Lietzke was born in Kansas City, Kansas. He moved to Beaumont, Texas with his parents in 1960 and lived there until 1977, graduating from Forest Park High School in 1969.
Lietzke credits his older brother, Duane, for introducing him to the game of golf at age five. He also credits Henry Homberg, a local Beaumont professional, along with Duane for having the greatest influences on his game when he first started playing. Lietzke attended the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. He graduated in 1973 and turned pro in 1974.
Although he had to wait until the Champions Tour to win a major, Lietzke has had a relatively successful career. He won 13 PGA Tour events and has so far won seven times on the Champions Tour. His career year on the PGA Tour was 1981, when he won three times. His best finish in a major on the PGA Tour was a solo 2nd at the 1991 PGA Championship. He played on the 1981 Ryder Cup team.
Lietzke was well known for not practicing a great deal, and not playing in a large number of tournaments compared to his fellow competitors, electing to spend more time with his family. Despite this he never finished below 74 on the money list.
In recent years, Lietzke has been plagued by the so-called "frozen shoulder syndrome" - the correct medical term is adhesive capsulitis - which has caused him to miss a considerable amount of playing time.
Lietzke enjoys collecting classic cars and has built an 11-car garage at his home in which to store his large collection; the crown jewel is a 1967 yellow Corvette Stingray convertible. He lists Bruce Springsteen as his favorite entertainer and Don "Big Daddy" Garlits as his favorite athlete. He makes his home in Dallas, Texas. In 1978, Lietzke was shown in print ads for the Dodge Magnum coupe, as also being a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda owner.
Lietzke was an avid supporter of the Sour Mash Open in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He has played in the event numerous times. "The Bryce-Lietzke-Martin Scholarship Fund was the first fund established by the Sour Mash Open Golf Tournament Committee in 1990 in honor of the late Dr. John Coyle Bryce, PGA Golf Professional, Bruce Lietzke and Larry Martin. The earnings of the fund are used to provide scholarships to worthy Wood County students who have shown an interest in golf."