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The Language of Match Play in 1504

The poem below, from a book called Lyrics of the Links compiled by Henry Litchfield West and published in 1921, ends with a clever play on words. However, to appreciate the poet’s skill requires an understanding of the language of match play scoring. By way of reference, according to Robert Browning, a noted golf historian, stroke play began in 1759. The first match play of record was between King James IV and the “Erle” of Bothuile on Feburary 3, 1504, about 605 years ago! [Read more...]

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The Importance of Golf – A Sentimental View from the Past

A hundred years ago, golf was a game to embrace for its personal challenges, competitive qualities and unique history. It was not yet a big time professional sport. Nor was it a huge business dependent on tour sponsors, equipment sales and resort travel. It was just golf played for enjoyment, “for [its] vigor without violence, for life-long joy of youth.” The relationship of the average golfer to golf was straight forward. He was a duffer trying to improve without much help from his golf clubs or the few sources of instruction then available. Golf poetry at that time provided an interesting window into the minds of ardent golfers. [Read more...]

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Willie Leith’s Records in Teaching Golf

Golf professionals today use a wide array of high tech and low tech gadgetry in their never-ending quest to help us improve every aspect of our games. Video replay, interactive DVD’s, shotmaking simulators, putting arcs, whippy drivers, impact balls and hundreds of other teaching and training aids all have their advocates.

So what did golf pros offer before this industry developed? [Read more...]

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Doug Sanders’ British Open Miss for the Ages

Doug Sanders misses 30 inch putt

Doug Sanders misses 30 inch putt

My previous post celebrates one of Tiger Woods’ greatest moments when he chipped in on the 16th hole at Augusta during the 2005 Masters Tournament which he won.

Unfortunately, not so great moments have their place in golf history as well. In 1970, Doug Sanders, described by Golf Hall of Famer Johnny Miller as “a crowd-pleasing showman who dressed loud, lived fast and made golf the glamour game it was in the 1960s and ’70s,” missed a critical putt on the eighteenth green at the British Open. I wrote the following poem to memorialize this famous run-by that cost Sanders the tournament. [Read more...]

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