"The game is a leveler of rank and station. King and commoner, noble and peasant, played on equal terms in days gone by, and rich and poor, clever and dull, are "like as they lie " when matched in skill."
The origin of the royal and ancient game of Golf is lost in obscurity. Whether it was an evolution from the kindred games of Kolf, Hockey, or Jen de Mail, whether developed in Scotland or carried thither from Holland , may never be definitely ascertained. Its record is woven into Scottish history, legislation, and literature from the beginning of recorded time. More than four hundred years ago it was a popular game in Scotland, and archery, the necessary training for the soldier, so languished in competition with it that, by the stern ordinance of Parliament and royal decree, it was proclaimed "that the fut ball and golf be utterly cryit doun and nocht usit." But although forbidden to the people, it was a favorite royal pastime. King James played it with Bothwell in 1553, and the royal accounts show that he had money on the game; Queen Mary played it after the death of Darnley, perhaps as a solace in her widowhood; James VI., an early protectionist, laid a heavy tariff on golf balls from Holland, and gave a monopoly of ball-making at four shillings each ball to a favorite. The great Marquis of Montrose played at St. Andrews and Leith Links, and was lavish in his expenditure for golf-balls, clubs, and caddies. The news of the Irish Rebellion came to Charles I. while playing a match at Leith. James II, when Duke of York, won a foursome, with an Edinburgh shoemaker as a partner, against two Englishmen; the shoemaker built a house in the Canongate with his share of the stakes, and, in order to commemorate the origin of his fortunes, placed on its walls as escutcheon a hand dexter grasping a club, with the motto, “Far and Sure.” John Porteous, of the “Heart of Midlothian,” Duncan Forbes, of Culloden, who turned the tide of Prince Charlie’s fortunes in 1745, were adepts at the game, and Covenanters in their sermons, poets, philosophers, and novelists have paid their tribute to the royal sport.
Grand Golf Tournament by Professional Players - On Leith links, Scotland; May 1867.
[Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division]
With lingering feet it crossed the Grampian Hills in the wake of his somewhat sportive Majesty James VI of Scotland, and made its home at Blackheath, where it maintained a precarious existence under the care of Scottish Londoners, until the establishment of the famous clubs of Banbury, Westward Ho, Wimbledon, and Hoylake, when, with a suddenness unexplainable, and an unparalleled popular favor, it extended all over England; since then it has spread to the uttermost parts of the earth.
ST. ANDREWS GOLF CLUB, YONKERS, N.Y.
ST. ANDREWS GOLF CLUB -1888:
The nurseries for golf in the United States are many and varied, and are increasing so fast that the tale outruns the telling. The first one, established at Yonkers on the Hudson in 1888, by Mr. John Reid (of course a Scotchman), bears the name of St. Andrews, in honor of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of the East Neuk of Fife, in the shadow of "Auld Reekie," the clustering point for the great mass of golfing history and tradition. It is an inland course of stonewall hazards, rocky pastures bordered by ploughed fields and woods, and is prolific in those little hollows known as cuppy lies; the Saw Mill River meanders in its front, and a line view of the Palisades from its highest teeing ground makes it an attractive spot for tired city men to whom it is accessible for an afternoon's sport.
SHINNECOCK HILLS GOLF CLUB, WILL DUNN'S SHOP
SHINNECOCK HILLS GOLF CLUB -1891:
The links of the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club , established by Mr. Edward S. Mead, with Willie Dunn as its keeper, is a golfing Eden. The great rolling sand-hills, covered with short stiff grays, lying between Peconic Bay on the north and Shinnecock Bay on the south, with the ocean beyond, are picturesque in their beauty, and since the resolution of matter from chaos have been waiting for the spiked shoe of the golfer. The hazards are mainly artificial; there are some stretches of sand, railroad embankment, and deep roads, that are tests of skill and temper; the breezy freshness of the air, the glory of the boundless expanse of downs and water, and the splendor of the sunsets, make a perfect setting for the beauty of good golfing.
ONE OF THE FACADES OF THE NEWPORT GOLF CLUB-HOUSE
The distinctive feature of this Clubhouse, are shown by the plan, in that it is divided into three parts. One is given over to the dining-room, kitchen, and servants' quarters; another to dressing and locker-rooms; and the third to the social or general club features — the three wings being joined by an elliptical hall — the rendezvous.
NEWPORT GOLF CLUB
Newport is a well-to-do club with a large investment in land and a tasteful clubhouse. From its site the whole course is visible, and the panorama of Narragansett Bay , with the fleet of yachts lying at anchor on one side, and of the ocean on the other, is most pleasing. It is a course of nine holes, with turf of the true golfing quality, stone wall, and artificial hazards — and a tricky quality to its putting greens which require careful approaches to save many extra strokes. Its members are enthusiastic sportsmen, who are not diverted by the giddy attractions of that favorite resort from the serious work required of a good golfer.
THE GOLF LINKS AT TUXEDO
The Tuxedo Club has its links partly in Tuxedo Park and partly outside of it, about ten minutes' walk from the clubhouse. The Ramapo Hills rise abruptly a few hundred yards on either side of the course, the curve of the valley at either end making a beautiful nest, which is traversed by the Ramapo River and its tributary, the Tuxedo Brook.
There are nine holes in the course, which crosses Tuxedo Brook four times and furnishes great variety in its hazards of hills, stone walls, railroad embankments lined with blast furnace slag, apple-trees, and a combination of terrors in front of what is known as Devil's Hole, consisting of brook, boulders, and road, which has spoiled many a score. The course is known as a "sporting links," where straight, long drives are the only hope for preserving the temper, and the hazards are such that they make glad the heart of man when surmounted, but to the beginner, are outer darkness where is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
THE BROOKLINE COUNTRY CLUB, MASS.
COUNTRY CLUB OF BROOKLINE
The game was first introduced into New England by the Messrs. Hunnewell, who laid out a course on their estate at Wellesley. Since then golf clubs have sprung up as if by magic in the neighborhood of the modern Athens, a full list of which, with their characteristics, would exceed the limits of this article.
A player who has done a round at the Country Club of Brookline will have passed over various points of avenue, steeple-chase course, race-track, polo-fields, and pigeon-shooting grounds; he will have come triumphantly through a purgatorial stonewall jump, a sand-bunker and bastion, a water-jump, and finally a vast gravel-pit or crater, which has made many a golfing heart quail, and whose depths the great Campbell himself (the Scotch professional keeper) has not disdained to explore. As in the case of the embankments at Shinnecock, it requires but a true drive or a fair cleek shot to negotiate it; but the moral effect of these hazards is such that the true drive or the fair cleek is problematical. Stone walls, trees, ploughed fields, fences, and chasms, however, present excellent sporting requirements on a course, for variety is the spice of golf. It is difficult to picture a prettier sight on a fine golfing morning, than this course with its red-coated players, the shepherd, his dog, and his flock, in a lovely setting of undulating land, fine trees, old-fashioned colonial club-house, racetrack and polo-field.
ESSEX COUNTY CLUB ENTRANCE AND SMOKING ROOM
ESSEX COUNTY CLUB
The course at the Essex County Club of Manchester-by-the-Sea, consists of eleven holes, all visible from the piazza of its pretty club-house. The hazards are nearly all natural, consisting of fences, barns, roadways, a broad valley of cleared land filled in with sand and traversed by a winding brook, which is also met and crossed at other points. The teeing-grounds and putting-greens have been made with great care, and the course will always be a popular one.
GOLF MATCH IN 1908
[Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ggbain-02089]
At Pride's Crossing is a private course of nine holes, laid out over the estates of several of its members. The green is mostly lawn and pleasure grounds, extending along the front of handsome summer-houses, the whole by the gifts of nature exceedingly attractive, with nothing formidable save the impossibility of driving a ball accurately through parlors and kitchens—some amateurs, however, have essayed it to the discomfiture of the ladies and servants—and a trying bit of cornfield, which yielded a far more valuable crop of lost golf balls in the harvest-time of 1894, than of corn.
John Henry Taylor, golf champion.
[Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-74627 ]
MYOPIA HUNT CLUB OF WENHAM
The Myopia Hunt Club of Wenham, famous in polo and hunting annals, is an admirable golfing land, with good distances, natural hazards, commanding extensive views of the adjoining country, which is dotted with line residences and covers, where the whistle of the quail tickles the sportsman's ear, and the music of the kenneled hounds testifies to the varied sports of its members. At the last hole is a pond in whose depths lies a hidden treasure of golf-balls, and over whose surface has been wafted many a smothered arid unsmothered curse. The story is told of one enthusiastic tyro who drove two or three balls into the water, and sent his caddie to the clubhouse for a fresh supply; then, opening the box, he drove the whole dozen into the placid pond. Such exhibitions are common to the game, and a great relief to the surcharged heart.
WESTON GOLF CLUB
The Weston Golf Club has among its officers General C. J. Paine, who, when not holding the tiller of an unconquered yacht, does not disdain the cleek and the mashie, and ex-Governor William E. Russell, an enthusiastic golfer, who has laid aside the cares of state to compete in tournaments.
ROCKAWAY HUNTING CLUB
The Rockaway Hunting Club, of Cedarhurst, Long Island, is a prominent club, and has a fine seaside links of nine holes. The members are enthusiastic golfers and the play is constant through the year. The hazards are sunken roads, high cedar-tree hedges and ravines. The tasteful club-house, recently completed, is well patronized both in winter and summer.
CHICAGO GOLF CLUB Farmhouse used as a club-house.
OTHER GOLF CLUBS
In addition to these may be mentioned the Nahant Club, which has received less than all others of the gifts of nature and art, but is frequented by players who make up for its defects by their enthusiasm; the Dedham Polo Club, the Cambridge Golf Club, and the Kebo Valley Club at Bar Harbor, the Warren Farm Golf Club, the Westchester Country Club, the Staten Island, Meadowbrook, Philadelphia Country Club, Morristown, Morris County, Tacoma Golf Club, Tacoma, Wash., and Chicago Clubs, all of which have fostered the interests of the game.
It has been played for twenty years in Canada, the Royal Montreal Golf Club being the pioneer. The course commands a fine view of the city and the St. Lawrence with the Beloeil Mountain and the Vermont hills in the distance.
The course of the Quebec Golf Club is over the Plains of Abraham, and is full of historic interest. The scenery is unequalled in its grandeur, the St. Lawrence lying far below and the beautiful Isle of Orleans not far distant.
There are important and well-established clubs also at Toronto, Kingston, and Ottawa, and the number is rapidly increasing throughout the Dominion.
John Marshall Harlan, 1901
[Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-104540]
To prevent the friction and the uncertain results which necessarily follow from having a number of clubs each offer prizes for so-called championships, a National Association has been formed to give authority to certain meetings where, each year, the amateur and professional championships shall be played for, as in England and Scotland, the amateur championship being well guarded from professional play, while the "open" events will admit amateurs and professionals alike.
There is no Anglomania about this game in America—it has its own inherent charm. To the novice it seems the simplest of all sports, but to the expert the most complicated; to him it is "a thing of beauty and a joy forever." The scoffer who speaks with a contempt not born of familiarity, or views it with assumed indifference, may assert that the game, with its system of strokes and score, will restore the unhealthy atmosphere of the croquet ground; that it will try the souls of the clergy and become the undoing of parishioners. "It is simply driving a quinine pill over a cow pasture." He may watch with a pitying and ill-disguised contempt the frantic efforts of stout elderly gentlemen to extricate a ball from a hazard, and say, as an old farmer did, who leaned over the fence and smiled placidly at a perspiring banker, "Don't you think you are pretty big for that little marble?" —yet he cannot stay its triumphant progress.
Jeers at the paraphernalia of the game have some justification. Red coats are not becoming to the American landscape, and on a warm July day are fairly distressing; the various wrappings with which some men adorn their legs, as for defense against "whin gorse and fog," which we have not, are suggestive of ornament rather than utility, and excite laughter in the cynical observer; but such criticism is the veriest dalliance. From the moment one of the Philistines essays a stroke, and by accident makes a fair drive from a tee, his conversion is assured, he has gone through all the phases, and learned "to endure, then pity, then embrace;" the game then becomes dangerously near being interesting; henceforth he will strive persistently, in season and out of season, to show "the golf that is in him;" he will regret the neglected opportunities of his youth, and the disease which has no microbe and no cure is chronic and seated on him for life. Henceforward he will adopt the motto of the Hittormissit Club, "Drive it if you can, club it if you will, kick it if you must."
The game illustrates the analytical and philosophical character of the Scotch mind. In it muscle and mind, hand, ball and eye, each play a part, and all must be in perfect accord. Some of its fascinations lie in its difficulties— there are twenty-two different rules to remember in making a drive; some golfers write them on their wristbands, others have them repeated by their caddies at the beginning of their stroke; one enthusiast, after painfully obtaining the proper position, had himself built into a frame, which thereafter was carried about to each teeing ground, that he might be sure of his form. The loose, slashing style known as the St. Andrew's swing, in which the player seems to twist his body into an imitation of the Laocoön, and then suddenly to uncoil, is the perfection of art. It is a swing and not a hit; the ball is met at a certain point and swept away with apparent abandon, the driver following the ball, and finishing with a swing over the shoulder in what is almost a complete circle. A jerk is an abomination; the true motion requires a gradual acceleration of speed, with muscles flexible, save that the lower hand should have a tight grip on the stick —a swing like "an auld wife cutting hay;" if this does not convey the idea, "Eh, man, just take and throw your club at the ba'." Oh! the careless ease of that swing and the beautiful far-reaching results that follow! But be not deceived, over-confident beginner, wise in your own conceit; a topped ball that rolls harmlessly a few yards, or some practical agriculture with perhaps a broken driver, or a wrench that follows a fruitless blow, will be your reward, if you venture to imitate that dashing, insolent, fearless stroke, which seems so easy because it is the very perfection of art and crown of skill. It is but the fruit of a life spent club in hand, for the best golfer, like the oyster, is caught young.
The recognized styles of the drive are as varied as the players, a fact attributed by golfers to the errors of greatness, easy to imitate, but dangerous without the genius to turn them to good account. An admirer of a famous Scotch champion declared, as a result of patient and anxious observation at the end of a round, that the great player had every fault at golf that he himself had been taught to avoid; genius, however, is not trammeled by rules, and the greatest players have always adapted their game to their anatomical configuration.
In addition to the recognized styles of famous golfers there are swings of diverse and wonderful grotesqueness — the "Pig-tail" style, the "Headsman," the "Pendulum," the "Recoil," the "Hammerhurling," the "Double-jointed," the "Surprise," and the "Disappointment" — whose respective names are in a measure their explanation, the last-named not being applicable to the state of mind of the player, as one might suppose, but to that of the spectator, who finds that a faulty style in the beginning of a swing may often result in as clean a stroke as one could wish. These styles have been characteristic of famous golfers, and with all of them the ball starts low —flying from the club, skims like a swallow's rise as the initial velocity begins to diminish, continues in its career for two hundred yards, and drops to the ground as gently as a bird alights.
But who shall tell of the unrecognized styles, the hooking, slicing, heeling, toeing, foozling of the would-be golfer in his game of eternal hope and everlasting despair, of bright anticipation tempered by experience, playing as if he owned the green instead of using it, cutting out divots of turf, ploughing the waste places, larding the lean earth as he walks along, plunging down the escarpments of a hazard, and keeping the recording angel busy during his sojourn there, driving into those in front, and passed on the green by succeeding players—
While those behind cry forward
And those before cry back.
Let kindly forgetfulness draw a veil over this stage of his career.
The drive, however, as many insist, is but the prelude, and, therefore, the least important of the shots. It passes many a pitfall, reduces the dangers that lurk in cuppy lies, bastion bunkers, pit bunkers, and hazards, but the approach shots in playing "through the green" are a test of skill, nerve, and temper, and cut a greater figure in the score than the drive from the teeing-ground. The term "approach shot," in its common acceptation, conveys the idea of a stroke played with the iron with something less than the full swing, and involves differences in distance, elevation, and style. Then comes in the nice judgment as to three-quarter shots, half-shots, and wrist shots to cover the distance, the straight forward stroke, or the cut in making any of these; then must you choose whether to run the ball up along the ground and risk the irregularities of turf and soil, or loft with accurate judgment, and pitch the ball dead on to the elevation, so reaching the putting-green where you would be. To see a finished artist at this work is a sight that lingers long in the memory — his glance to measure the distance and assure himself of the direction, the momentary rest of the club behind the ball, the knuckling over of the body toward the hole, the cross-cutting downward stroke with its clean blow, and then the triumph as the ball pitches with its reverse "English" on to the ground far short of the distance the unpracticed eye would have measured, and grips into the earth as if with inanimate intent to save the player any unnecessary trouble in holeing out. Even though one may know nothing of its difficulties by experience, he grasps intuitively an enlarged idea of the merits of the game; but to a player the success of such a shot, made with a clear purpose, gives the same exquisite thrill of ecstasy as a two-lengths lead in a boat-race or the strike of a three-pound trout. On the putting-green the work seems easier — indeed, a scoffing onlooker once said he could hole the ball with his umbrella, and did; but there is as much nicety of judgment, accuracy of eye, and delicacy of execution in this stage as in any other part of the game. The approach putt brings you near the hole; then should come a careful survey of the ground with objects to guide the eye on the line, which will be facilitated by diligent practice on the drawing-room carpet; a rest of the putter for a moment behind the ball, near the right foot, the forearm resting against the leg, a following pendulum-like swing of the club, without a jerk, and the ball will roll as if in a groove to its appointed resting-place.
It would be wise for a tyro not to watch a professional match until he has made a trial himself. "Can you play the violin?" a boy was asked. "I don't know," he replied, "I never tried;" and the novice at golf, to whom it all looks so easy, would probably make the same answer. When from actual experience he has learned its difficulties, when modesty and humility have entered into his soul, when be has tired his brain with diagrams and rules in books of instruction, with their nice distinction between an upward swing and a lift, and a downward swing and a hit, and complicated formulas for every kind of club or iron in every kind of lie on the course, when he has had burned into his memory, as with a red-hot cleek, the five injunctions of the golfer's Koran, "Slow back;" "Keep your eye on the ball;" "Don't aim too long;" "Aim to pitch to the left of the hole," and "Be up" — then let him with meek heart and due reverence follow Willie Dunn and Willie Campbell in a match-play over a round of eighteen holes, and take an object-lesson in the art which he has labored so painfully and fruitlessly to acquire; then will his respect for skill, patience in play, judgment in the selection, of the proper club, and nerve in critical moments, rise proportionately to the descent of his own self-conceit; and his vaulting ambition for a record as a golfer will receive a spur that may help him to acquire it.
The game is too young in America to have developed players of remarkable note, though creditable records have been made; but coming years may cast the halo of championships on heads now young that shall link their names with Allan Robertson, old Tom Morris, Anderson, the Parks, Dunns, Piries, Straths, and Kirks of a previous generation who made history in the golfing world, and with that of "poor young Tommy," as he is always affectionately called, the son of the famous old keeper at St. Andrews, whose play was so incomparable that, although he died at the early age of twenty-four, he was the most formidable golfer of his time. At twenty he had three times won in succession the championship belt, and to his golfing career the motto, "Capite et supereminet omnes" was universally accorded.
It is one of the traditions of these great players at St. Andrews , that it was their guiding principle never to make a bad shot, an easy theory to enunciate, but the great army of amateurs who with heart-breaking efforts have striven to rise to that standard, and the record of their topped balls, broken clubs, misses and foozles at critical stages in a match, can bear witness to the difficulty of reducing it satisfactorily to practice. The merit of these fine golfers was that their play was sure — as they played today so they would play tomorrow; there was nothing unequal in them, no wavering, no unexpected breaking down at a moment when the championship might depend upon a single stroke. They have been known to play ninety consecutive holes without one bad shot or one stroke made otherwise than as it was intended; and it was this dead level of steadiness under all chances of hazards and bad lies, and all conditions of cold, wet, wind, or snow, as in young Tom Morris's last famous match before his death, that placed them in the front rank of golfers.
The true golfer is critical of lucky strokes or flukes; in his estimation they are as discreditable as bad ones; certainty and precision is his standard, and his comment in broad Scotch, the real golf language, after a bad shot by a good player, calculated to draw applause from ignorant bystanders, would probably be, "My, but you was a lucky yin, bad play — didna desairve it." George Glennie, a famous player whose purism was proverbial, once in a "foursome" drove his ball into a burn; his partner wading in with boots and stockings, took the ball on the wing with his niblic, as it floated down, and laid it dead at the hole. "Well, what about that stroke?" said his partner to the sage who had preserved unyielding silence, as he advanced to the teeing-ground, "just monkey's tricks."
The game can be played in company or alone. Robinson Crusoe on his island, with his man Friday as a caddie, could have realized the golfer's dream of perfect happiness — a fine day, a good course, and a clear green; if Henry VIII had cultivated the more delicate emotions by taking to the links of the Knuckle Club, he might have saved his body from the gout and his name from the contempt of posterity; he might have dismissed the sittings of the Divorce Court and gone to play a foursome with Cromwell, Wolsey, and the papal legate; and all the abbey lands which fell to the nobles would have been converted into golfing greens by the fiat of the royal golfer. He might with Francis have established a record on the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Such a game would have cemented their friendship, for the man with a keen love of golfing in his heart is more than the devotee of an idle sport, he is a man of spiritual perceptions and keen sympathies. As a teacher of self-discipline the game is invaluable. The player is always trying to get the better of the game, and, as Allan Robertson said, "The game is aye fechtin' against ye."
The fascinations of golf can only be learned by experience. It is difficult to explain them. It has its humorous and its serious side. It can be begun as soon as you can walk, and once begun it is continued as long as you can see. The very nature of the exercise gives length of days. Freedom of movement, swing of shoulder, and that suppleness of which the glory had departed, all return to the enthusiast. He has a confidence in his own ability which is sublime, because it is justified by performance, and that self-control which chafes the ordinary adversary.
His sense of the ultimate purpose and the true proportions of his existence is unruffled, whether he views life from the exaltation of a two-hundred yard drive on to the hill, or the lowest heel-mark in the deepest sand-pit on the course; while the feelings of momentary success or depression which so possess the souls of weaker men, pass over him with no more influence than the flight of birds. His soul is so wrapped in the harmony of earth and sky and the glory of the game, that no buffets of fortune can come at him.
This is what makes it a tonic to the nerves, while the temper goes through a personally conducted tour, beginning with impatience and ending with complete equanimity. Egotism is powerless to excuse a fault, for that can lie only with the player himself. He cannot vent his fury upon his opponent, even though a tree opportunely situated may land a ball on the green, while his own flies hopelessly into the woods; for the game is born in the purple of equable temper and courtesy, and the golfer's expletives must be directed against his own lack of skill, or lies, or hazards, and the luck and vengeance must light, and often do, on the unoffending clubs, even to their utter extermination. To the language with which every golf course is strewn, differing more in form than in substance, from the "Tut, tut, tut" of the ecclesiastic to the more sulphurous exclamation of the layman, the divine quality of forgiveness must be extended; but as it is a compliment to call a man a "dour" player, it seems to be recognized that the characteristic of all language in golf should be its brevity. The difficulty of contending with an uncertain temper in others is nothing as compared with ruling our own, and the dust and bad language that rise from the depths of a bunker emphasize the truth of the words of Holy Writ, "He that ruleth his own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city;" but yet it is certain that lie who hath not lost his temper can never play golf.
Golfers as a rule are an exceptionally honest race of men, but uncertain arithmetic is occasionally encountered on the green. "I aim to tell the truth," said one; "Well, you are a very bad shot," was the reply, and there is often an area of low veracity about a bunker. Accuracy is a cardinal virtue in the game, and a kindly judgment may attribute such errors to forgetfulness; but as the chief pleasure is to beat your own record for your own satisfaction, and as this form of deception makes real progress continually more difficult, for the discount is always in your path, the man of treacherous memory gets small comfort out of his duplicity.
With the development of the game comes the development of the caddie, who is one of its principal adjuncts. In America he is still the small boy with no special peculiarities to distinguish him from others. In Scotland he is as much of an institution as the player himself. He has grown up on the links, and is the guide, counselor, and friend of the player, whose clubs he carries. One of his principal qualifications there is that he should be able to conceal his contempt for your game. He is ready with advice, reproof, criticism, and sympathy, always interested, ready at critical times with the appropriate club, and, if need be, with the appropriate comment. He is anxious for the success of his side as if he were one of the players. His caustic remarks are borne with equanimity, and his contemptuous criticisms with the submission they deserve.
The relation of the fairer part of creation to golf varies between that of a "golfer's widow" and that of a champion. Singleness of thought, concentration of purpose, quietude of manner, are essential in the game, and the expert golfer, whose tender mercies are ever cruel, will unhesitatingly cry "Fore" to the flutter of a golf cape or the tinkle of light feminine conversation, so distracting by reason of the natural gallantry of man. In the words of a promising young golfer, who found it hard to decide between flirtation and playing the game, "It's all very pleasant, but it isn't business." But the sincerity of their enthusiasm is so apparent, and their adaptability to the nicer points of the game so great that there are few clubs now where they are not firmly established, and where a man who has finished a hard day's play cannot take pleasure in an aftermath of tea and blandishments.
Health, happiness, and "a spirit with the world content," lie on the golfing ground. The game is a leveller of rank and station. King and commoner, noble and peasant, played on equal terms in days gone by, and rich and poor, clever and dull, are "like as they lie " when matched in skill.
"There's naething like a ticht-gude-gowing mautch to soop yer brain clear o' troubles and trials." It is so fostered by companionship and wrapped about with the joys of friendship, that he who has his soul's friend for his golfing mate is on fortune's cap the very button. With such company, when the November wind streams down the course, whipping out our little clouds of breath into streamers, we can stride over our eighteen holes with the keen joy of living that comes at intervals to the tired worker. And then, oh! weary soul, what joys await the faithful! The putting off of mud-caked shoes, the brisk plunge or shower - "bath, and the warm glow thereafter; the immaculate shirt-front that crackles at your touch, the glad joy of dinner and the utter relaxation of content, "with just a wee drappie of guid Scotch to follow."
The poet, scorning the material things of life and the pursuit of wealth, sings thus:
But them, O silent mother, wise, immortal,
To whom our toil is laughter, take, Divine One,
This vanity away, and to thy lover
Give what is needful,
A stanch heart, nobly calm, averse to evil,
The purer sky to breathe, the sea, the mountain,
A well-born gentle friend, his spirit's brother,
Ever beside him.
from... SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE by Henry Howland, 1895.
Victorian Golf Cartoons
A series of Victorian golf pictures by famed 19th century sports illustrator, Arthur Burdett Frost, showing golfers on golf courses.
Golf Sports Prints - 1895
Antique golf prints by A.B. Frost. Golf pictures of golf courses and golfing scenes from the late nineteenth century.