Golf lessons

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Golf dates back to 14th century Scotland, when windswept peasants stalked about the hills and glens with hooked sticks, smacking stones into rabbit holes. . .

The sport was extremely popular, as it was free and gave the Scots a welcome respite from dying from the plague. However, teeing off became problematic under the rule of spoilsport King James II. He decided that his people were spending far too much time on ‘gowf, ‘ as it was originally called, and not enough on practicing archery to combat the English invasion. James banned golf completely in 1457, setting down severe penalties for anyone who contravened his law.

However, the need to swing was strong in the Scots, who coolly risked their extremities for a round of their favourite sport. Subsequent royals lifted the ban and found that they quite enjoyed an outing with the clubs themselves – and why not, when they had serfs to shout, “Hoots, what a good shot, ma’am, ” when the ball went 20 yards off the mark. As the game developed, a universally accepted body of rules was established. Stroke play was introduced and in 1754, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club was established at St Andrews.

The sport eventually migrated to England and Wales and inevitably to Europe, North America and the rest of the world. The basic tenet of golf is to get your ball around an eighteen-hole course in the least amount of strokes possible. It is of course possible to try this for yourself without any previous tuition, but a few lessons before you start off will not go amiss.

Firstly, it is a good idea to get your head around the general rules and etiquette of golf, to avoid embarrassing incidents that lead to a lifetime ban. Learning how to swing, chip and putt and what club to use for different shots is also important. After all, there’s no point in knowing that canary yellow polo shirts should be matched with cavalry twill trousers if you can’t get your ball off the first tee.

There are numerous reasons for taking up golf – for example, you might want to improve your physical fitness or perhaps you have a spouse that you want to see less of. Whatever your grounds for taking it up are you’re sure to enjoy various benefits – plus you’ll get to wear a funky looking cap. . .

Frank Bolger

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