are on the Eagle - Snippets Page
are a few snippets of information about the game of golf:
Why wear a Golf Glove?
The Golf Ball - whats it made of?
Why 18 holes of Golf?
Where did "Birdie" originate?
The Chinese invented golf?
If you have a golf related question let
me know and I shall try to find out the answer for you.
wear a Golf Glove?
someone asks you why you wear a golf glove, what would you say? To
get a better grip on the club? If you were asked what do
you mean by "better", would you say: stronger? firmer? The
correct answer would be "looser". The key to
an effective golf swing is to have a flexible grip with just enough
pressure in the fingers to control the club. The words "just
enough" are critical. Too tight or too loose spell
disaster. What the glove does is allow you to place the least amount
of pressure on the grip while still retaining control!
the golf ball started
first known balls, used as early as the 1600s, were called featheries.
To make them, wet goose feathers were stuffed into a wet leather pouch
which was then sewn shut. As the feathers dried they would expand.
The surrounding leather, on the other hand, would shrink as it dried,
creating a hardened ball.
In 1848 a new ball hit the market, invented by the Rev. Robert Adams
Paterson, make from a solid piece of gutta percha, a natural gum from
While gutties were cheaper and more durable than featheries,
they didn't fly as far or as straight until it was discovered that
the more they were nicked and scarred, the longer and straighter they
went. Golf ball aerodynamics was born - and ball makers were soon
placng elaborate patterns of lines, dimples and other marking on balls
to see how they affected the balls.
By the turn of the century the three-piece or "wound"
ball became common. It consists of a solid rubber core wrapped
in rubber thread and encased in gutta percha. Soon after, covers were
made of balata, a sap-like substance from the South American balata
tree. Surface patterns continued to evolve until the dimple pattern
proved the most aerodynamic in the early 1900s.
In 1932, the USGA finally standardised the size and weight of the
ball to the current specifications: no more than 1.62 ounces in weight;
no less than 1.68 inches in diameter. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club
of St Andrews established different standards, calling for a smaller,
heavier ball. It wasn't until 1990 that the two bodies agreed on one
standard: 1.68 inches and 1.62 ounces.
may all be the same size and weight these days, but just about everything
else about them can vary as different materials and combinations of
aerodynamic featues are used. Every ball, however, is made of some
combination of these basic parts:
made of either Surlyn, which is a trade name for a group of thermoplastic
resins, or a chemical solution that simulates a softer, more expensive,
material known as balata. Some new designs call for two layers (double
covers). Usually white, balls come in many colours - orange balls,
all the rage in the early 1980's were supposedly easier to see. Covers
are generally more durable than those of a decade ago.
centre is either a solid piece made of rubber or thermoplastic compounds,
or a hollow sphere filled with liquid. Its size will vary.
These materials determine if a ball is "wound" or
"solid". The wound ball consists of thread windings. The
thread, pattern, length and tension of the windings vary from brand
to brand but most players use solid balls with one or more layers
of highly resilient compounds of rubber or other materials. The ingredients
and processing can make some balls look as if they have rings like
tree trunks do.
are there 18 holes instead of a round number of,
early as the 15th century, golfers at St Andrews established a route
by playing to holes that were dictated by topography. What emerged
was a course featuring 11 holes laid end-to-end from the clubhouse
to the far end of the property. Golfers played 22 holes - 11 out
and 11 in - until 1764 when several short holes were combined. That
reduced the number from 11 to nine, or 18 total.
clubs formally recognised the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St
Andrews as the rule-making body in the late 1890s, it became necessary
for many clubs to expand or reduce their courses to 18 holes.
the term "birdie" originated.
happened, so we are told, when a group of golfers from Philadelphia,
where courses were snowbound, were having a winter-match involving
8 players at the Atlantic Country Club in Northfield, New Jersey.
The year was 1906. At the 3rd, a par 4, one of the four unleashed
a second shot that finished inches from the cup. Another of the group,
A B Smith, exclaimed, "That was a bird of a shot".
From then on the group adopted the word to describe a score of one
under par and one of the group, Archie W Tillinghast, a golf course
architect who wrote about golf for a Philadelphia newspaper, made
it popular through his writings.
You can believe the story or not but the members back at the New Jersey
golf club have no doubts about its authenticity. Indeed the club has
recently been presented with a stone bearing a plaque inscribed: "On
this hole the term birdie originated in 1906" and the stone has
been placed beside the spot at which the term was said to have originated.
- made in China?
Chinese have claimed they invented golf. According to a leading
academic, the game was played there in 945AD - some 500 years before
the Scots, traditionally first struck a ball with a club.
Professor Ling Hongling said there are literary references to a
pastime called chuiwan-chui, meaning "to hit a ball" and
it is believed Genghis Khan's Mongol hordes took golf to Europe
centuries later. He also quoted a 10th century book in which a magistrate
orders his daughter to "dig goals in the ground so I might
drive the ball into them with a purposely-crafted stick".
The physical education expert backed his claims with two paintings
from the late 13th century, showing noblemen hitting balls into
holes with sticks that look remarkably like today's golf clubs.
Modern China's love affair with golf started only in the past 20
years but Professor Hongling said "When golf was recently introduced
to China people naturally assumed it was a foreign game. In fast,
this is contrary to the historical facts. Golf, as we know it today,
clearly originated in China".
claims are backed by historian Tom Ming, curator of Hong Kong's
Heritage Museum which is now staging an exhibition of the paintings.
"The game shown in these pictures is very similar to modern-day
golf" he said, "There is strong evidence that we, the
Chinese, invented the game."