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“Golf Dings A'”

This year  may not have been the greatest for golf, professional and otherwise, but it was a great year for golf poetry.  This Blog got more than 20,000 page views and the subject of golf poetry was featured in a May Wall St. Journal article.

Hopefully, 2011 will be an even bigger year with the publication of my book, Golf Course of Rhymes — Links Between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages, by Golfiana Press.

Some of the golf poetry of old was written by Scottish golfers who read or sung their poetry at club meetings. One of those golfers was David Jackson, Captain of the Thistle Golf Club, in Levin. He published his “songs and recitations” in a short book of 32 pages in 1886. Last August I wrote a Post that featured one of his poems. Jackson and the other club house poets wrote about golf with an enthusiasm, love and respect and a kind of innocence that was unique to that time. Jackson’s “Gouff Dings A'” loosely translated as “Golf Surpasses All” is a good example. Subtitled, “Sung at a Convivial Meeting,” here, to begin with, is the Chorus:

For Gouff dings a’, my boys, Gouff will aye ding a’
With joy we’ll swing our Clubs and Cleek, and drive the bounding Ba’;
Then over bunkers, braes (hills), and bent, we’ll gang (go) out twa (two) by twa,
With hearts elate and mind content–oh, Gouff dings a’.

And here are a few of the stanzas. Remember this was sung in the 1880’s:

Oh, hoo (how) are ye a’ the nicht (night), my friends? I hope I see ye weel (well),
Yer Clubs a’ in guid (good) order; yer Cleeks and Irons like steel.
I’ve just looked in for half-an-hour to ha’e a joke or twa
About our jolly game o’ Gouff–for Gouff dings a’.

…..Chorus

The Gouff belongs to Scotland, but its spreading sure and far;
You’ll find a Golfing-Course, my boys, wherever Scotsmen are;
In Africa,in India, in America, ’tis the same,
Australia and our Colonies pay homage to the game.

…..Chorus

King James the Fourth, he loved the game; but had to put it down,
In case his men forgot the way to fight for King and Crown.
No wonder that he banned it, boys–if a’ that’s said be true,
They played the game through a’ the week, and on the Sunday, too.

…..Chorus

I met a chap the other nicht, he was looking unco (strangely) blue;
Said I, “My boy, what can annoy a lively lad like you?”
“‘Tis a’ about the Golf,” he said, while tears ran ower his cheeks,
“The wife and I have had a row, and she’s burnt my Clubs and Cleeks.”

…..Chorus

Then, let us swell the mighty throng of Princes, Lords, and Kings
Who have enjoyed the game of Golf above all other things
And wish success to every one, let him be great or sma’,
Who loves the jolly game o’ Gouff–for Gouff dings a’.

So next Friday night when you “take a cup of kindness yet,/ for auld lang syne,” take one as well for  David Jackson and the game he describes so lovingly.

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Announcing Golfiana Press and its First Book

George Fullerton Carnegie, “The Poet Laureate of St. Andrews” in an earlier Post, collected several of his poems in a book he called “Golfiana – or Niceties Connected with the Game of Golf.” The book was first published privately in 1833. Carnegie dedicated his poetic effort to “Members of all Golfing Clubs, and to those of St. Andrews and North Berwick in particular.”

I am happy to announce the start of a new publishing venture,  Golfiana Press, which has been established to once again make gift books featuring historical golf poetry available to golfers everywhere. The first book to be published by Golfiana Press will be Golf Course of Rhymes – Links Between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages (Foreword by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.). Golf Course of Rhymes will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles mid-April, 2011. I will keep you up to date through this Blog and my Tweets.

Golf Course of Rhymes is laid out like a golf course. It begins with a Practice Tee (the Introduction); continues with 18 Holes (Chapters), each with a name that describes its content or theme; and ends at the19th Hole where the reader can relax after “playing” the course. Distinct from an anthology, a typical hole, in addition to humorous and poignant verses, includes stories and comments that put the poems in context.

The Course includes Holes with names such as “St. Andrews,” “Agonies and Frustrations,” “Great and Not So Great Moments,” “Golf Dreams” and “The Women’s Game.” The fanciful fairways and greens contain the works of more than 45 poets including Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, “the late Sheriff Logan,” Charles “Chick” Evans, Sarah Cleghorn, Grantland Rice and Ring Lardner. A majority of the 100 plus poems come from little known books and magazines published in America, England and Scotland before 1930.

Please stay tuned!

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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.

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