I began writing golf twines (two line golf poems for Twitter) in November of 2009. Two line poems are formally called “couplets” and, of course, they have a long history in poetry.
For example, Shakespeare wrote : ”Double, double, toil and trouble;/ Fire burn and caldron bubble” which in read by the three witches in his play, Macbeth. (This is actually a golf twine now where Shakespeare is referring to Tiger’s scores on the 11th and 12th holes during the second round of the 2011 PGA Championship!)
I was hoping that my golf twines would catch on, and other Twitterers would write them as well. So far no such luck. But then I found William G. Van Tassel Sutphen, a Victorian-era fiction writer, editor of the original “Golf” magazine and author of The Golfer’s Alphabet, originally published in 1898. In The Golfer’s Alphabet, Van Tassel Sutphen wrote 27 golf twines, but he was just a little early for Twitter.
Sutphen, wrote a twine for each letter of the alphabet and added one more for the symbol “&”. His twines were illustrated by A. B. Frost. Frost (1851-1928), was considered one of the great illustrators in the “Golden Age of American Illustration”.
Below is an example:
The caption reads:
. I is for Iron that we play to perfection,
. So long as no bunker is in that direction.
And who says golf has changed!
Here are a few others from the book:
C is for Card, that began with a three,
And was torn into bits at the seventeenth tee.
H is for Hole that was easy in four,
And also for Hazard that made it six more.
N is the Niblick, retriever of blunders,
And now and again it accomplishes wonders.
W in a Whisper: “Between you and me,
I have just done the round in a pat 83.”
Sutphen’s book was reprinted in 1967 and is widely available on the net.