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The Golf Girl – 1899 Version

The Golf Girl from PBA Catalogue

The Golf Girl from PBA Catalogue

The first “golf girl” may have been Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary was born in Scotland in 1542 and is said to have played golf as a teenager in France. She definitely played when she returned to Scotland. The ill-fated Queen is remembered best for showing bad form when at age 27 she was seen playing “in the fields beside Seton” a few days after the murder of her second husband, Lord Darnley.

Unfortunately, in1586, after a long period of “match play” with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, Mary lost her head! A rather poor start for women’s golf.

Women’s golf, however, does carry at least one historical literary distinction. [Read more...]

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Where Have All My Good Drives Gone?

where-have-all1

From the Minute Books of the Bruntsfield Links Golf Club:

“Bruntsfield Links, 28th Sep. 1839

During the evening the Secretary sang the following impromptu:—

Come, all you Golfers stout and strong,
Who putt so sure and drive so long,
And I will sing you a good song,
About old Captain Aitken.”

I will spare you the remaining verses.

The Scottish and English Golf Clubs have always included songs in their rituals. For example a song called “The Golfer’s Garland” included in Robert Clark’s book, Golf: A Royal and Ancient Game, was said to be “composed for the Blackheath Golf Club, and often sung with great spirit …” Clark includes other songs in his book.

These golfing songs were often poems that where written to be sung using the melodies of familiar tunes. With that in mind, I penned the following song to be sung to the tune “Where have all the flowers gone?,” in hopes of continuing the tradition at some existing golf club. Those of you who remember the tune are encouraged to sing along. [Read more...]

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The Poetry of Match Play

The following is the one of the closest links between golf and poetry that I have ever found. The story and poem appeared in the November 1913 issue of The American Golfer.

“Two Californians, Dr. Walter S. Power and Mr. Mark Sibley Severance, “a well known author and an ardent golfer” finished a match all even. The following day Dr. Power sent Mr. Severance a challenge “couched in a rather indifferent rhyme.” Here is Mr. Severance’s reply. [Read more...]

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A Poet’s Approach to Fixing a Slice

golf-slice

When you look up “slice swing,” Google provides 1,540,000 results! But, then, the number of slicers is still far larger. So this Post is aimed, sympathetically, at all of you who seek to straighten out your swings.

The truth is that golfers have always been frustrated with balls that veered sharply right (for a right-hander). And instruction books from the beginning have tried to help duffers find a cure. Take, for example, the famous book The Badminton Library: Golf, written and edited by Horace G. Hutchinson and first published in 1890. In a chapter titled “Out of Form,” Sir Walter Simpson, member and once captain of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, writes,

“Whether in the case of a beginner or an old player, the ball when driven has a great tendency to curve off to the right. There is perhaps nothing more difficult to get rid of than this form of bad driving. … It is very evident that to enable him to correct the result the player must know what is its cause or combination of causes.” [Read more...]

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Golf Ball Poetry

Spalding Balls from PBA Galleries Auction

Spalding Balls from a PBA Galleries Auction

If you think that selecting a golf ball is complicated in today’s market with multiple brands each with several balls, then consider what one company, A. G. Spalding & Bros., was offering in 1914. A Spalding advertisement in the September 1914 issue of Golf magazine (from the USGA’s Seagle library) offered readers “Large size balls,” either “light weight” or “heavy weight;” “Medium size balls,” again light or heavy weight; or “Small size balls,” this time “medium weight” or heavy. Each ball was designed for a particular group of players. For example, the small heavy ball was for “extreme distance…and for long players particularly,” the medium light ball was for “ladies and light hitters…,” while the large light ball was for “moderate hitters….” [Read more...]

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