1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Golf
GOLF (in its older forms Goff, Gouff or Gowff, the last of which gives the genuine old pronunciation), a game which probably derives its name from the Ger. kolbe, a club—in Dutch, kolf—which last is nearly in sound identical and might suggest a Dutch origin, which many pictures and other witnesses further support.
History.—One of the most ancient and most interesting of the pictures in which the game is portrayed is the tailpiece to an illuminated Book of Hours made at Bruges at the beginning of the 16th century. The original is in the British Museum. The players, three in number, have but one club apiece. The heads of the clubs are steel or steel covered. They play with a ball each. That which gives this picture a peculiar interest over the many pictures of Dutch schools that portray the game in progress is that most of them show it on the ice, the putting being at a stake. In this Book of Hours they are putting at a hole in the turf, as in our modern golf. It is scarcely to be doubted that the game is of Dutch origin, and that it has been in favour since very early days. Further than that our knowledge does not go. The early Dutchmen played golf, they painted golf, but they did not write it.
It is uncertain at what date golf was introduced into Scotland, but in 1457 the popularity of the game had already become so great as seriously to interfere with the more important pursuit of archery. In March of that year the Scottish parliament "decreted and ordained that wapinshawingis be halden be the lordis and baronis spiritual and temporal, four times in the zeir; and that the fute-ball and golf be utterly cryit doun, and nocht usit; and that the bowe-merkis be maid at ilk paroche kirk a pair of buttis, and schuttin be usit ilk Sunday." Fourteen years afterwards, in May 1471, it was judged necessary to pass another act "anent wapenshawings," and in 1491 a final and evidently angry fulmination was issued on the general subject, with pains and penalties annexed. It runs thus— "Futeball and Golfe forbidden. Item, it is statut and ordainit that in na place of the realme there be usit fute-ball, golfe, or uther sik unprojilabill sportis," &c. This, be it noted, is an edict of James IV.; and it is not a little curious presently to find the monarch himself setting an ill example to his commons, by practice of this "unprofitabill sport," as is shown by various entries in the accounts of the lord high treasurer of Scotland (1503–1506).
About a century later, the game again appears on the surface of history, and it is quite as popular as before. In the year 1592 the town council of Edinburgh "ordanis proclamation to be made threw this burgh, that na inhabitants of the samyn be seen at ony pastymes within or without the toun, upoun the Sabboth day, sic as golfe, &c." The following year the edict was re-announced, but with the modification that the prohibition was "in tyme of sermons."
Golf has from old times been known in Scotland as "The Royal and Ancient Game of Goff." Though no doubt Scottish monarchs handled the club before him, James IV. is the first who figures formally in the golfing record. James V. was also very partial to the game distinctively known as "royal"; and there is some scrap of evidence to show that his daughter, the unhappy Mary Stuart, was a golfer. It was alleged by her enemies that, as showing her shameless indifference to the fate of her husband, a very few days after his murder, she "was seen playing golf and pallmall in the fields beside Seton." That her son, James VI. (afterwards James I. of England), was a golfer, tradition confidently asserts, though the evidence which connects him with the personal practice of the game is slight. Of the interest he took in it we have evidence in his act—already alluded to— "anent golfe ballis," prohibiting their importation, except under certain restrictions. Charles I. (as his brother Prince Henry had been) was devotedly attached to the game. Whilst engaged in it on the links of Leith, in 1642, the news reached him of the Irish rebellion of that year. He had not the equanimity to finish his match, but returned precipitately and in much agitation to Holyrood. Afterwards, while prisoner to the Scots army at Newcastle, he found his favourite diversion in "the royal game." "The King was nowhere treated with more honour than at Newcastle, as he himself confessed, both he and his train having liberty to go abroad and play at golf in the Shield Field, without the walls." Of his son, Charles II., as a golfer, nothing whatever is ascertained, but James II. was a known devotee, After the Restoration, James, then duke of York, was sent to Edinburgh in 1681/2 as commissioner of the king to parliament, and an historical monument of his prowess as a golfer remains there to this day in the "Golfer's Land," as it is still called, 77 Canongate. The duke having been challenged by two English noblemen of his suite, to play a match against them, for a very large stake, along with any Scotch ally he might select, chose as his partner one "Johne Patersone," shoemaker. The duke and the said Johne won easily, and half of the large stake the duke made over to his humble coadjutor, who therewith built himself the house mentioned above. In 1834 William IV. became patron of the St Andrews Golf Club (St Andrews being then, as now, the most famous seat of the game), and approved of its being styled "The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews." In 1837, as further proof of royal favour, he presented to it magnificent gold medal, which "should be challenged and played for annually"; and in 1838 the queen dowager, duchess of St Andrews, became patroness of the club, and presented to it a handsome gold medal—"The Royal Adelaide"—with a request that it should be worn by the captain, as president, on all public occasions. In June 1863 the prince of Wales (afterwards Edward VII.) signified his desire to become patron of the club, and in the following September was elected captain by acclamation. His engagements did not admit of his coming in person to undertake the duties of the office, but his brother Prince Leopold (the duke of Albany), having in 1876 done the club the honour to become its captain, twice visited the ancient city in that capacity.
In more recent days, golf has become increasingly popular in a much wider degree. In 1880 the man who travelled about England with a set of golf clubs was an object of some astonishment, almost of alarm, to his fellow-travellers. In those days the commonest of questions in regard to the game was, "You have to be a fine rider, do you not, to play golf?" so confounded was it in the popular mind with the game of polo. At Blackheath a few Scotsmen resident in London had long played golf. In 1864 the Royal North Devon Club was formed at Westward Ho, and this was the first of the seaside links discovered and laid out for golf in England. In 1869 the Royal Liverpool Club established itself in possession of the second English course of this quality at Hoylake, in Cheshire. A golf club was formed in connexion with the London Scottish Volunteers corps, which had its house on the Putney end of Wimbledon Common on Putney Heath; and, after making so much of a start, the progress of the game was slow, though steady, for many years. A few more clubs were formed; the numbers of golfers grew; but it could not be said that the game was yet in any sense popular in England. All at once, for no very obvious reason, the qualities of the ancient Scottish game seemed to strike home, and from that moment its popularity has been wonderfully and increasingly great. The English links that rose into most immediate favour was the fine course of the St George's Golf Club, near Sandwich, on the coast of Kent. To the London golfer it was the first course of the first class that was reasonably accessible, and the fact made something like an epoch in English golf. A very considerable increase, it is true, in the number of English golfers and English golf clubs had taken place before the discovery for golfing purposes of the links at Sandwich. Already there was a chain of links all round the coast, besides numerous inland courses; but since 1890 their increase has been extraordinary, and the number which has been formed in the colonies and abroad is very large also, so that in the Golfer's Year Book for 1906 a space of over 300 pages was allotted to the Club Directory alone, each page containing, on a rough average, six clubs. To compute the average membership of these clubs is very difficult. There is not a little overlapping, in the sense that a member of one club will often be a member of several others; but probably the average may be placed at something like 200 members for each club.
The immense amount of golf-playing that this denotes, the large industry in the making of clubs and balls, in the upkeep of links, in the actual work of club-carrying by the caddies, and in the instruction given by the professional class, is obvious. Golf has taken a strong hold on the affections of the people in many parts of Ireland, and the fashion for golf in England has reacted strongly on Scotland itself, the ancient home of the game, where since 1880 golfers have probably increased in the ratio of forty to one. Besides the industry that such a growth of the game denotes in the branches immediately connected with it, as mentioned above, there is to be taken into further account the visiting population that it brings to all lodging-houses and hotels within reach of a tolerable golf links, so that many a fishing village has risen into a moderate watering-place by virtue of no other attractions than those which are offered by its golf course. Therefore to the Briton, golf has developed from something of which he had a vague idea—as of "curling"—to something in the nature of an important business, a business that can make towns and has a considerable effect on the receipts of railway companies.
Moreover, ladies have learned to play golf. Although this is a crude and brief sentence, it does not state the fact too widely nor too forcibly, for though it is true that before 1885 many played on the short links of St Andrews, North Berwick, Westward Ho and elsewhere, still it was virtually unknown that they should play on the longer courses, which till then had been in the undisputed possession of the men. At many places women now have their separate links, at others they play on the same course as the men. But even where links are set apart for women, they are far different from the little courses that used to be assigned to them. They are links only a little less formidable in their bunkers, a little less varied in their features than those of men. The ladies have their annual championship, which they play on the long links of the men, sometimes on one, sometimes on another, but always on courses of the first quality, demanding the finest display of golfing skill. The claim that England made to a golfing fellowship with Scotland was conceded very strikingly by the admission of three English greens, first those of Hoylake and of Sandwich, and in 1909 Deal, into the exclusive list of the links on which the open championship of the game is decided. Before England had so fully assimilated Scotland's game this great annual contest was waged at St Andrews, Musselburgh and Prestwick in successive years. Now the ancient green of Musselburgh, somewhat worn out with length of hard and gallant service, and moreover, as a nine-holes course inadequately accommodating the numbers who compete in the championships to-day, has been superseded by the course at Muirfield as a championship arena. While golf had been making itself a force in the southern kingdom, the professional element—men who had learned the game from childhood, had become past-masters, were capable of giving instruction, and also of making clubs and balls and looking after the greens on which golf was played—had at first been taken from the northern side of the Border. But when golf had been started long enough in England for the little boys who were at first employed as "Caddies"—in carrying the players' clubs—to grow to sufficient strength to drive the ball as far as their masters, it was inevitable that out of the number who thus began to play in their boyhood some few should develop an exceptional talent for the game. This, in fact, actually happened, and English golfers, both of the amateur and the professional classes, have proved themselves so adept at Scotland's game, that the championships in either the Open or the Amateur competitions have been won more often by English than by Scottish players of late years. Probably in the United Kingdom to-day there are as many English as Scottish professional golf players, and their relative number is increasing.
Golf also "caught on," to use the American expression, in the United States. To the American of 1890 golf was largely an unknown thing. Since then, however, golf has become perhaps a greater factor in the life of the upper and upper-middle classes in the United States than it ever has been in England or Scotland. Golf to the English and the Scots meant only one among several of the sports and pastimes that take the man and the woman of the upper and upper-middle classes into the country and the fresh air. To the American of like status golf came as the one thing to take him out of his towns and give him a reason for exercise in the country. To-day golf has become an interest all over North America, but it is in the Eastern States that it has made most difference in the life of the classes with whom it has become fashionable. Westerners and Southerners found more excuses before the coming of golf for being in the open country air. It is in the Eastern States more especially that it has had so much influence in making the people live and take exercise out of doors. In a truly democratic spirit the American woman golfer plays on a perfect equality with the American man. She does not compete in the men's championships; she has championships of her own; but she plays, without question, on the same links. There is no suggestion of relegating her, as a certain cynical writer in the Badminton volume on golf described it, to a waste corner, a kind of "Jews' Quarter," of the links. And the Americans have taken up golf in the spirit of a sumptuous and opulent people, spending money on magnificent clubhouses beyond the finest dreams of the Englishman or the Scot. The greatest success achieved by any American golfer fell to the lot of Mr Walter Travis of the Garden City club, who in 1904 won the British amateur championship.
So much enthusiasm and so much golf in America have not failed to make their influence felt in the United Kingdom. Naturally and inevitably they have created a strong demand for professional instruction, both by example and by precept, and for professional advice and assistance in the laying-out and upkeep of the many new links that have been created in all parts of the States, sometimes out of the least promising material. By the offer of great prizes for exhibition matches, and of wages that are to the British rate on the scale of the dollar to the shilling, they have attracted many of the best Scottish and English professionals to pay them longer or shorter visits as the case may be, and thus a new opening has been created for the energies of the professional golfing class.
The Game.—The game of golf may be brieiiy defined as consisting in hitting the ball over a great extent of country, preferably of that sand-hill nature which is found by the sea-side, and finally hitting or "putting" it into a little hole of some 4 in. diameter cut in the turf. The place of the hole is commonly marked by a flag. Eighteen is the recognized number of these holes on a full course, and they are at varying distances apart, from 100 yds. up to anything between a ¼ and ½ m. For the various strokes required to achieve the hitting of the ball over the great hills, and finally putting it into the small hole, a number of different "clubs" has been devised to suit the different positions in which the ball may be found and the different directions in which it is wished to propel it. At the start for each hole the ball may be placed on a favourable position (e.g. "tee'd" on a small mound of sand) for striking it, but after that it may not be touched, except with the club, until it is hit into the next hole. A "full drive," as the farthest distance that the ball can be hit is called, is about 200 yds. in length, of which some three-fourths will be traversed in the air, and the rest by bounding or running over the ground. It is easily to be understood that when the ball is lying on the turf behind a tall sand-hill, or in a bunker, a differently-shaped club is required for raising itv over such an obstacle from that which is needed when it is placed on the tee to start with; and again, that another club is needed to strike the ball out of a cup or out of heavy grass. It is this variety that gives the game its charm. Each player plays with his own ball, with no interference from his opponent, and the object of each is to hit the ball from the starting-point into each successive hole in the fewest strokes. The player who at the end of the round (i.e. of the course of eighteen holes) has won the majority of the holes is the winner of the round; or the decision may be reached before the end of the round by one side gaining more holes than there remain to play. For instance, if one player be four holes to the good, and only three holes remain to be played, it is evident that the former must be the winner, for even if the latter win every remaining hole, he still must be one to the bad at the finish.
The British Amateur Championship is decided by a tournament in matches thus played, each defeated player retiring, and his opponent passing on into the next round. In the case of the Open Championship, and in most medal competitions, the scores are differently reckoned—each man's total score (irrespective of his relative merit at each hole) being reckoned at the finish against the total score of the other players in the competition. There is also a species of competition called "bogey" play, in which each man plays against a "bogey" score—a score fixed for each hole in the round before starting-and his position in the competition relatively to the other players is determined by the number of holes that he is to the good or to the bad of the "bogey" score at the end of the round. The player who is most holes to the good, or fewest holes to the bad, wins the competition. It may be mentioned incidentally that golf occupies the almost unique position of being the only sport in which even a single player can enjoy his game, his opponent in this event being "Colonel Bogey"—more often than not a redoubtable adversary.
The links which have been thought worthy, by reason of their geographical positions and their merits, of being the scenes on which the golf championships are fought out, are, as we have already said, three in Scotland—St Andrews, Prestwick and Muiriield—and three in Englgand—Hoylake, Sandwich and Deal. This brief list is very far from being complete as regards links of first-class quality in Great Britain. Besides those named, there are in Scotland—Carnoustie, North Berwick, Cruden Bay, Nairn, Aberdeen, Dornoch, Troon, Machrihanish, South Uist, Islay, Gullane, Luffness and many more. In England there are—Westward Ho, Bembridge, Littlestone, Great Yarmouth, Brancaster, Seaton Carew, Formby, Lytham, Harlech, Burnham, among the seaside ones; while of the inland, some of them of very fine quality, we cannot even attempt a selection, so large is their number and so variously estimated their comparative merits. Ireland has Portrush, Newcastle, Portsalon, Dollymount and many more of the first class; and there are excellent courses in the Isle of Man. In America many fine courses have been constructed. There is not a British colony of any standing that is without its golf course—Australia, India, South Africa, all have their golf championships, which are keenly contested. Canada has had courses at Quebec and Montreal for many years, and the Calcutta Golf Club, curiously enough, is the oldest established (next to the Blackheath Club), the next oldest being the club at Pau in the Basses-Pyrénées.
The Open' Championship of golf was started in 1860 by the Prestwick Club giving a belt to be played for annually under the condition that it should become the property of any who could win it thrice in succession. The following is the list of the champions:-
|1860.||W. Park, Musselburgh||174—at Prestwick.|
|1861.||Tom Morris, sen., Prestwick||163—at Prestwick.|
|1862.||Tom Morris, sen., Prestwick||163—at Prestwick.|
|1863.||W. Park, Musselburgh||168—at Prestwick.|
|1864.||Tom Morris, sen., Prestwick||160—at Prestwick.|
|1865.||A. Strath, St Andrews||162—at Prestwick.|
|1866.||W. Park, Musselburgh||169—at Prestwick.|
|1867.||Tom Morris, sen., St Andrews||170—at Prestwick.|
|1868.||Tom Morris, jun., St Andrews||154—at Prestwick.|
|1869.||Tom Morris, jun., St Andrews||157—at Prestwick.|
|1870.||Tom Morris, jun., St Andrews||149—at Prestwick.|
Tom Morris, junior, thus won the belt finally, according to the conditions. In 1871 there was no competition; but by 1872 the three clubs of St Andrews, Prestwick and Musselburgh had subscribed for a cup which should be played for over the course of each subscribing club successively, but should never become the property of the winner. In later years the course at Muirfield was substituted for that at Musselburgh, and Hoylake and Sandwich were admitted into the list of championship courses. Up to 1891, inclusive, the play of two rounds, or thirty-six holes, determined the championship. but from 1892 the result has been determined by the play of 72 holes. After the interregnum of 1871, the following were the champions:—
|1872.||Tom Morris, jun., St Andrews||166—at Prestwick.|
|1873.||Tom Kidd, St Andrews||179—at St Andrews.|
|1874.||Mungo Park, Musselburgh||159—at Musselburgh.|
|1875.||Willie Park, Musselburgh||166—at Prestwick.|
|1876.||Bob Martin, St Andrews||176—at St Andrews.|
|1877.||Jamie Anderson, St Andrews||160—at Musselburgh.|
|1878.||Jamie Anderson, St Andrews||157—at Prestwick.|
|1879.||Jamie Anderson, St Andrews||170—at St Andrews.|
|1880.||Bob Fergusson, Musselburgh||162—at Musselburgh.|
|1881.||Bob Fergusson, Musselburgh||170—at Prestwick.|
|1882.||Bob Fergusson, Musselburgh||171—at St Andrews.|
|1883.||W. Fernie, Dumfries||159—at Musselburgh.|
|1884.||Jack Simpson, Carnoustie||160—at Prestwick.|
|1885.||Bob Martin, St Andrews||171—at St Andrews.|
|1886.||D. Brown, Musselburgh||157—at Musselburgh.|
|1887.||Willie Park, jun., Musselburgh||161—at Prestwick.|
|1888.||Jack Burns, Warwick||171—at St Andrews.|
|1889.||Willie Park, jun., Musselburgh||155—at Musselburgh.|
|1890.||Mr John Ball, jun., Hoylake||164—at Prestwick.|
|1891.||Hugh Kirkaldy, St Andrews||166—at St Andrews.|
|1892.||Mr H. H. Hilton, Hoylake||305—at Muirfield.|
|1893.||W. Auchterlonie, St Andrews||322—at Prestwick.|
|1894.||J. H. Taylor, Winchester||326—at Sandwich.|
|1895.||J. H. Taylor, Winchester||322—at St Andrews.|
|1896.||H. Vardon, Scarborough||316—at Muirfield.|
|1897.||Mr H. H. Hilton, Hoylake||314—at Hoylake.|
|1898.||H. Vardon, Scarborough||307—at Prestwick.|
|1899.||H. Vardon, Scarborough||310—at Sandwich.|
|1900.||J. H. Taylor, Richmond||309—at St Andrews.|
|1901.||J. Braid, Romford||309—at Muirfield.|
|1902.||A. Herd, Huddersfield||307—at Hoylake.|
|1903.||H. Vardon, Ganton||300—at Prestwick.|
|1904.||J. White, Sunningdale||296—at Sandwich.|
|1905.||J. Braid, Walton Heath||318—at St Andrews.|
|1906.||J. Braid, Walton Heath||300—at Muirfield.|
|1907.||Arnaud Massey, La Boulie||312—at Hoylake.|
|1908.||J. Braid, Walton Heath||291—at Prestwick.|
|1909.||J. H. Taylor, Richmond||295—at Deal.|
|1910.||J. Braid, Walton Heath||298—at St Andrews.|
The Amateur Championship is of far more recent institution
|1886.||Mr Horace Hutchinson||at St Andrews.|
|1887.||Mr Horace Hutchinson||at Hoylake.|
|1888.||Mr John Ball||at Prestwick.|
|1889.||Mr J. E. Laidlay||at St Andrews.|
|1890.||Mr John Ball||at Hoylake.|
|1891.||Mr J. E. Laidlay||at St Andrews.|
|1892.||Mr John Ball||at Sandwich.|
|1893.||Mr P. Anderson||at Prestwick.|
|1894.||Mr John Ball||at Hoylake.|
|1895.||Mr L. Balfour-Melville||at St Andrews.|
|1896.||Mr F. G. Tait||at Sandwich.|
|1897.||Mr J. T. Allan||at Muirfield.|
|1898.||Mr John Ball||at Prestwick.|
|1899.||Mr F. G. Tait||at Hoylake.|
|1900.||Mr H. H. Hilton||at Sandwich.|
|1901.||Mr H. H. Hilton||at St Andrews.|
|1902.||Mr C. Hutchings||at Hoylake.|
|1903.||Mr R. Maxwell||at Muirfield.|
|1904.||Mr W. J. Travis||at Sandwich.|
|1905.||Mr A. G. Barry||at St Andrews.|
|1906.||Mr J. Robb||at Hoylake.|
|1907.||Mr John Ball||at St Andrews.|
|1908.||Mr E. A. Lassen||at Sandwich.|
|1909.||Mr Robert Maxwell||at Muirfield.|
|1910.||Mr John Ball||at Hoylake.|
The Ladies' Championship was started in 1893.
|1893.||Lady M. Scott||at St Annes.|
|1894.||Lady M. Scott||at Littlestone.|
|1895.||Lady M. Scott||at Portrush.|
|1896.||Miss A. B. Pascoe||at Hoylake.|
|1897.||Miss E. C. Orr||at Gullane.|
|1898.||Miss L. Thompson||at Yarmouth.|
|1899.||Miss M. Hezlet||at Newcastle.|
|1900.||Miss R. K. Adair||at Westward Ho.|
|1901.||Miss M. A. Graham||at Aberdovy.|
|1902.||Miss M. Hezlet||at Deal.|
|1903.||Miss R. K. Adair||at Portrush.|
|1904.||Miss L. Dod||at Troon.|
|1905.||Miss B. Thompson||at Cromer.|
|1906.||Mrs Kennion||at Burnham.|
|1907.||Miss M. Hezlet||at Newcastle (Co. Down).|
|1908.||Miss M. Titterton||at St Andrews.|
|1909.||Miss D. Campbell||at Birkdale.|
|1910.||Miss Grant Suttie||at Westward Ho.|
There have been some slight changes of detail and arrangement as time has gone on, in the rules of the game (the latest edition of the Rules should be consulted). A new class of golfer has arisen, requiring a code of rules framed rather more exactly than the older code. The Scottish golfer, who was "teethed" on a golf club, as Mr Andrew Lang has described it, imbibed all the traditions of the game with his natural sustenance. Very few rules sufficed for him. But when the Englishman, and still more the American (less in touch with the traditions), began to play golf as a new game, then they began to ask for a code of rules that should be lucid and illuminating on every point—an ideal perhaps impossible to realize. It was found, at least, that the code put forward by the Royal and Ancient Club of St Andrews did not realize it adequately. Nevertheless the new golfers were very loyal indeed to the club that had ever of old held, by tacit consent, the position of fount of golfing legislation. The Royal and Ancient Club was appealed to by English golfers to step into the place, analogous to that of the Marylebone Cricket Club in cricket, that they were both willing and anxious to give it. It was a place that the Club at St Andrews did not in the least wish to occupy, but the honour was thrust so insistently upon it, that there was no declining. The latest effort to meet the demands for some more satisfactory legislation on the thousand and one points that continually must arise for decision in course of playing a game of such variety as golf, consists of the appointment of a standing committee, called the "Rules of Golf Committee." Its members all belong to the Royal and Ancient Club; but since this club draws its membership from all parts of the United Kingdom, this restriction is quite consistent with a very general representation of the views of north, south, east and west—from Westward Ho and Sandwich to Dornoch, and all the many first-rate links of Ireland—on the committee. Ireland has, indeed, some of the best links in the kingdom, and yields to neither Scotland nor England in enthusiasm for the game. This committee, after a general revision of the rules into the form in which they now stand, consider every month, either by meeting or by correspondence, the questions that are sent up to it by clubs or by individuals; and the committee's answers to these questions have the force of law until they have come before the next general meeting of the Royal and Ancient Club at St Andrews, which may confirm or may reject them at will. The ladies of Great Britain manage otherwise. They have a Golfing Union which settles questions for them; but since this union itself accepts as binding the answers given by the Rules of Golf Committee, they really arrive at the same conclusions by a slightly different path. Nor does the American Union, governing the play of men and women alike in the States, really act differently. The Americans naturally reserve to themselves freedom to make their own rules, but in practice they conform to the legislation of Scotland, with the exception of a more drastic definition of the status of the amateur player, and certain differences as to the clubs used.
A considerable modification has been effected in the implements of the game. The tendency of the modern wooden clubs is to be short in the head as compared with the clubs of, say, 1880 or 1885. The advantage claimed (probably with justice) for this shape is that it masses the weight behind the point on which the ball is struck. Better material in the wood of the club is a consequence of the increased demand for these articles and the increased competition among their makers! Whereas under the old conditions a few workers at the few greens then in existence were enough to supply the golfing wants, now there is a very large industry in golf club and ball making, which not only employs workers in the local club-makers' shops all the kingdom over, but is an important branch of the commerce of the stores and of the big athletic outfitters, both in Great Britain and in the United States. By far the largest modification in the game since the change to gutta-percha balls from balls of leather-covering stuffed with feathers, is due to the American invention of the india-rubber cased balls. Practically it is as an American invention that it is still regarded, although the British law courts decided, after a lengthy trial (1905), that there had been "prior users" of the principle of the balls' manufacture, and therefore that the patent of Mr Haskell, by whose name the first balls of the kind were called, was not good. It is singular to remark that in the first introduction of the gutta-percha balls, superseding the leather and feather compositions, they also were called by the name of their first maker, "Gourlay." The general mode of manufacture of the rubber-cored ball, which is now everywhere in use, is interiorly, a hard core of gutta-percha or some other such substance; round this is wound, by machinery, india-rubber thread or strips at a high tension, and over all is an outer coat of gutta-percha. Some makers have tried to dispense with the kernel of hard substance, or to substitute for it kernels of some fluid or gelatinous substance, but in general the above is a sufficient, though rough, description of the mode of making all these balls. Their superiority over the solid gutta-percha lies in their superior resiliency. The effect is that they go much more lightly off the club. It is not so much in the tee-shots that this superiority is observed, as in the second shots, when the ball is lying badly; balls of the rubber cored kind, with their greater liveliness, are more easy to raise in the air from a lie of this kind. They also go remarkably well off the iron clubs, and thus make the game easier by placing the player within an iron shot of the hole at a distance at which he would have to use a wooden club if he were playing with a solid gutta-percha ball. They also tend to make the game more easy by the fact that if they are at all mis-hit they go much better than a gutta-percha ball similarly inaccurately struck. As a slight set-off against these qualities, the ball, because of the greater liveliness, is not quite so good for the short game as the solid ball; but on the whole its advantages distinctly overbalance its disadvantages.
When these balls were first put on the market they were sold at two shillings each and even, when the supply was quite unequal to the demand, at a greater deal higher price, rising to as much as a guinea a ball. But the normal price, until about a year after the decision in the British courts of law affirming that there was no patent in the balls, was always two shillings for the best quality of ball. Subsequently there was a reduction down to one shilling for the balls made by many of the manufacturing companies, though in 1910 the rise in the price of rubber sent up the cost. The rubber-cored ball does not go out of shape so quickly as the gutta-percha solid ball and does not show other marks of ill-usage with the club so obviously. It has had the effect of making the game a good deal easier for the second- and third-class players, favouring especially those who were short drivers with the old gutta-percha ball. To the best players it has made the least difference, nevertheless those who were best with the old ball are also best with the new; its effect has merely been to bring the second, third and fourth best closer to each other and to the best.
Incidentally, the question of the expense of the game has been touched on in this notice of the new balls. There is no doubt that the balls themselves tend to a greater economy, not only because of their own superior durability but also because, as a consequence of their greater resiliency, they are not nearly so hard on the clubs, and the clubs themselves being perhaps made of better material than used to be given to their manufacture, the total effect is that a man's necessary annual expenditure on them is very small indeed even though he plays pretty constantly. Four or five rounds are not more than the average of golfers will make an india-rubber cored ball last them, so that the outlay on the weapons is very moderate. On the other hand the expenditure of the clubs on their courses has increased and tends to increase. Demands are more insistent than they used to be for a well kept course, for perfectly mown greens, renewed teeing grounds and so on, and probably the modern golfer is a good deal more luxurious in his clubhouse wants than his father used to be. This means a big staff of servants and workers on the green, and to meet this a rather heavy subscription is required. Such a subscription as five guineas added to a ten or fifteen guinea entrance fee is not uncommon, and even this is very moderate compared with the subscriptions to some of the clubs in the United States, where a hundred dollars a year, or twenty pounds of our money, is not unusual. But on the whole golf is a very economical pastime, as compared with almost any other sport or pastime which engages the attention of Britons, and it is a pastime for all the year round, and for all the life of a man or woman.
Glossary of Technical Terms used in the Game.
Addressing the Ball.—Putting oneself in position to strike the ball.
All Square.—Term used to express that the score stands level, neither side being a hole up.
Baff.—To strike the ground with the club when playing, and so loft the ball unduly.
Baffy.—A short wooden club, with laid-back face, for lofting shots.
Bogey.—The number of strokes which a good average player should take to each hole. This imaginary player is usually known as "Colonel Bogey," and plays a fine game.
Brassy.—A wooden club with a brass sole.
Bulger.—A driver in which the face "bulges" into a convex shape. The head is shorter than in the older-fashioned driver.
Bye.—The holes remaining after one side has become more holes up than remain for play.
Caddie.—The person who carries the clubs. Diminutive of "cad"; cf. laddie (from Fr. cadet).
Cleek.—The iron-headed club that is capable of the farthest drive of any of the clubs with iron heads.
Cup.—A depression in the ground causing the ball to lie badly.
Dead.—-A ball is said to be "dead" when so near the hole that the putting it in in the next stroke is a "dead" certainty. A ball is said to "fall dead" when it pitches with hardly any run.
Divot.—A piece of turf cut out in the act of playing, which, be it noted, should always be replaced before the player moves on.
Dormy.—One side is said to be "dormy" when it is as many holes to the good as remain to be played—so that it cannot be beaten.
Driver.—The longest driving club, used when the ball lies very well and a long shot is needed.
Foozle.—Any very badly missed or bungled stroke.
"Fore!"—A cry of warning to people in front.
Foursome.—A match in which four persons engage, two on each side playing alternately with the same ball.
Green.—(a) The links as a whole; (b) the “putting-greens” around the holes.
Grip.—(a) The part of the club-shaft which is held in the hands while playing; (b) the grasp itself—e.g. “a firm grip,” “a loose grip,” are common expressions.
Half-Shot.—A shot played with something less than a full swing.
Halved.—A hole is “halved” when both sides have played it in the same number of strokes. A round is “halved” when each side has won and lost the same number of holes.
Handicap.—The strokes which a player receives either in match play or competition.
Hanging.—Said of a ball that lies on a slope inclining downwards in regard to the direction in which it is wished to drive.
Hazard.—A general term for bunker, whin, long grass, roads and all kinds of bad ground.
Heel.—To hit the ball on the “heel” of the club, i.e. the part of the face nearest the shaft, and so send the ball to the right, with the same result as from a slice.
Honour.—The privilege (which its holder is not at liberty to decline) of striking off first from the tee.
Iron.—An iron-headed club intermediate between the cleek and lofting mashie. There are driving irons and lofting irons according to the purposes for which they are intended.
Lie.—(a) The angle of the club-head with the shaft (e.g. a "flat lie," "an upright lie"); (b) the position of the ball on the ground (e.g. "a good lie," "a bad lie"”).
Like, The.—The stroke which makes the player’s score equal to his opponent’s in course of playing a hole.
Like-as-we-Lie.—Said when both sides have played the same number of strokes.
Line.—The direction in which the hole towards which the player is progressing lies with reference to the present position of his ball.
Mashie.—An iron club with a short head. The lofting mashie has the blade much laid back, for playing a short lofting shot. The driving mashie has the blade less laid back, and is used for longer, less lofted shots.
Match-Play.—Play in which the score is reckoned by holes won and lost.
Medal-Play.—Play in which the score is reckoned by the total of strokes taken on the round.
Niblick.—A short stiff club with a short, laid back, iron head, used for getting the ball out of a very bad lie.
Odd, The.—A stroke more than the opponent has played.
Press.—To strive to hit harder than you can hit with accuracy.
Pull.—To hit the ball with a pulling movement of the club, so as to make it curve to the left.
Putt.—To play the short strokes near the hole (pronounced as in "but").
Putter.—The club used for playing the short strokes near the hole. Some have a wooden head, some an iron head. Rub-of-the-Green.—Any chance deflection that the ball receives as it goes along.
Run Up.—To send the ball low and close to the ground in approaching the hole—opposite to lofting it up.
Scratch Player.—Player who receives no odds in handicap competitions.
Slice.—To hit the ball with a cut across it, so that it flies curving to the right.
Stance.—(a) The place on which the player has to stand when playing—e.g. "a bad stance," "a good stance," are common expressions; (b) the position relative to each other of the player's feet.
Stymie.—When one ball lies in a straight line between another and the hole the first is said to "stymie," or "to be a stymie to" the other—from an old Scottish word given by Jamieson to mean "the faintest form of anything." The idea probably was, the "stymie" only left you the "faintest form" of the hole to aim at.
Tee.—The little mound of sand on which the ball is generally placed for the first drive to each hole.
Teeing-Ground.—The place marked as the limit, outside of which it is not permitted to drive the ball off. This marked-out ground is also sometimes called "the tee."
Top.—To hit the ball above the centre, so that it does not rise much from the ground.
Up.—A player is said to be "one up," "two up," &c., when he is so many holes to the good of his opponent.
Wrist-Shot.—A shot less in length than a half-shot, but longer than a putt.
Bibliography.—The literature of the game has grown to some considerable bulk. For many years it was practically comprised in the fine work by Mr Robert Clark, Golf: A Royal and Ancient Game, together with two handbooks on the game by Mr Chambers and by Mr Forgan respectively, and the Golfiana Miscellanea of Mr Stewart. A small book by Mr Horace Hutchinson, named Hints on Golf, was very shortly followed by a much more important work by Sir Walter Simpson, Bart., called The Art of Golf, a title which sufficiently explains itself. The Badminton Library book on Golf attempted to collect into one volume the most interesting historical facts known about the game, with obiter dicta and advice to learners, and, on similar didactic lines, books have been written by Mr H. C. S. Everard, Mr Garden Smith and W. Park, the professional player. Mr H. J. Whigham, sometime amateur champion golfer of the United States, has given us a book about the game in that country. The Book of Golf and Golfers, compiled, with assistance, by Mr Horace Hutchinson, is in the first place a picture-gallery of famous golfers in their respective attitudes of play. Taylor, Vardon and Braid have each contributed a volume of instruction, and Mr G. W. Beldam has published a book with admirable photographs of players in action, called Great Golfers: their Methods at a Glance. A work intended for the use of green committees is among the volumes of the Country Life Library of Sport. Much interesting lore is contained in the Golfing Annual, in the Golfer's Year Book and in the pages of Golf, which has now become Golf Illustrated, a weekly paper devoted to the game. Among works that have primarily a local interest, but yet contain much of historical value about the game, may be cited the Golf Book of East Lothian, by the Rev. John Kerr, and the Chronicle of Blackheath Golfers, by Mr W. E. Hughes. (H. G. H.)
- 1 From an enactment of James VI. (then James I. of England), bearing date 1618, we find that a considerable importation of golf balls at that time took place from Holland, and as thereby "na small quantities of gold and silver is transported zierly out of his Hienes' kingdome of Scoteland" (see letter of His Majesty from Salisbury, the 5th of August 1618), he issues a royal prohibition, at once as a wise economy of the national moneys, and a protection to native industry in the article. From this it might almost seem that the game was at that date still known and practised in Holland.
- Records of the City of Edinburgh.
- Inventories of Mary Queen of Scots, preface, p. lxx. (1863).
- Anonymous author of MS. in the Harleian Library.
- See History of Leith, by A. Campbell (1827).
- Local Records of Northumberland, by John Sykes (Newcastle, 1833).
- Robertson's Historical Notices of Leith.