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I'll never play golf anymore
by Rev. George Davidson MA of Hawick in 1897

I have climbed the Loan a hundred times
On the way to Vertish Hill;
The caddies I’ve met by St Mary’s chimes
And engaged them with right goodwill.
But now, alas! ’tis a hope that is past,
The game’s a perfect bore;
The strain on my brain can no longer last—-
I’ll never play golf any more.

I’ve a scarlet coat and all the rest,
I can polish my irons bright;
I can swing my club with infinite zest
In my bedroom by candle light.
But whenever I take my way to the hill,
And face the actual ball,
My nerve, my strength, and my fancied skill, .
Get a shock beyond recall.

I dreamed of taking tremendous drives,
And of reaching the green in one,
Going the round in "fours" and “fives,"
Till the eighteen holes were done.
But now, I have no heart for dreams,
My limbs are aching sore;
The silliest game, to me, it seems,
Is golf—and I’ll play no more.

I’ve watched crack hands drive off from the tee,
With envious eyes and soul;
They drove a long ball and they laughed with glee,
And in "two" lay close to the hole.
But I can’t do it; my ball won’t fly;
I’ve tried it so often before;
Could I do it but once, I would gladly die,
And never play golf any more!

To have my praise as a golfer sung,
I’ve started with wild desire ;
My cleek I have swung till lip and tongue
Were bitten and hot as fire.
I lifted the clods and I missed the ball,
And hoarsely yelled out "Fore!"
And now my sweetness is turned to gall—
I’ll never play golf any more.

I’ve scattered the balls like winter’s hail,
In bunker and burn and grass;
Up to the knees, and with anger pale,
I have plunged through the wild morass.
And few of those balls have I ever found.
I started with quite a store;
But as long as I live, another round
At golf—I’ll never play more.

I’ve smashed my clubs that looked so grand,
Brassy and bulger and spoon ;
Only the shafts are left in my hand,
And the heads have gone up to the moon.
I’ve ploughed the ground with furious sound,
As I tried to reduce my score;
On every spot my mark may be found,
But I’ll never play golf any more.

From Vertish Hill I’ve ta’en my last view
Of the landscape, in sorrowful mood;
To the greens and the glades I have murmured "Adieu!
And replaced all the turf I could.
Yet who knows? Perhaps to-morrow I’ll stand
With hope in my heart as of yore,
With a ball at the tee, and a bulger in hand,
Just to try the old game once more!

GOLF IN SCOTLAND – A Report by E.J. Guthrie dated 1885


Golf is an amusement said to be peculiar to Scotland. In Edinburgh, it has been a favourite pastime from time immemorial.

By a statute of King James II., it was prohibited that it might not interfere with the "weapon ..shawings.” These were assemblies of the populace in military array and properly armed, which were organised by the Sheriff of every county at least twice in the year.

Golf is commonly played on rugged ground covered with short grass upon the seashore, called Links. This popular pastime is usually played by parties of one or more on each side. Each person provides himself with balls and a set of clubs. The ball is extremely hard, and about the size of a tennis ball. The club with which the ball is usually struck is slender and elastic, crooked at the end, which is faced with horn, and headed with lead to render it heavy.

A set of clubs consists of five in number—a play club, a scraper, a spoon, an iron-headed club, and a short club called a putter. The second, third, and fourth of these are adopted for removing the ball from the various inconvenient positions into which it may come in the course of the game. The putter is used when a short stroke is intended. The game is played thus:-

Small holes are made in the ground at the distance of about a quarter of a mile from each other, and in such a direction as to encompass the whole field. The game is won by the party who lodges his balls in the different holes in succession with the fewest strokes. The art of the game consists, first, at the outset, in striking the ball to a great distance and in a proper direction so that it may rest upon smooth ground; secondly, and this is of the greatest importance, when near the hole so to proportionate the force and direction of the stroke, or putting, as it is called, that the ball may with a few strokes be driven into the hole.

Golf is a Scottish game of great antiquity. Although prohibited by James II., it was a popular pastime in the reign of James VI., who practised it himself while at Dunfermline, and introduced it afterwards at Blackheath, in Kent.

During his residence in Scotland, in 1641, Charles I. played golf on the links at Leith. His royal brother, James VII., was also devoted to this national sport.

The headquarters of golf is at St. Andrews; and the rules authorised by its club are adopted by all the other golfing societies throughout the country.


Return to History of Sports in Scotland


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