Match Play Golf Poetry

The Ryder Cup is a match play event. Several earlier Posts deal with match play poetically. For example, The Language of Match Play in 1504 and More Match Play Poetry. For others, go to the search box and enter “match play.”


A Poem for the Avid Golfer

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


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 110 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.


New Post Frequency

I have decided to add a new Post about every two weeks instead of weekly. With more than 90 poems on the Blog at this point, there is plenty to read (and recite). And to be honest, it is getting harder to find interesting old golf poems that I have not put in my book or on this Blog already. Also this fall I will be spending more time preparing my book manuscript for publication in 2011.

I want to thank all of you who visit the Blog from time to time. For those interested, the current Top Post is “Golf Ball Poetry.” Others high on the list include, “A Poem You Can Relate To,” “Attitudes Toward Women Golfers in the Early Days,” and “Lying in Golf Poetry.”

I will continue to announce new Posts on Twitter as well as publish Twitter Twines from time to time.

Look for the next new Post around September 20th. Thanks again for your interest.


The Rules of Golf

All of the recent golf rules violations inspired me to write the following poem:


The Rules of Golf are not to be broken;
Nevertheless, sometimes they are,
By Pros who should know when to invoke them,
Even when they are close to bizarre.

There are Rules for playing the ball as it lies,
And Rules that relate to the putting green,
Rules for a ball, moved, deflected or stopped,
And others related to “lift, place and clean.”

The Rule Book’s first subject, Etiquette,
Says bunker raking should be in your plans,
But that brings up a delicate subject:
What if no rake and the prints made by fans?

Remember that towel? An unneeded addition,
Placed on the ground somewhat in advance
Of a shot hit from a kneeling position,
For which Stadler got caught for “building a stance.”

And what of the famous scorecard debacle,
When De Vicenzo got himself in a jam.
Caught up in the moment, he missed the error,
His quote when informed, “What a stupid I am…”

After Inkster, call it the doughnut rule,
Which has nothing to do with bringing ’em.
But if you’re a Pro, waiting out a delay,
Better refrain from swinging ’em!

“Local” rules may also exist.
Just like the rest, they couldn’t be clearer,
Except when the Pros fail to peruse them,
Because they are posted on some bathroom mirror.

Surely the Pros know the rules in the Rule Book
Still they get DQ’ed for the craziest things.
The lastest poor Furyk, late for a Pro/Am
When his cell phone alarm logged zero rings!

Penalties are sometimes imposed by officials,
Walking along and right on the scene.
But now they are aided by enterprising viewers,
Vigilantes with Rule Books watching the screen.

Has all this complexity made the game better?
Maybe the Rules need some serious rethinking.
In the early days, thirteen were plenty,
A judicious review might lead to some shrinking!

Leon S White, PhD
September, 2010

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