent at snooker is to make a 50 break. KenL

Snooker for me is much harder. Getting to single figures in golf is not that hard but getting a break of 50 is extremely hard IMO. Green Man

Making breaks of 30+ is so tough, whereas in golf breaking 100, then 90, then 80, I found achievable through working hard on my game. I did get to a stage where I could make a good amount of pots, including lengthy ones, but cue ball control... that is something entirely different and until you play the game, it isn't easy to comprehend how hard it actually is. howbow88

I am fortunate enough to have a full sized snooker table upstairs. The joke is that I am absolutely rubbish. If I ever get a break of 50, it will be a red letter day. My golf is reasonable, (9.8 WHS), but I marvel at the top players in both sports. I used to be an instructor at a motor cycle racing school. Some riders were born to ride. Others, even if you had painted a white line to indicate the correct line, they still couldn't have stuck to it. Sticking with the subject, I reckon snooker is probably harder, especially in controlling the cue ball. I wonder how many top snooker players are single-figure golfers. Similarly, I bet loads of top golfers play snooker after a round. I wonder how many of them can get big breaks? Yorkshire Hacker

Snooker played on a proper sized table which runs to the correct speed of cloth, is insanely difficult. I love that Tom Watson nearly won the 2009 Open, and that Langer carded very well at the 2020 Masters...but he's 63!! Very few other sports have 60-year-olds competing at the highest level in the best tournaments. 'Golf-only' fans who denigrate other sports, need to also look at their own sport too. evemccc

Snooker is way harder. Snooker is not about potting the other balls it's about controlling the cue ball and its collisions with the other balls and cushions. Also you can't compare club tables with the pro tables as the shape of the pockets on them reduces the margin of error significantly. No two tables or cloths are the same, the way the table plays can vary with temperature. You can be in perfect position in snooker and have a kick or a bad bounce off a cushion and find yourself completely out of position. greenone

In snooker your opponent can snooker you behind the yellow. That’s the equivalent of your opponent in golf picking your ball up and putting it behind a tree. In snooker you are only as good as your opponent lets you be by his good play or his mistakes. In golf you are the only one who has control or not of your ball unlike snooker where you have to share the cue ball. Both are hard but golf is under your sole control where snooker isn’t. clubchamp98

The margins for error are so small in snooker. There are few sports that rely so heavily on technical skill. There is a sliding scale from there I would say, golf is technical and physical, and you keep going through to something like boxing.  Snooker has a strong case for being the most technically demanding sport though I would say. Potting is relatively easy though, positional play is far from it. Controlling the cue ball is the real skill - applying spin to ball to get it where you want it while also adjusting the potting angle to take account of that spin. It’s incredibly skilful and incredibly hard. Canary_Yellow

Related: Shaun Murphy attempts to qualify for The Open

Golf is harder

Snooker is played in a nice controlled environment on a constant playing surface. You can hit a textbook golf shot and still be at the mercy of the elements or a bad bounce so given the greater variables golf seems harder to me. HomerJSimpson

I find ALL sports difficult. But the thing that strikes me is that in any sport, one typically has a level of ability (be it good or bad) and tends to play to that level fairly consistently. Except golf. No matter how good or bad you are, the variability in how you perform on any given day (or even on a shot-by-shot basis) can be enormous. That is the thing which sets golf apart from every other sport. cliveb

Snooker is undoubtedly a hugely skilful game The margins of error are significant and the levels of concentration and technique needed at the top level is phenomenal. However the ball travels a few yards at most, it is not affected by the weather and the table provides a perfect surface 100 per cent of the time. Golf is significantly more skilful in my opinion. Not to mention significantly more difficult. tugglesf239

If you're equating golf and snooker then you don't leave the green. Although there could, arguably, be a touch more skill required as you're hitting one ball onto another to make the target but your playing area never breaches the 12 x 6 and it's always flat. No 27-foot downhill left-to-righters against the grain. And I'd like to see them get their spherical objects on the table from 180 yards off a sideways lie with bunkers right and a pond left.They don't know they're born.. On a 15-foot putt, if your aim is out by 1° then the ball isn’t going in. I'd say a four-foot shot on a snooker table that is similarly offline will probably drop. If the pace is right it will, at worst it will rattle the jaws. Add in the curvature of the green compared to the dead flat table and I don't see a comparison. In snooker you're also looking down the line of the shot, you have a great alignment aid in the cue - golfers stand two feet to the side. Snooker is a hard game, absolutely, but it’s only half the game that golf is. Imurg

I reckon if you went to a local snooker club you’d find a higher percentage of regular players who have had a 50 break than single figure golfers in the clubhouse. Papas1982

Golf is way, way harder than snooker! The holes are much further away. Factor in the fatigue of having walked for four hours. Golf is affected by the elements, wind and rain, or even heat exhaustion. The mechanics of a golf swing are far more complicated. How long does it take a complete beginner to strike a golf ball cleanly? Whereas give someone a cue and they can generally strike a cue ball well before very long. A perfectly hit shot in golf can still have a bad result due to luck whereas a perfectly hit shot in snooker is probably going in. In comparative terms snooker is more akin to putting in difficulty, and putting is only an aspect of golf. Orikoru

Golf is much harder. Starting with greens in reg, it's possible for every green to be a single putt (I'm not even considering hole-out shots) so that's 18 under par straightaway. A top player can hit every par 5 in two so that's another four shots assuming a standard par 72. There are usually at least a couple of drivable par-4 holes so that's another two shots. That makes a round of 24 under par perfectly feasible, yet nobody has come remotely close in the history of golf. (Apart from a certain North Korean leader) Crow

I've yet to see anyone shank a snooker ball, hook /slice or thin/top it. Snooker’s difficult but not like golf. Sats

Both are ’stupid hard’

Really it's rather silly to claim one is harder than the other, in fact I would say they are both as hard as each other. A full-length table shot on a snooker table gives no forgiveness in where you hit your cue on the white, the spin you apply to it or its contact with the coloured ball. Snooker is about being exact with no room for error. Golf equipment gives you plenty of forgiveness. I would say neither is harder than the other. Bunkermagnet

At a basic level hand a complete newbie a club, chances are they miss the ball! In snooker they might hit the cue ball, they might hit an object ball, but it isn’t going in the pocket too often. Both are difficult enough to make the argument tough. IanM

If I can slightly misquote Henrik Stenson, both 'are stupid hard'. They are both technical and very precise. It is that precision that makes them far more difficult than most other sports, the margin for error is not there. I think you can make arguments for both sports and both are valid. Tough to split them. Lord Tyrion

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Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.