Golf Controversies

In two Posts earlier this year, “A Poetic Response to the Rise of Medal Play in 1912” and “More Match Play Poetry,” I wrote about the controversy regarding the switch to medal play that occurred around the turn of the 20th century. In the beginning players who competed on the basis of score were scorned. Apparently, the poetic upset with the “score-keeping man” goes back even earlier. Here are eight lines of derision written by Patrick O. Macdonald (he certainly had the right name). The verses appeared in the magazine Golf in 1898.

The Real Golfer plays his man,
And not a computation;
He licks his partner if he can,
And not the whole creation.

That wretched new score-keeping man,
Whose Golf’s a calculation:
Kick him, ye golfers, if you can,
He’s an abomination.

You may be aware that Jim Hyler, the new USGA president, is promoting more environmentally sustainable golf course maintenance practices. Maybe he should advocate a return to match play as well. Think of all the trees that would be saved from becoming score cards!

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