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Par Four Golf Poems – 3: Thoughts

stand in awe

We continue this week with another four line poem, this one titled “Thoughts.” I’d be interested in yours after you read/recite it.

Thoughts

Game under water
Voices of dread
Running on empty
Empty your head.

Leon S White, PhD

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Par Four Golf Poems: The Reality of Golf

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This week’s four line poem (Par 4 poem) uses just 15 words to delineate the essence of golf.

Reality

To the first tee
With the driver you trust
Follow your plan
Plan to adjust.

Leon S White, PhD

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Par Four Golf Poems – 1

A. B. Frost

Those of you who are familiar with this blog and are reading it on your browser (and not as an email) know that you can scroll down to read other posts as well as this one. You can also use the information on the right of the screen to search and find other posts. I hope that many of you have the time to do this.

But being a realist, I know that often visitors have little time. With this in mind, I am launching a series of four line poems (I call them Par Four Golf Poems) for those of you who enjoy golf poetry, but have time constraints. For at least the next month, I will try to add one each week. Any comments would be appreciated.

Here is the first one:

That’s Golf

Step up to the ball
Stance just so wide
Swing with abandon
Abandon your pride.

Leon S White, PhD

 

 

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The Rules of Golf – A Reprise

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Earlier this year we learned that the USGA and the R & A are proposing a sweeping change in the Rules of Golf. Starting, I believe, in 2019, the current 34 Rules would be reduced to 24. I don’t claim that my poem (below) published in my eBook, If Only I Could Play That Hole Again (2013) had any influence on the decision. But I thought the poem was worth reprinting. I am particularly happy with what I wrote in the last stanza. 

THE RULES OF GOLF

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.
Remember 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

[The incident referred to in the third stanza (previously cited in an earlier Clerihew) was where in the 2010 PGA Championship Dustin Johnson was penalized for grounding his club in a bunker that did not appear to be a bunker. In the sixth stanza, Julie Inkster was disqualified for swinging a club weighted with a donut while waiting on a tee because of slow play ahead of her.]

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Games People Play

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I wrote these six line a while ago. The poem is included in my book, Golf Course of Rhymes – Links between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages (available on Amazon). 

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Golf is a game
To be played honestly
But not too seriously.

Politics is a game
To be played seriously

But not too honestly.

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A Little Golf

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

A LITTLE

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 117 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.

One caveat: For this New England golfer, in January even a little golf would be welcome.img-21

 

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A Golfer’s New Year’s Wish

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 A Golfer’s New Year’s Wish

                           That
       “One bad shot after another”
         Does not come to describe
              The next four years.

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To The Golf Professionals: Seasons Greetings for 2016

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The poem below is inspired by the annual Seasons Greetings poems that have appeared in the New Yorker magazine for so many years. I have wanted to write one as a kind of thank you to all the golf tour professionals, women and men, who provide us with so much entertainment and joy throughout the year.

Golf Seasons Greetings for 2016

As golf tours come to a momentary crawl,
It’s time once again for good wishes to all.
To send Seasons Greetings to every golf pro,
And a big cheer for Tiger rejoining the show.

A shout out to Jason, World’s number one,
No major this year but still having fun.
J. Walker it was that kept Day at zero,
The PGA Champ, a late blooming hero.
And since we are at it, lets lift up a glass,
To Henrik and Dustin, Champions at last.

And to Ko and Chun who both repeated,
While Brittany, Brooke, and Ariya were greeted
As first time winners, an impressive feat,
Taking home a Major, nothing as sweet.

Year-end cheers it would also seem,
Are proper and fitting for our Ryder Cup team.
Also a part of this year’s story,
Greetings to Jordan, Patrick and Rory.
And looking to England, let’s give a call
To Justin, Danny and Casey, that’s Paul.

To the ladies as well our greetings go.
Here’s to Michele, Minjee and Mo;
To Lexi, Jessica and Christy Kerr;
To Stacy, Angela, and Gerina Piller.

We’ve left out too many, but let them all know,
Our wishes for the Holidays and for scores that are low.

And now before closing we remember that swing,
Of a golfer who came to be known as the King,
An army of fans followed his game,
Now that he’s gone it won’t be the same.
It’s hard to believe, but soon will be clear,
When the first ball is hit at the Master’s next year.

He has joined a long list to which we pay heed,
Hogan, Jones, Nelson and Snead.
And great Europeans who also played,
Seve, Vardon, Taylor and Braid.

We close with a sense of appreciation for all
The golfers we watch spring, summer and fall.
Here’s wishing you happiness, health and good cheer
And golf that inspires us all of next year.

Leon S White, PhD

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A Sugarcoated Solution to Hitting it Wide

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In a growing number of U. S. cities, officials have convinced voters to approve a tax on sugary drinks, like those made by Coke and Pepsi. Excess sugar consumption is linked to a growing obesity epidemic  (especially in young people) by doctors, nutritionists and public health officials. These taxes are expected to reduce and temper the demand for sugary soft drinks.

All of this got me to thinking about new incentives that might help golfers improve. Here is what I came up with.

A Sugarcoated Solution to Hitting it Wide

Golf pros give tips to stop hitting it wide.
How often we’ve listened and then really tried;
But habits  persist, like a head full of lice,
Drives keep on hooking if they don’t slice.

Of late I’ve been reading how sugar is bad;
And sodas deliver more than a tad.
So voters are giving sodas the ax,
The solution straight forward, a sugary tax.

Now thinking again about slices and hooks
What can be done with these fairway crooks?
Maybe an answer that’s never been tried,
Have your pro slap a tax on balls that go wide.

Leon S White, PhD

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Robert H. K. Browning’s “The Pilgrims’ Progress” Revisited

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Robert Browning (1812-1889) was a famous English poet. Robert H. K. Browning (1884-1957) was a scholarly golf historian from Scotland who became prominent as the editor of Golfing, the premier British golfing periodical, from 1910 to 1955. H.K. Browning’s major claim to fame is his book, A History of Golf, which the late Herbert Warren Wind described as “…far and away the finest one-volume history of golf.”

Like his namesake, Browning was also wrote poetry, though he always weaved golf themes into his subject matter (as far as I know). However, has poetry did have standing. In an earlier Post (January 10,2011), I quoted what Samuel L. McKinlay, another noted Scottish golf writer, wrote in the Afterword to the Classics of Golf’s edition of Browning’s golf history book:

“One good critic thought Browning’s light verse among the best of his
generation, but it was so widely scattered a month different periodicals
as to defy any attempt at collection.”

McKinlay singled out “The Pilgrims’ Progress” as one of Brownings longest and best poems. McKinlay writes that the poem “describes in rhymed couplets the exploits of four London golfers who set out ‘to golf all August around the North.’” He then provides what he describes as “some lovely lines” from the poem:

Then off through Dirleton, cool and shady,
To Muirfield, Archerfield, Aberlady.
They golfed at Gullane, on ‘One’ and ‘Two’
The played Longniddry and Luffness New.

And at  St. Andrews, they

Laughed in the ‘Beardies’, despaired in ‘Hell’,
But played the first and the last quite well.

McKinlay, being a West of Scotland man, cites his favorite lines,

Troon and Prestwick — Only and ‘classy’
Bogside, Dundonald, Gailes, Barassie.

Since publishing these lines, I have searched the Internet from time to time in the vane hope of finding the intact poem. No luck. However, recently, totally by chance, I happened on a website called pasturegolf.com and there I found the following,

Troon and Prestwick — Old and “classy”
Bogside, Dundonald, Gailes, Barassie.
Prestwick St. Nicholas, Western Gailes,
St. Cuthbert, Portland — memory fails —
Troon Municipal (three links there)
Prestwick Municipal, Irvine, Ayr.
They faced the list with delighted smiles—
Sixteen courses within ten miles.

The eight line were described in the Blog as a “Local Scottish rhyme” with no mention of Browning. 

So in almost six years, I have now been able to add six lines. And though they clearly complete one section of the poem, we are still left with the task of searching for the remaining missing lines. If any one who reads this can help, please leave a comment. I will, of course, continue my search as well. 

I tell people that I do research in golf poetry and they laugh. My fun lasts longer.

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