How Max Homa Uses Humor To His Advantage

Max Homa’s ascent into the world’s top 20 golfers has been as unexpected as some of his punchlines. A pro for nine years, the 32-year-old Californian has found a punchiness on the course to complement his humor.

He tells how his ability to tell a joke is crucial to his morale on the golf course…

RSNG Would you agree there has never been a golfer so universally popular as yourself, and whose recent success is so roundly welcomed?

MAX HOMA, PGA GOLFER “Well that’s a kind thing to say. My immediate reaction is to query your statement and say, ‘of course there has been!’ Yet on further thought perhaps you’re right, and it’s me after all!

“I think, at the end of the day, I am a people person and I like to go through life laughing and smiling. Life seems so much better when you can do that.”

RSNG You’ve used humor to entertain yourself and others around you, but is there more to it than that?

MAX HOMA “Sometimes I look at golf and contemplate how stupid the whole sport is. I mean, most sport is pretty stupid, but golf is especially.

“I heard someone criticizing a boxer a while back, saying it was a strange way to want to make a living. Well, I give you… golf!

I still look at golf somedays and think there are probably a hundred more worthwhile careers

“Obviously I feel very lucky and privileged that I’ve managed to carve a career out of the sport. It has been very good to me and there is nothing that makes me happier than to have made it through so many years where I just didn’t feel like I could really ever ascend to the heights I wanted. But I still look at it somedays and think there are probably a hundred more worthwhile careers!”

RSNG So is humor just a means of laughing at the strange reality that is the sport?

MAX HOMA “No, to be honest it is much more than that. I think if I said I used humor as a deflecting technique that would probably be the best description that I could give.

“I have always been the kind of person to laugh at myself, and by association, a lot of my friends will also laugh at themselves. I think it’s really important not to take things too seriously, so in the past when I’d really stunk the place out with a bad performance, I would tweet something funny. It’s a way of saying, ‘I can laugh at myself’, but also ‘I’m ok’.”

RSNG Your tweet about looking for a caddie who would probably get most weekends off, after you went through a season of missing the majority of cuts: was that one of your best?

MAX HOMA “Yeah that was a good one. It was funny… though ultimately, true!”

If I didn’t have humor to lift me out of a mood my scores would be a whole lot worse

RSNG Can humor take any credit for your dramatic upturn in form over the past couple of years?

MAX HOMA “Yes and no. The quality of my jokes doesn’t have any direct impact on the scores I am carding. That would be weird.

“What I will say though is keeping a light-hearted, fun outlook on the game certainly has helped me to keep coming back.

“I have never been a player who will immerse myself in a bad shot for the next few holes. I may berate myself, but I’ll get myself smiling again, and move on. If I didn’t have humor to lift me out of a mood, perhaps my scores would be a whole lot worse.”

RSNG Does golf need to smile more?

MAX HOMA “We see a lot of players coming out of their shells during the Ryder Cup, but outside of that a lot of the characters are still quite serious and it would be nice if some expressed themselves a bit more.

“I think golf will always be a sport that demands decorum on the course, but so much goes on away from it now, and through social media there is the option for everyone not just to sell a different side to themselves, but to portray the game in a modern, entertaining light.

“I grew up watching clips of players like Jon Daly – he was such a breath of fresh air for the sport, and still is all these decades later. We need more of that.”

WHAT NEXT? Struggling with the yips when the pressure is on in your short game? Read’s interview with performance psychologist Jake Brown on how fear is behind these involuntary wrist spasms, and how to overcome it.

Photos: Shutterstock/REX, Moviestillsdb, AdobeStock