It is not the love of something easy which has drawn men like a magnet for hundreds of years to this royal and ancient pastime; on the contrary, it is the maddening difficulty of it.
….But that is what fascinates man and leads him to leave business, home, wife, and children to pursue this hard mistress in the foolish hope of conquering her.
….Golf beats us all, and that is the chief reason we shall never cease loving her, nor ever give up our attempt to subdue her.
The LInks (1926)
There are two ways of widening the gap between a good tee shot and a bad one. One is to inflict a severe and immediate punishment on a bad shot, to place its perpetrator in a bunker or in some other trouble which will demand the sacrifice of a stroke in recovering.
The other is to reward the good shot by making the second shot simpler in proportion to the excellence of the first. The reward may be of any nature but it is more commonly one of four-a better view of the green, an easier angle from which to attack a slope, an open approach past guarding hazards, or even a better run to the tee shot itself.
As quoted by Tom Doak in Tom Doak’s Little Red Book of Golf Course Architecture
In his wonderful book about a young college student’s exploration and discovery of the wonders of Scottish golf, A Golfer’s Education, Darren Kilfara describes the solitude of playing one of Scotland’s most remote golfing jewels, Royal Dornoch.
For all it’s fame among serious players Dornoch is in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands and many never venture that far to experience it’s unique charm. Kilfara says, “Royal Dornoch’s accessibility appealed to me greatly. Exclusive clubs cannot possibly radiate the type of warmth that Dornoch radiates”.
His description of the look down the eighth to a green nestled by the sea captures the warm and engaging feeling of Scottish Links golf.
“I reached the crest of the fairway on Dornoch’s eighth hole, a par 4 that tumbles down a steep hillside to a green near the sea. The low-flying sun, peering through a veil of gray translucent cloud, sparkled on the still ocean. A breeze whistled softly across the gorse, tugging gently at the sleeves of my jack. The dying embers of autumn flickered in the darkly proud gorse, in wispy fields of soft beige and muted green twice removed from the golfer’s progress. The stillness, the ethereal peace of the moment, overwhelmed me. The earth itself reposed in contentment: miles of tiny, pimpled dunes beyond the eighth hole mirrored my goose bumps, beckoning me away from Royal Dornoch, away from golf along the arcing shoreline toward the sleepy hamlet of Embo. In the near-silence I stood: alone, yet not alone.”
There is truly something special about this place that beckons those who can appreciate what golf courses like Dornoch can offer beyond the golf.
A Golfer’s Education (2001)
It’s not the fiddle, it’s the fiddler.
And If You Play Golf, You’re My Friend
No pretty woman can miss a single shot without a man giving her some poor advice.
A husband should never try to teach his wife to play golf or drive a car. A wife should never try to teach her husband to play bridge.
Little Red Book
If they are old enough to swing a club, they should be walking, strengthening their legs, learning to feel the rhythm of the game that simply cannot be learned in a golf cart.
Walter Hagen said to stop and smell the flowers while you’re on the course. This sensitivity is a powerfully alluring and educational part of golf. You’re much less likely to realize it if you group up riding in a cart.
Little Red Book
Some use statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts, for support rather than for illumination.
The main reason for the lure of golf has to do with a unique brand of companionship possible only to a psychological type that unites the little boy aching to be king with the sensible adult who knows he’ll never make it.
By providing every man with the visible proof that his partner is a failing show-off, golf reinforces one fo the great joys of friendship; it is all the more delicious for being secret, since the etiquette of golf requires that you keep it to yourself.
For the golfer compresses into a few hours all the emotions he spreads over the rest of his life: hope, envy, betrayal, self-discipline, self-deceit, the Holy Grail in view, the Grail smartly whipped out of sight.
You’re away, partner.
Golf-The Marvelous Mania (2007)
Are apt to say….for a straight drive “We’re rait down the meddle” for the first slice “You’re way awf in the gorse”.
Scottish caddies, like nurses, alternate between the first person plural and the second person singular as a handy method of distributing praise and blame.
Golf-The Marvelous Mania (2007)
For those of you who sought insight by playing your Beatles albums backwards consider that flipping the spelling of Golf you get….
verb: flog; 3rd person present: flogs; past tense: flogged; past participle: flogged; gerund or present participle: flogging
beat (someone) with a whip or stick as punishment or torture.
“the stolen horses will be returned and the thieves flogged”