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Help With Your Putting

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We’re back to four line poems with a focus on putting.

I’m sure that most of you have missed a putt and then later thrown down a second ball on the same spot and made that one. The poem below suggests a way to incorporate this experience into your putting routine.

Putting Help

To improve your putting without a doubt
And avoid the usual pain and chagrin
Pretend you’ve already putted and missed
Your “second try” will always go in.

Leon S White, PhD

With Father’s Day coming soon, let me suggest the most unexpected and entertaining gift you could select: One of my two soft-cover books, Golf Course of Rhymes – Links between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages or Opposite in Golf – Portrayed in Poetry as Opposed to Prose. Both are available on Amazon. Thanks for taking a look.

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Golf Secrets not Intel

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For the past four weeks I have posted four line poems. I plan to continue. However, since “secrets” are in the news, I thought I would interrupt the four line poems in favor of a poem that I wrote recently called “Golf Secrets.” 

GOLF SECRETS

Google “golf secrets” and what do you get?
Over 30 million sites to explore
All these “secrets” which are anything but
Guaranteed to lower your score!

Putting secrets, more than a few
Secrets that help with your short game as well
But why are all the experts who know them
So ready, willing  and eager to tell?

Full swing secrets are most numerous
And come in endless variety
Some intended to let you hit straighter
Others claiming to reduce anxiety. 

 The pros, I suppose, all believe in secrets
Untold thoughts that let them excel
Hogan kept his quiet the longest
Until semiretired he would not tell.

He finally did reveal his secret
In ’55 as Herb Wind reported
Not sure how many have understood
The details being descriptively contorted.

It may be that “secrets” is really a code word
A way of dressing up all those golf tips
Like calling a common seafood concoction
Something more esoteric than fish and chips.

But the problem is with all the secrets
That drowned us golfers from Jan to December
When out on a course and in need of help
We know there’s one, but just can’t remember.

Leon S White, PhD

(The “Herb Wind” referred to in the 5th stanza is Herbert Warren Wind, one of the top three golf writers of the 20th century. He wrote mostly for the New Yorker Magazine, but shifted to Sports Illustrated from 1954 -1960. Wind wrote at least one golf poem. Search under his name to find it and more information about Wind.)

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Par Four Golf Poems – 4: Gift Horse

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On this Blog, for the past three weeks, I have published four line golf poems with a similar characteristic: the last word of the third line is the same as the first word of the fourth line.

That’s Golf 

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

Reality 

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

Thoughts

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

I’ve written one more that is relevant but not limited to golf.

Gift Horse

When favored by luck
Don’t take a pass
Find the next step
Step on the gas.

Leon S White, PhD

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Par Four Golf Poems – 3: Thoughts

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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

Chapter 17 001

 

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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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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Golf, War and Freddie Tate

In my book Golf Course of Rhymes – Links between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages I devoted part of a chapter to golf related poems connected with World War I.  Since writing the book, I discovered a poem about Frederick Tate, a Scottish amateur golfer who lost his life in the Second Boer War. Tate was killed in action on February 7, 1900 at the age of 30.

During his brief amateur career, Freddie Tate, as he was called, won two Amateur Championships (1896, 1898) and twice placed third in the Open Championship (1896, 1897). And during that career he won the hearts of Scotland’s golfing public. Bernard Darwin wrote in his Sketchbook,

“In his day and in his own Scotland he was a national hero. I do not think I have ever seen any other golfer so adored by the crowd─no, not Harry Vardon or Bobby Jones in their primes. It was a tremendous and, to his adversaries, an almost terrifying popularity.”

So  the tremendous outpouring of grief  was not surprising when news of his death reached Great Britain. Little more than two weeks after his death, the February 23, 1900 issue of Golf Illustrated included a long “Appreciation” by the magazine’s Editor and the following  poem. Many more tributes followed.

    LIEUTENANT F.G. TAIT

(Killed at Koodoosberg, February, 1900)

Another hero from the fair-haired North
Add to the roll of those the boding strains
Of War ‘twixt Boer and Briton summoned forth
To shed their life blood on dark Afric’s plains.

There’s Golf where’er on earth sounds English tongue,
And where’er golfers meet, at rest or play,
Where champion feats at Golf are told or sung,
The name of Freddy Tait will live for aye.

We read his death, with eye perforce grown dim
For comrade snatched before us from the strife;
We mourn our loss, but should we mourn for him?
Could death more glorious crown a fairer life?

He died “with sword in hand for England’s right;”
Aye, this he did, and dying left behind,
‘Mong those who to the end will see this fight,
No better golfer, and no nobler mind.

As we salute our Veterans today, and much a Europe remembers World War I, golfers around the world might also want to remember the most famous and heroic Scottish amateur golfer, Freddie Tate.

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