Golf Instruction With Illustrated Poetical Positions!




Fore, lads! Keep out o’ the line o’ fire,
And I’ll teach ye to drive a ba’,
That’ll flee to the clud, and fa’ wi’ a thud,
Twa hundred yards awa’.

Ye maunna (must not) be stridin’ your legs ower wide,
Like a puddock (frog), across the green,
Nor be haudin’ your elbows pinned to your side,
And lettin’ your nails be seen.

And dinna be bendin’ your chin to your knees,
At an angle o’ forty-five,
Nor wrigglin’, as if ye were treadin’ on peas:
Keep your energy a’ for your drive.

Fix your e’e on the gutta, stride fair, feet square,
Elbows free, gie (give) your back a bit thraw (a small turn)
Heel up; swing your club round the nape o’ your neck,
Whish, click, and the ba’s awa’!

The above, in a slightly different format, appears on page 503 of the Rev. John Kerr’s The Golf-Book of East Lothian published in Edinburgh in 1896. This is clearly an early example of illustrated golf instruction so common in today’s golf magazines and instruction books. But it is surely unique in its description of the three “poetical” positions. The poet was A. P. Aitken, D. Sc., lecturer on Agricultural Chemistry at the U. of Edinburgh and member of the Gullane Golfers, an East Lothian golf club formed in 1868.

Kerr’s book was the first to be written about a golfing area or club. Decent first edition copies are rare, often selling for well over $1000 when available. Joseph Murdoch points out in his book, The Library of Golf 1743-1966, that the first action pictures (not posed) appeared in How to Play Golf by H. J. Whigham published in Chicago in 1897.

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