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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Golf

GOLF HISTORY

The Romans played a game like golf by striking a feather-stuffed ball with bent wooden sticks.

Book illustrations show the Dutch playing a similar game to golf on their frozen canals about the 15th century.

The word golf comes from the Dutch word ‘kolf’ or ‘kolve’, meaning ‘club’. Historians believe this was passed on to the Scottish, whose own dialect changed this to ‘golve’,or ‘gouf’. By the 16th century, this had evolved into the word we know today.

In 1457 golf was banned in Scotland by King James II (1430-1460) because it distracted people from practicing their archery skills. Nevertheless the Scots continued to brave the opposition of both Parliament and church by playing the game on seaside courses called links. One of these link courses, St Andrews is the world’s oldest golf course.

The earliest known use of the word “golf” was when King James banned it.

The word caddie is derived from the French cadet, meaning a "diminutive chief" or "a little head." The title was mostly used for the younger sons of the upper class. After returning from France Mary, Queen of Scots, introduced the word into Scotland. It soon assumed a derogatory connotation, being used to describe messengers and pages waiting around for an odd job. "Caddie" was then further reduced to refer specifically to those hanging around golf courses to carry sticks. It eventually referred to the person who carries a player's bag and clubs, and gives insightful advice and moral support.

Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII, wrote in a letter to Cardinal Wolsey “I thank God to be busy with the golfe”. This was the first written evidence of golf being played in England.

Golf became firmly established in Great Britain by the 17th century when James VI of Scotland, later James I of England, was attracted to the sport. He appointed in Scotland a royal clubmaker.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is the ruling body of the game of golf in the eyes of most countries (the USA being a notable exception). The R & A was formed on May 14, 1754 when twenty two noblemen formed themselves into the Society of St Andrews Golfers. In 1834 the club adopted its present name.

R&A Clubhouse on the Old Course.

The first golf tournament organised solely for women took place in July 1811 in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland and was held for the town’s fishwives.

Willie Park of Musselburgh won the world’s first professional golf tournament at Prestwick, Scotland in 1860.

John Reid and Robert Lockhart of Dunfermline first demonstrated golf to bemused Americans at Yonkers, in New York State in 1888.

The golfing term ‘birdie’, meaning one shot under par for a hole, originated from the American slang ‘bird’, which in the late 19th century was applied to anything excellent.

A plaque at the Atlantic City Country Club marks where US golfer Ab Smith said in 1899 that a fellow playing member hit “a bird of a shot,” which gave rise to the term “birdie”.

The winged creature theme continues with ‘eagle’ (two under par), and ‘albatross’ (three under) — also birds, but rarer.

The US Patent Office issued patent #638,920 to George Franklin Grant of Boston in 1899 for his invention of the golf tee. Before that, golfers placed the ball on hand-built sand piles.

In addition to inventing  the golf tee, Grant was also the first African-American professor at Harvard.


In 1926 Garnet Carter invented miniature golf which he patented under the name “Tom Thumb Golf”.

Golf is the only sport to have been played on the moon. Apollo 14 Astronaut Alan Shepard stashed away a makeshift six-iron inside his spacecraft and on February 6, 1971, he hit three golf balls on the lunar service. His first shot was a mis-hit and only went a few feet, but the second and third went, as he put it, “miles and miles and miles”.


FUN GOLF FACTS

The driver swing speed of an average lady golfer is 62 mph, 96 mph for an average LPGA professional.

The driver swing speed of an average male golfer, 108 mph for an average PGA Tour player, 130 mph for Tiger Woods, 148-152 mph for a national long drive champion.

The exact odds of scoring a hole-in-one in golf on a par three hole are 8,750 to 1.

Scoring a condor is the rarest event in golf. This is normally a hole in one at a par five and only four condors have ever been recorded.

The highest ‘par’ sanctioned by the United States Golf Association is six.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia

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