Frustration is a feeling that is familiar to all golfers. The following is a story of political frustration that spilled over to golf.
In England, starting in 1866, a women’s movement known as the suffragists began working for the vote. In 1903, a violent offshoot of this movement, called the “suffragettes,” instituted militant means to force the issue. One of their tactics was to destroy the turf at golf courses. It was reported in the May 1913 issue of The American Golfer “that if they could manage it, the ‘wild women,’ as they are being called, meant to do some considerable harm to the [Royal Liverpool Club] and interfere as far as they could with the success of what is expected to be the biggest championship meeting that has ever taken place.”
The article goes on to say that “in the emergency the club called on the villagers to assist them in the protection of the course… These efforts were successful and the 1913 Open Championship went off without any problems.”
An unknown poet provided an eight line remedy for this golf course terrorism in the April 1913 issue of The American Golfer.
When Suffragettes deface our greens
By various unlawful means,
What shall we golfers do to these
Clear is the answer in our rules,
Plain to be read by even fools:
“Replace the turf!” and why not let
It be above the Suffragette?
Sometimes you just can’t do better than a poem to make a point.