A Springtime Exchange Between a Golf Poet and his Editor

Robert K. Risk's book, Songs of the Links (1919), includes the following timely exchange between Risk, the golf poet, and and Garden G. Smith (1860-1913) the editor of Golf Illustrated, the British weekly, for many years and an important contributor to the literature of the game. (Risk's poem has been slightly shortened.)


Bid me write and I will write
Of club and ball and tee,
Trusting the matter I indite
Will be approved by thee.

Bid me to stay my pen and I
Will muzzle it with grace,
Regarding not impatiently
Regretted "lack of space."

But when you hint that I should do
Some verse concerning Spring,
That, I must frankly caution you,
Is quite another thing.

Although not disinclined to sing,
No poet can ignore
That all that can be sung of Spring
Has been well sung before.

Therefore, should I to platitude
And outworn phrase incline,
The brickbats thrown by readers rude
Are yours, dear sir, not mine.

In Spring we walk the daisied links
Where lively lambkins leap—
Too few of them, one sadly thinks,
Will ever grow to sheep.

In Spring a brighter glitter shines
On the well-burnished cleek,
But still we do 5-holes in 9's
Though playing thrice a week.

In Spring the chronic topper dreams
Of getting down to scratch,
Of being picked in all Club teams,
And winning every match.

In Spring we cease to argufy
About the "best-length hole,"
Which simply means the one that I
Enjoy—and you can't hole.


'Tis Spring that whets our appetite
For Three weeks' solid golf,
Though ere the third week is in sight
We shall be direly "off."

In Spring the poet is supposed
Keenly his lyre to tune;
But here these verses are foreclosed,
For I am off to Troon.

And here is the editor Garden G. Smith's response:



'Tis bitter sad the poets should
There work neglect for sport,
Wile Mr. Risk plays golf at Troon,
I am two verses short.

May bunkers trap his longest shots,
May rabbit holes annoy him;
And if this here occurs again
I'm blowed if I'll employ him.


  1. […] offered spring celebration golf poetry, see “Another Golf Season Begins” and “A Springtime Exchange . . .” To start this golf season I would like you to read (out-loud and slowly if possible and more […]

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