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Golfpoet.com’s Top Ten

First, I would like to thank all of you for supporting golf poetry by visiting golfpoet.com. We have passed the three year mark and you have registered more than 60,000 page visits. Together we have made golf poetry, mostly poems written before 1920, a little more visible to the golfers of today.

Response to the Blog also encouraged me to complete my book, Golf Course of Rhymes — Links between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages with a Foreword by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

The Blog now has more than 120 Posts. Of that number, I though it might be interesting to list the Top Ten at this point. They are as follows:

1.  Golf Ball Poetry

2.  A Golf Poem You Can Relate To

3.  Doug Sanders’ British Open Miss for the Ages

4.  An Old Golf Magazine and a Poem for Old Golfers

5.  Lying in Golf Poetry

6.  Golf Ball Poetry Continued

7.  If Johnny Cash Had Been a Golfer

8.  Attitudes Toward Women Golfers in the Early Days (Part 1)

9.  The Importance of Golf – A Sentimental View from the Past

10. Twines — Two Line Golf Poems from Twitter

If any of these titles look interesting, please take a look and enjoy.

Finally, I would encourage you to send links from this Post/ Blog to any of your golfing friends who might enjoy the experience a reciting golf poetry. Thanks.

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Golf Gods and Goddesses and a New Year Ode

Nobel Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman, in his best selling book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, includes the following formula:  Success = Talent + Luck. In golf, the player contributes the talent, but what about luck?

These days luck, good or bad, is often attributed to “the golf gods.” These gods go nameless and as far as I can tell influence the success of all golfers regardless of talent level. In a few cases, lapses in talent are also attributed to the golf gods: for example, from Golf.com in June 2011 — “[Tiger's] latest setback seems like the golf gods kicking a guy when he’s down.”

During earlier times, at least in Scotland, luck was the province of golf goddesses, not gods. We know this from the poetry of the time. From the first book solely about golf, The Goff, published first in 1743, the author, Thomas Mathison, pleads,

‘O thou GOLFINIA, Goddess of these plains,
Great Patroness of GOFF, indulge my strains;

A second goddess, Golfina, appears in John Kerr’s book, The Golf-Book of East Lothian (1896),

“Then, clad in white, and wearing a gutta-percha crown, tipped with golden balls, her sceptre a long spoon, entered the fair Golfina, Goddess of the Royal and Ancient Game, . . .”

The goddess Golfina is also the subject of a poem by Robert K. Risk that appeared in his book, Songs of the Links published in 1919.

       TO GOLFINA

A New Year Ode
Above the clubhouse portal
Crowned with green turf she stands,
Who gathers all men mortal
In sacrificial bands;
.        Her iron face is sweeter
.        Than Love’s, who fears to meet her,
.        To men who daily greet her
With supplicating hands.

She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born,
Who straight forget their mother,
Their sins, their wives forlorn;
.        Their food they swiftly swallow,
.        Take wing for her and follow
.        O’er hedge, and hill, and hollow,
Till eve from early morn.

Forgetting loves that wither,
Desks, Pulpits, Stocks, and Rings,
Forgetting bores who blither,
And all disastrous things;
.        We may have done some task illk
.        Been cheated by a rascal,
.        But let us tee a Haskell,
And debts and duns take wings.

Golfina may send sorrow—
Six down and five to play—
But we will win to-morrow,
Which is another day;
.        Though we have lost a fiver,
.        Or broken our pet driver
.        Golfina bates no stiver
The homage we must pay.

From enervated putting,
From topping on the tee,
Perpetual tut-tutting
At things which should not be,
.        Miscalculated pitches
.        That land us deep in ditches,
.        New golf-books that bewitch us,
Golfina, set us free!

I have not been able to determine the relationship between Golfinia and Golfina. Any ideas?

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