Waiting for the Spring Opening of My Golf Course

Chapter 17 001


It is about this time of year that frustration sets in if you live in a cold climate area. Spring has arrived once again as an unplayable. Where I live in Massachusetts as I write this, snow still covers half of my backyard and probably half of the local golf course. The Golf Expo has come through town, the few golf emporiums than remain are beckoning with sales and I can still do no better than to practice putting in the playroom.

The poets understood the meaning of Spring to golfers who must wait out its first weeks until the temperatures rise. Clinton Scollard in an epic poem of some 90 stanzas may have said it best more than 90 years ago. In describing the travails of a novice golfer, he concludes with three stanzas that describe the golfer’s anticipation of his second season. (Suggestion: read the three stanzas out loud and slowly; don’t worry about a few strange words; and when you finish read it once more. I guarantee you will enjoy both readings, but especially the second.)

Yes, he can wait until the vernal chord
Softly smitten, and the umbered sward
     Quickens beneath the sun’s renewing fire.
And stripling Spring is Winter’s overlord.

 Then feel his feet the tempting turf once more,
While down the distance floats his ringing “fore!”
     And he is brother to the hale desire
That is of all reviving things the core.

 Others may catch the scattered scrap and shard
Of exultation, but to them is barred
     The keen elation that the Golfer knows
When Spring’s first ball is teed and driven hard.

These last two lines illustrate once again how a poet’s few carefully chosen words can speak so personally to every avid golfer:

     “The keen elation that the Golfer knows
 When Spring’s first ball is teed and driven hard.”

[Clinton Scollard was a prolific writer and poet. For eight years he was a professor of English literature at Hamilton College in New York. The poem (in three Cantos and an Envoy) appears in a book called The Epic of Golf published in 1923. The 17th chapter of my book, Golf Course of Rhymes – Links between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages includes more verses from Scollard’s poem and a description of the entire poem  ]


  1. The poetic expression is blissful 🙂
    Not only because it is beautiful written but also due to the fact that the thoughts, feelings and anxiety is mutual. Golfers and winters 😦

  2. Jim Dunlop says:

    On a related note it will soon be “Masters Week in Canada”

    There’s excitement in the air for golfers in the north,
    For in April courses open, and folk may sally forth
    To play on soggy fairways, among the leafless trees,
    Their hands and faces frozen by an Arctic breeze.

    Or we could be inside, all warm and dry and cosy,
    Exclaiming at the dogwoods pink and azaleas rosy,
    The emerald grass and bright blue sky and sand
    So white and fluffy, of fair Augusta in a southern land.

    Why should I brave the cold spring rain with other foolish souls?
    To have the pleasure dubious, of playing eighteen holes,
    With muscles stiff and fingers numb in a wretched ninety-seven
    When I could be watching masters play in Georgia’s golfing heaven?

  3. David Perrings says:

    i just came across your website via the article in the New York Times. Very nice suprise for today. In the past i have found a website the looked at the intersection of math and poetry. I enjoy stumbling upon poems that i like.

  4. ‘His feet tempting turf once more’. Words that sound like heaven to every golfer. Beautiful piece of poetry. Thank you for sharing.

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