How MLB pitchers plan their road-trip golf outings, according to an ace

When it comes to MLB pitchers moonlighting as golfers on baseball road trips, former Atlanta Braves stars John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux have long been known as the standard.

All three are Hall of Famers, but they were also sticks on the golf course. Smoltz even played in some Champions Tour events and tried to advance through Q-School. (There’s a great oral history of their golfy escapades you can read in The Athletic.)

But do golf-loving MLB pitchers still live that lifestyle? It might depend on the team, but for Zac Gallen and the Arizona Diamondbacks, it’s very much still a thing.

John Smoltz
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By: Darren Riehl

Gallen, the 28-year-old all-star, was the guest on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar podcast and was asked for a peek behind the curtain on how it works when pitchers bring their golf clubs on the road.

“It’s usually in the mornings we’ll play,” said Gallen, who added he brings clubs on the road on 90-95 percent of the team’s road trips. “The only thing is it’s like, golf or sleep? So you are figuring out which one. So I’ve had some early wake-up calls to play some sick places, but you try and figure out like, alright, do I have a bullpen that day because I gotta get there a little bit earlier to warm up and all that stuff.

“Or if it’s a day where I just pitched and I’m not throwing and I just have to do some recovery, you have a little bit more time to get to the field. But outside of days before I pitch and day of, I try to play.”

Although Gallen says it might not be like this for every MLB team. It depends on the organization, but he added that Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo is OK with it.

“He’s like, ‘Listen, if you guys need to do whatever to get away from baseball, I understand the grind,'” Gallen said. “He’s like, ‘If you guys want to go play golf, just make sure you are ready to play.'”

Although does Gallen, an 8.8 handicap, win any cash against his teammates on the links?

“I can’t putt,” he said. “I lose my wallet when we are on the road.”

For more from Gallen, including his thoughts on his favorite golf cities, playing in the minor leagues, Mike Trout, the Diamondbacks’ run to the World Series and more, listen to the podcast here or watch it on YouTube below.

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at