'I've Hit 15 Million' - Gary Player Claims Incredible Total Of Golf Balls Hit Over His Career

87-year-old Gary Player says hitting the range, and the gym, hard over the years was the key to his success

Gary Player at the 2022 Senior Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gary Player has claimed the title of the golfer to hit the most golf balls in the world after saying he’s hit 15 million over the years.

The Black Knight is never afraid of talking about his achievements, and in his latest social media video he says a computer has worked out just how many golf balls he must have hit over his 73 years swinging a club.

The 87-year-old has always been meticulous in his preparation and has worked feverishly hard over the years about his golf game and physical condition to get the very most out of professional golf.

Playing around the world when coming from South Africa, Players won nine Majors and the title of Mr Fitness in golfing circles, and says that practice and hard work in whatever he’s been doing has been key.

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So too, has been constant time on the range hitting balls, and he even named the two golfers who came closest to matching his theoretical total.

“It’s a toss up between three people for who hit the most balls in the world and I’m going to give myself the nod,” said Player on the PGA Tour Champions social media pages.

“It’s either Ben Hogan, Vijay Singh and myself, but Vijay Singh is 20 years younger than me so I’ve hit 20 years of balls more and he’s still got to get to my age, and I’m still hitting balls!

“They say a computer works out that I’ve hit 15 million. That’s over 73 years and I was an animal, I never got tired, one of the great blessings I had is that I had so much energy.

“People don’t realise the value of energy, the more you can practice, the more dirt you move the more tournaments you’re going to win.”

And again Player says there’s no secret to success, it’s just sheer hard work which distinguishes the greats of the game from the mere good golfers down the years which for Player included his well-documented fitness regime.

“I practiced when people were sleeping, I went to the gym while people were sleeping. Hogan practised all day long, all the champions they practiced all the time, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, they all practice, practice, practice, there’s no short cut.

“My favourite subject is my body, it’s a holy temple and when you get to my age and have travelled more miles than any human being ever you realise what health means.”

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Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.