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Friday, May 20, 2022
Home Sports GOLF A Brief History of Golf 'By John Williamson

A Brief History of Golf ‘By John Williamson


LAST WEEK I RECEIVED A NEW GOLF BOOK.

The title is BORN ON THE LINKS: A Brief History of Golf. It was written by John Williamson, a writer and lawyer, as well as the founder of Argyle Publishing.

I share mr. Williamson’s interest in golf history, so it was easy for me to say yes when this title was presented by his publisher, Lyon’s Press. But I was surprised to hear the book was published in 2018, so it’s not that new after all.

The paperback edition is 273 pages divided into 14 chapters and four appendices. I noticed the book has a positive rating on Amazon.

At first glance, and with a bit of college, I believe the author has achieved his goal of bringing to the fore a concise history of the game. There is a good amount of information packaged in less than 300 pages. Mr. Williamson has a straightforward, just-the-facts style.

The book begins at the beginning, in the 15th century when a golf-like sport migrated from the Netherlands to Scotland. The first three chapters highlight the early history of the game that led to golf coming to America.

I enjoyed reading some early rules written for a tournament played in 1744 at Leith Links in Scotland. There were a total of 13 lines. They were titled “Articles and Laws in Playing at Golf.”

No. 10 says: “If a ball is stopped by any person, horse, dog or anything else, the ball so stopped must be played where it lies.”

Some rules are artfully written: “He whose ball lies furthest from the hole is obliged to play first.”

It was, of course, the forerunner of “you are gone” and “you are still gone.” But would not it be nice to occasionally say, “You are obligated to play first”?

The flow of the chapters makes sense. The author has each included a chapter on African Americans and women whose golf stories are not so well known but are still illuminating. Even with barriers to entry, golf has attracted many people from many backgrounds. I have not yet played a sport or game that is harder than golf, which, I suspect, is a big part of the attraction.

As six-time Open champion Harry Vardon once said:

“Golf is the master of us all.”



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