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Dec 03, 2014 | 01:05 PM

New DOB for Golf in America

Stop the Gutenberg presses! There’s new evidence that golf arrived in America even earlier than previously thought. Okay, so it’s only four years earlier—1739 as opposed to 1743—but the discovery adds further credence that golf first began in this country in Charleston, S.C. Scottish historian Dr. David Purdie presented a document on Monday to the St. Andrews Society of Charleston showing golf clubs were shipped on June 29, 1739 to William Wallace of all people (it was another William Wallace who led the Scottish rebellion against King Edward I and won Mel Gibson a couple Oscars). The cost was 1 pound and 18 shillings, or about the price of a new driver today, $350. Wallace was also a member of the town’s St. Andrews Society, which is the world’s oldest, dating to 1729, and helps explain why clubs would have been shipped to Charleston than, say, New York. Charleston was also the site of the country’s first golf club, the South Carolina Golf Club, founded in 1786. “The cradle of golf in America is this city,” Purdie told the local paper, The Post and Courier. “The oldest continuous golf club in America is The Saint Andrew’s Golf Club in Yonkers, N.Y. They were founded in 1888. But 150 years earlier, this was going on in Charleston.”

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Dec 02, 2014 | 10:07 AM

The Best Golf Invention Ever?

What’s the most significant invention to hit golf in the last decade? According to the latest report from the National Golf Foundation, there’s no contest, and it has nothing to do with clubs or balls—it’s the distance measuring device. In a recent NGF survey, more than two thirds of core golfers said they now use laser range finders, GPS watches, and GPS-aided smart phone apps, and the benefits go well beyond just getting accurate yardage. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed reported that the devices had given them more confidence in the playing of shots, 52% said their pace of play had improved, 39% said their scores had lowered, 34% said they enjoyed the game more, and 21% claimed they’d gained an advantage over golfers who didn’t use the devices. Try to think of another product—from any era—that has had such an impact. 

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Dec 01, 2014 | 06:30 AM

Four Centuries In Dornoch

According to its website, the iconic Royal Dornoch Golf Club in northern Scotland was founded in 1877. Elsewhere on the site it reads, “Long before a golf club was formed at Dornoch, the game of golf was played on the town lands on the links along the seashore.” How long before? It doesn’t say, but the club and the town fathers have settled on a date—1616—and they now are making plans for a year-long celebration of “400 years of golf at Dornoch” in 2016. Festivities begin on January 2 of that year, when the club captain will use a hickory club to “drive in” a ceremonial featherie ball. During the rest of the year there will be more matches—including one featuring famous pros—as well as gala dinners, street parties, exhibitions, and displays. For what it’s worth, the website ScottishGolfHistory.org says golf came to Dornoch in 1619, which was 117 years after it made it to Perth, 92 years after Carnoustie, and 45 years after St. Andrews. But any excuse for a party is good with us.

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Nov 27, 2014 | 11:50 AM

Playing Thankfully

There won’t be any turkey or stuffing available — the food and beverage operation in the clubhouse is shut down for the year — but there will be golf today in Utah, on a course named Thanksgiving Point no less. Thanks to rare late-November temperatures in the high 50s, approximately 40 golfers are expected to tee it up on a 1997 Johnny Miller design that inexplicably missed making a recent Thanksgiving-themed course list. Located in Lehi, 15 miles south of downtown Salt Lake City, the 7,716-yard layout is stuffed with oversized holes, like the 678-yard 11th (where only John Daly has ever reached the green in two). Playing at 6,100 feet above sea level helps a bit, but the course record of 62 — held by  2003 Masters winner and nearby resident Mike Weir — is still impressive. Happy Thanksgiving. 

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