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Women and Golf, 1914

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In the early 20th Century, for the most part, golf was a men’s game. One famous amateur golfer/writer of the times, Horace Hutchinson, went so far as to assert, “Constitutionally and physically women are unfitted for golf.” 

I recently came across a old golf book, Rhymes of a Duffer (1914), by Philip Q. Loring. Loring apparently was as odds with Hutchinson. At least he was willing to let a woman into the conversation:

So, I have to confess she was quite apropos
When
 the maiden remarked as she started to go;
“Excepting direction and distance, I’d say,
That drive was as good as I’ve seen today.”

 

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What’s Hot

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I’ve been away from the New England cold. Now I’m back and still focused on temperature.

What’s Hot that Matters

Golf Digest is out with its “hot list,” clubs that will not lag.
A list of drivers, irons and such, the hottest swinging sticks.
But my concern, at 82, is not with the heat of my bag;
It’s my internal heat that needs to remain at 98.6!

Leon S White, PhD

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He’s Back

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With all the pointless talk about what Tiger might or might not do now that he’s completed one tournament, I couldn’t resist chiming in.


He’s Back

The new golf season,
Starting kind of strange.
That incoming Hawaiian missile –
A Tiger launch from his driving range.

Leon S White, PhD

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Narin Golf Club – 1986

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I just looked at the clubhouse pictured on the Narin Golf Club’s website. It is much larger and more extensive than the one I remember from a family golf trip to Scotland in 1986. Then, if I remember correctly, it was just a single room with a long counter and an elderly proprietor to welcome us. This recollection inspired the four lines below. (Many of today’s golfers may find it hard to relate to the word picture I have drawn.)

Narin Golf Club, Scotland – 1986

The old proprietor ‘s greeting
On a windy cloudy day;
Nothing fancy, nothing false,
You couldn’t wait to play.

Leon S White, PhD

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The Agonies of Golfing

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Edgar A Guest, born in England in 1881, worked for the Detroit Free Press for more than 60 years. He was also a popular poet and a golfer. In part, he used his poetry to agonize over his inability to play better golf. In December 1921 Guest published a poem called “Golf Experience” in Golfers Magazine.  Here are a few excerpts.

I’ve golfed throughout another year,
Drifting snows will soon be here,
And now I view with discontent
This season that so soon was spent;
Once more I dubbed the whole year through,
Nor did I make an eighty-two.
……….
I blundered all through early June,
I could not use my trusty spoon,
But hope still stayed–ere summer fell
I knew I should be playing well
……….
August still found me keeping on
With scores unfit to look upon
……….
The same old dub that was am I,
I don’t improve howe’er I try;
Lessons and practice all in vain,
With me the hook or slice remain
But still to hope I fondly cling,
I know I’ll play the game next spring.

Proses can’t compete with poetry when it comes to extolling the agonies of playing the game and the never-ending hope of improvement.

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A Year Without Tiger

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Tiger Woods recently announced that he will return (again) to playing competitive golf. He has not played on the PGA Tour for almost a year. For those of us who have watched Tiger play for many years, this announcement is welcome. Maybe he will regain form and remind us of how great he was years ago.

But, for me, this year of golf with no Tiger was not often compelling.

Tiger Missing

Didn’t watch much golf this year
Not a lot to cheer about
Spieth had his moments, Thomas too;
But I missed Tiger -What about you?

Leon S White, PhD

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With Thanks to Richard Wilber

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Last year I published a book called Opposites in Golf. The 32 poems in the book were all based on the idea of taking a word (in my book the word was related to golf) and then going on a poetic search for its opposite. The idea was originated by the great American poet, Richard Wilber. Wilber passed away a few days ago at age 96. 

One of Wilber’s shortest opposites poem may also be one of his best,

What is the opposite of two?
A lonely me, a lonely you.

 In my book, I also included a two line poem,

What’s the opposite of flub?
To hit it flush with any club.

When I first began to write opposites poems, I sent a few to Mr. Wilber. He wrote back, “Tennis has always been my game …but I see enough golf … to understand you very well, and to know that a number of words like putt and tee are waiting to claim your attention.” And they did and here’s one of them,

What is the opposite of tea?
It’s coffee we would all agree.
But avid golfers might start yelling,
Insisting on a different spelling.

For them,

A tee is wooden; its top is round
To place a golf ball above ground.
Remove the tee and then alas,
A tee’s opposite must be grass.

May Mr. Wilber’s memory be an abiding blessing.

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Not With a Bang

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When asked at a President’s Cup press conference last week if he would play again, Tiger Woods responded, “I don’t know what my future holds.” Recently it was also reported that in his attempt at recovery he had gone beyond putting and was now hitting shots with his wedges. These reports led me to the following (with apologies to T.S. Eliot),

Not With a Bang

If Tiger is through,
Then so ends our riches –
Not with a bang,
But 60 yard pitches.

Leon S White, PhD

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Par The Last

Hole in One

Shakespeare wrote “All’s Well that Ends Well.” In psychology there is a precept called the “peak-end rule” which states that the way an experience ends determines the happiness we ascribe to it. In golf, the effect of the rule might be described as,

Par The Last

Bogey after bogey,
You’re failing the test,
Par the last hole . . .
And you forget the rest!

Leon S White, PhD

 

Please come back next week for another poetic observation on golf.

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Trapped

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How many times have you heard or read “It’s easy to get out of a trap” or “Bunker shots are easy.” Here is my view,

Trapped

If you’ve found that your ball
Came to rest in the sand;
Were the rules more obliging
You’d remove it by hand.

Leon S White, PhD

 

Hope you will come back next week for another break from the prose of golf.

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