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Games People Play

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I wrote these six line a while ago. The poem is included in my book, Golf Course of Rhymes – Links between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages (available on Amazon). 

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Golf is a game
To be played honestly
But not too seriously.

Politics is a game
To be played seriously

But not too honestly.

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A Little Golf

Here is a poem that should make any avid golfer smile and nod in agreement:

A LITTLE

A little learning so ’tis said,
Is dangerous for any head. 
A little wisdom, tipped with wit,
Will rarely fail to make a hit.
A little golf, ’twas said of late,
Will benefit the delicate.
At which some wise one had his fling:
“A little golf? There’s no such thing.”

Francis B. Keene.

For the avid golfer, the feelings expressed in these eight lines are easy to identify with. What might be surprising is that Francis Keene published this poem in the March 1900 issue of the magazine Golf.

Golf has change a lot in the last 117 years. No one will argue with that statement. But what the old poems featured in this Blog show, often with eloquence and wit, is that the feelings of a true golfer, who loves playing the game, have changed very little over time.

One caveat: For this New England golfer, in January even a little golf would be welcome.img-21

 

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A Golfer’s New Year’s Wish

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 A Golfer’s New Year’s Wish

                           That
       “One bad shot after another”
         Does not come to describe
              The next four years.

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To The Golf Professionals: Seasons Greetings for 2016

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The poem below is inspired by the annual Seasons Greetings poems that have appeared in the New Yorker magazine for so many years. I have wanted to write one as a kind of thank you to all the golf tour professionals, women and men, who provide us with so much entertainment and joy throughout the year.

Golf Seasons Greetings for 2016

As golf tours come to a momentary crawl,
It’s time once again for good wishes to all.
To send Seasons Greetings to every golf pro,
And a big cheer for Tiger rejoining the show.

A shout out to Jason, World’s number one,
No major this year but still having fun.
J. Walker it was that kept Day at zero,
The PGA Champ, a late blooming hero.
And since we are at it, lets lift up a glass,
To Henrik and Dustin, Champions at last.

And to Ko and Chun who both repeated,
While Brittany, Brooke, and Ariya were greeted
As first time winners, an impressive feat,
Taking home a Major, nothing as sweet.

Year-end cheers it would also seem,
Are proper and fitting for our Ryder Cup team.
Also a part of this year’s story,
Greetings to Jordan, Patrick and Rory.
And looking to England, let’s give a call
To Justin, Danny and Casey, that’s Paul.

To the ladies as well our greetings go.
Here’s to Michele, Minjee and Mo;
To Lexi, Jessica and Christy Kerr;
To Stacy, Angela, and Gerina Piller.

We’ve left out too many, but let them all know,
Our wishes for the Holidays and for scores that are low.

And now before closing we remember that swing,
Of a golfer who came to be known as the King,
An army of fans followed his game,
Now that he’s gone it won’t be the same.
It’s hard to believe, but soon will be clear,
When the first ball is hit at the Master’s next year.

He has joined a long list to which we pay heed,
Hogan, Jones, Nelson and Snead.
And great Europeans who also played,
Seve, Vardon, Taylor and Braid.

We close with a sense of appreciation for all
The golfers we watch spring, summer and fall.
Here’s wishing you happiness, health and good cheer
And golf that inspires us all of next year.

Leon S White, PhD

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A Sugarcoated Solution to Hitting it Wide

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In a growing number of U. S. cities, officials have convinced voters to approve a tax on sugary drinks, like those made by Coke and Pepsi. Excess sugar consumption is linked to a growing obesity epidemic  (especially in young people) by doctors, nutritionists and public health officials. These taxes are expected to reduce and temper the demand for sugary soft drinks.

All of this got me to thinking about new incentives that might help golfers improve. Here is what I came up with.

A Sugarcoated Solution to Hitting it Wide

Golf pros give tips to stop hitting it wide.
How often we’ve listened and then really tried;
But habits  persist, like a head full of lice,
Drives keep on hooking if they don’t slice.

Of late I’ve been reading how sugar is bad;
And sodas deliver more than a tad.
So voters are giving sodas the ax,
The solution straight forward, a sugary tax.

Now thinking again about slices and hooks
What can be done with these fairway crooks?
Maybe an answer that’s never been tried,
Have your pro slap a tax on balls that go wide.

Leon S White, PhD

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Robert H. K. Browning’s “The Pilgrims’ Progress” Revisited

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Robert Browning (1812-1889) was a famous English poet. Robert H. K. Browning (1884-1957) was a scholarly golf historian from Scotland who became prominent as the editor of Golfing, the premier British golfing periodical, from 1910 to 1955. H.K. Browning’s major claim to fame is his book, A History of Golf, which the late Herbert Warren Wind described as “…far and away the finest one-volume history of golf.”

Like his namesake, Browning was also wrote poetry, though he always weaved golf themes into his subject matter (as far as I know). However, has poetry did have standing. In an earlier Post (January 10,2011), I quoted what Samuel L. McKinlay, another noted Scottish golf writer, wrote in the Afterword to the Classics of Golf’s edition of Browning’s golf history book:

“One good critic thought Browning’s light verse among the best of his
generation, but it was so widely scattered a month different periodicals
as to defy any attempt at collection.”

McKinlay singled out “The Pilgrims’ Progress” as one of Brownings longest and best poems. McKinlay writes that the poem “describes in rhymed couplets the exploits of four London golfers who set out ‘to golf all August around the North.’” He then provides what he describes as “some lovely lines” from the poem:

Then off through Dirleton, cool and shady,
To Muirfield, Archerfield, Aberlady.
They golfed at Gullane, on ‘One’ and ‘Two’
The played Longniddry and Luffness New.

And at  St. Andrews, they

Laughed in the ‘Beardies’, despaired in ‘Hell’,
But played the first and the last quite well.

McKinlay, being a West of Scotland man, cites his favorite lines,

Troon and Prestwick — Only and ‘classy’
Bogside, Dundonald, Gailes, Barassie.

Since publishing these lines, I have searched the Internet from time to time in the vane hope of finding the intact poem. No luck. However, recently, totally by chance, I happened on a website called pasturegolf.com and there I found the following,

Troon and Prestwick — Old and “classy”
Bogside, Dundonald, Gailes, Barassie.
Prestwick St. Nicholas, Western Gailes,
St. Cuthbert, Portland — memory fails —
Troon Municipal (three links there)
Prestwick Municipal, Irvine, Ayr.
They faced the list with delighted smiles—
Sixteen courses within ten miles.

The eight line were described in the Blog as a “Local Scottish rhyme” with no mention of Browning. 

So in almost six years, I have now been able to add six lines. And though they clearly complete one section of the poem, we are still left with the task of searching for the remaining missing lines. If any one who reads this can help, please leave a comment. I will, of course, continue my search as well. 

I tell people that I do research in golf poetry and they laugh. My fun lasts longer.

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A Weighty Golf Observation

 

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As a avid golfer, I enjoy watching the pros on TV. Also as a retired healthcare professional with a long-time interest in lifestyle change, I observe the fans as well as the professionals. I was at the Deutsche Bank Championship last Saturday and felt compelled to put my thoughts to verse.

A Weighty Golf Observation

Does golfing make a golfer fat?
Bet no one’s ever thought of that.

But at each tourney ‘round every tee,
Heavy fans the majority.

We all know that golf breeds tension;
Could that alone cause waist extension?

Or is it just too much ball beating
That leads to all that carb overeating?

Could be the booze at 19th holes
That tallies untidy belly rolls.

But picking on duffers is really unfair;
Too many heavies everywhere.

Obesity’s become too big to ignore.
Solution as allusive as a lower golf score.

Still nothing done, no answers found,
Soon there’ll be less golfers around.

            Leon S White, PhD

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A Golf Poem: The Opposite of Cup

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Here is another poem from my new book Opposites in Golf – Portrayed in Poetry as Opposed to Prose.”

THE OPPOSITE OF CUP  

What is the opposite of cup?
Glass, an answer that might pop up.
But if the cup is on a green,
Though underground and so unseen,
It could be paired with holes of sand
Where errant balls are want to land.
Then cup’s opposite’s a clunker
Known to golfers as a bunker.

The previous two Posts (if you are on my website you can scroll down to see them) also offer poems from my new book. The book is available on Amazon.com worldwide. I hope you will have time to take a look. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

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Golfers: What’s the Opposite of Chip

Opposites in Golf – Portrayed in Poetry as Opposed to Prose, my new book, includes 32 poems about opposites in golf. It’s available on Amazon for $4.50 and makes a unique present for golfers with a sense of humor.

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THE OPPOSITE OF CHIP

Chips can be played with an iron club,
They can also be chopped from a tree.
There are lots of chips in Las Vegas
That are counted most carefully.

Chips are produced when plates are dropped,
Others by Frito Lay.
And someone once suggested that –
We let them fall where they may.

 When just off a green on a golf course,
It’s clear which chip is which.
It’s opposite is clear as well –
It has got to be a pitch!

 

 

            

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A Golf Poem from “Opposites in Golf”

A few months ago I  published a new book of 32 poems called Opposites in Golf – Portrayed in Poetry as Opposed to Prose. The inspiration for this collection came from several poetry books written by the Pulitzer Prize winning American poet, Richard Wilber. In his books, Mr. Wilber drew on examples from the entire English language. The poems I wrote focus on opposites related to common golf terms and expressions: fairway and rough, chip and pitch, draw and fade, etc. The idea behind the book was to give you, the reader, a unique hour of golfing entertainment. Createspace, a subsidiary of Amazon, published the book so it is available at Amazon books here and in Europe (and maybe beyond). The U.S. price is $4.50. The equivalent price in Great Britain and Euro-countries may now be slightly less.

In order to interest my Blog readers in the book, I have decided to offer a sampling of its contents starting with this post and continuing for several more. I have had a lot of fun writing these verses; now,I hope you will share that enjoyment as you read them.

 

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HOOKS AND SLICES

What is the opposite of hook?
Eye you say with a fishy look.
Fish reminds of hook and line,
Then bait’s the answer to assign.

 A hook is also a cager’s shot;
A jumper might oppose or not.
But with golf, what the duffer fears –
Get rid of a hook and a slice appears.

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