The History of golf

I have so many memories of watching golf at my grandparents house growing up or going to the golf course my very first job he he talked golf lessons and and I went and would retrieve the balls after after the lessons and I would have a hotdog and a coca-cola in the clubhouse after after work and then he and I would would drive to the racetrack and LAN extend a racetrack and he would place his bets for the day and I would sit there with him and another great memory I have of him is and these just he passed away I guess in 1991 so these are just really valuable precious memories to me and I would get in his car he picked me up in the morning and he would have the big band station on and this is you know I guess the late 70s so if you think about commercial radio to rest what we would now call terrestrial radio like I guess nowadays you have the nineties station right yeah and when I was a kid you had the 50 station and you had the big band station because a lot of those people were still alive and and the music of your youth is very nostalgic to you and I remember driving in the car with him and him saying don’t isn’t this boring don’t you hate this music or isn’t it boring to you and I would just say no I loved it I just really loved it and I feel like that is a great musical foundation for me loving the the big-band music of my grandfather’s era and then the 50s music of my parents there were just very formational to me so this Golf episode said often me a great nostalgic journey that um that I’m so glad we got to do it Ian thank you so much for bringing this to the table oh man I was more than happy to I got to meet today’s guest Tony Parker at a golf show here in Nashville and he was giving a talk he is featured on the Golf Channel and he is the World Golf Hall of Fame official historian and I was recently talking to him the other day and he just got back from st. Andrews where he played like four rounds of golf with the old course and at Carnoustie man I was so jealous to hear about that I would give anything to I’ve been over there once before to play and it’s it’s amazing it’s a different form of golf there than it is here but yeah what a wealth of knowledge this guy has think we often get caught up in the the image of the American as the rugged individual and Golf is a sport where it’s it’s you against yourself you know I mean we have tournaments where you are competing against others but at the end at the end of the day it’s you against your you’re playing yourself you’re playing the course really I think that that really captures a bit of the American spirit or what we perceive to be the American spirit so I hope everyone enjoys this episode and thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode of the road – now dr. Parker welcome to the road – now could you talk a little bit about the history of the sport where and when did it originate okay well that’s almost indeterminate but there are a lot of controversy about that the Dutch believe that it started in the Netherlands of course the French believe it started in France Italy even claims it Chinese claim it but the game is we know it started in Scotland and in principally in st. Andrews Scotland now we know initially the first time golf is really mentioned is in 1457 and we know by 1457 he was a well-established game everybody was playing it and the reason in 1457 we know is because at that time james ii the king of scotland banned the playing of golf because he found out his soldiers were spending more time on the golf course and they were practising their arms and archery and at which time they were at war in england it didn’t really work they tried banning it again in 1471 that didn’t work again in 1491 again it didn’t work and so in finally in 1502 when james DeForest the King of Scotland married Henry’s King Henry of England daughter peace broke out and the first thing James the fourth did was order a set of golf clubs from Perth and lifted the ban so so let’s say the earliest we know that it’s well established by 1457 so why did he order golf clubs from Perth well at that time there are two groups of folks who were making golf clubs and primarily those the same guys who made archery bows arrows and they come in woodworkers you had Saint Andrews you had perfect he had Eden burned he had Aberdeen those four places in particular were golfers really getting a foothold he did also order Gospels from st. Andrews and there are records in the National Archives in Scotland a receipt for where he ordered golf clubs and golf balls from built in Perth and in st. Andrews so I guess we have the old saying turning swords into plows can also apply to say turning arrows into golf clubs yeah heard that but that’s quite good yes so Mary Queen of Scots was a golfer she was indeed as a matter of fact she was criticized for playing golf in 1567 because just a week prior her husband Lord Darnley had met an untimely demise and the following week she was out on the golf course playing golf can again come Pall Mall again part of the criticism was not that she was playing golf but the fact that she was doing it the week after her husband had died now of course my take on that is quite simple where else can you find quiet and solitude away from the maddening crowds then on the serenity of the golf course and the fairways and the grains great place of solitude where we get the term 18 holes from but also if you could talk a little bit about old Tom oars and young Tom oars oh yeah yeah some of my favorite subjects 18 holes was established in 1764 in st. Andrews and like say the the game as we know it the rules of the game development of the game st. Andrews is the place and in 1764 at that time they had 22 holes which really was just 11 holes out turning around print the same 11 holes back the RNA which was established in 1754 determined that for the holes were just too short so they eliminated those and came down to 18 holes and that became four 18 holes became the standard for a complete competition whether it be played on a six-o course or a nine-hole course 18 holes seem to be the terminal number for competition so 18 hole seem to be just right that sindhu are pretty well unseen Andrews it’s kind of interesting because as the game progressed the game itself took off I mean it really exploded everybody began playing and they found out that the 18 holes played nine out turn around playing same time back caused quite a bit of confusion because people ran into each other playing the same oh right so that’s what st. Andrews developed their double greens for exempt for example the fit ho and their pinko share one drain and that grain is a hundred yards deep and 100 yards wide so that seems to work out pretty well in st. Andrews for sure in young in Old Tom Morris like how influential were they for the game well you know tom is considered the the pretty much the father of the game he did a lot of work at st. Andrews he’s an the Prestwick Golf Club actually he designed over 70 golf courses around the UK and Ireland but he did well he’s the old man of golf he lived until 1908 he played in the very first Open Championship in 1860 he was one destruct the first ball in the first open he didn’t win that year thought about men would’ve Park senior did but he did win four Open Championships in the 1860s so he established himself pretty much as the premier golfer until the son young Tom Marr superseded him by winning the open in 1868 and of course the runner up at that time was funny was his dad ho Tom Morris young Tommy I considered young Kumar’s to be the first professional golfer and what I mean by that is you have golf professionals whose livelihood is certainly at that time was making golf clubs making golf balls keepers of the green you know golf course superintendents designers of golf courses and would play money matches and the kind of things they did not make their living from playing golf young Tom Mars Maisie living one way he played golf for money so I consider young Tom Mars to be the first professional golfer and of course sadly he died at age 24 after he had won four Open Championships consecutively so he has certainly made a mark and we can only guess how great his reputation could have been and he lived at the age of 24 so you say that he was the first professional golfer where did the money come from early on well okay initially it came from betting you know you have wealthy patrons who would sponsor their man to play and they put so much money in the pot and who have worn the matches would take the money and matter of fact the first three Open Championships there was no prize money the letter just got thee to where the champions belt which was made of solid silver I was like today’s trophy he got to keep it for a year but then of course had to give it back and it went until 1863 that prize money was given to the second third place and finally 1864 the winner a total of six pounds which was about $500 but from there of course you would have club sponsors you would have others kind of put money into it those who are sponsoring things like the Open Championship the sponsorship did kind of come in but initially it was by wealthy patrons betting on the matches and the winners would get a portion of the winnings so how did the sport ket roll in the States when it really took off what until the 1880s although we have records of golf being played in America as early as seventeen thirty nine which is acting you know before the RNA was even established in Charleston South Carolina we have records of golf balls 1996 golf clubs 432 golf balls being sent from Edinburgh at leaf to Charleston South Carolina in 1743 and the first golf club organization in the United States Charleston South Carolina 1786 but that was gone by the war of 1812 so the next time we see golf really make an appearance in America is in the 1880s right at the beginning of Industrial Revolution and what’s happening here is of course there is a real rise of immigrants coming in and a lot of Scots I have to say where once it came over to take advantage of this but you also had wealth being generated and now you’ve got a lot more leisure time and you had the Scots a lot of professional golfers from st. Andrews from Carnoustie from Perth and from Edinburgh came over to design golf courses to make golf clubs and to teach now we have to say the more affluent individuals teach them the game of golf and it really exploded right after the turn of century 19th hundreds or so but what really grew the game in the United States I mean he had the leisure classes playing was 1913 when Frances were met the greatest game ever played when a young immigrant parents working-class individual who at a caddy when’s the US Open Championship in 1913 and he beat Harry Vardon and Ted raised the two at the time the two greatest golfers of the world and here made front-page news throughout the United States and people say hey maybe that’s something I can do too and so the game really explodes thanks primarily to Francis Ouimet I would imagine that American presidents kind of have gotten the reputation over the past thirty years of playing golf and it makes sense to me it makes sense to me absolutely well not just the past 30 years I mean we had starting with Howard Taft you know he played he was the first president we know of to play golf but then you had Woodrow Wilson who followed him who has recorded two playing a little bit around 1200 rounds of golf in his eight years in office of course he said it was under doctor’s orders you know I’m sure he felt precious at the time matter fact every president in the twentieth century and now into the 21st century have been golfers with the exception Herbert Hoover Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter those are the only three presence and we know of that didn’t play golf while they were in office and we know Eisenhower President Eisenhower played 800 rounds of golf during his eight years in the White House and in fact the Democrats kind of criticized him for saying you know his he worked a 36-hole workweek and the best president we have so far has handicapped skill as our current president he’s a people 1/8 handicapper but then JFK I mean JFK was a single-digit handicap as well people didn’t know that he played much golf mainly because the criticism for Eisenhower and then can be following him he didn’t advertise it but he certainly played a lot of golf as well in george george w bush stop playing golf after the Iraq war uh that’s right yeah he felt that he only played 24 rounds of golf with a ride on golf cart  during his presidency because he said it wouldn’t be right for him to be on the golf course while they were young men and women fighting a war overseas so it sounds like this the whole criticism of President spending time on the golf course it sounds like this is in no way a new thing a new thing back when Eisenhower was elected one of the first things he did was install a putting green in a bunker on the South Lawn of the White House Nixon did away with that but then when Clinton came into office he turned right around and put him back out there so yeah I mean you got to give him credit they’ve got to get away from the pressures of government on occasion maybe not 800 rounds of 1,200 rounds I know Clinton played a little around 400 rounds while he was in office and Obama if we took statistics I think he played three hundred and six rounds of golf he was impressive so you say that the the game began to die off around the war of 1812 did that have to do with it being associated with Great Britain was there was it the idea that that was somehow because I know there was a lot of anti-british sentiment after the war. 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