Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Origin of the word 'golf' is murky

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Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose.

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– Woodrow Wilson
(former Augustan)

Another Masters Week and another year that someone sends me a note suggesting the word ‘golf’ is derived from the misogynist anagram “Gentlemen Only; Ladies Forbidden.”

It’s not, of course.

The word is much older than that Victorian sentiment and its birth a bit more murky. The best guess, etymologists suggest, is it comes from an ancient European term for the club used in stick-and-ball games. Such pastimes were popular with the Scots, who also seemed to have enjoyed creative spelling and described it as goff, gowf, golf, goif, gof, gowfe, gouff and golve.

By the way, the first documented mention of our current word ‘golf’ shows up in 1457 when King James II banned “ye golf” because it was interferring with archery practice.

THE BIG STORY: We have a variety of Internet computer searches down here at News R Us that allow us to see what others are writing about Augusta for their newspapers. It helps spot trends. So what do you think the big story has been as Masters Week began?

Azaleas.

The warm winter and early spring sprung their blossoms weeks ago, and this seems to have stunned the nation’s sporting press, who favor the predictability of an NCAA bracket.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take faded blooms over a tornado any time.

ALLAN MEATH: I mentioned the passing last week of Allan Meath, former Chronicle advertising chief and Augusta Christmas Parade chairman. He died in California after a long and successful newspaper career.

Phil Gagnon, of Aiken, wrote: “I worked for Allan as a fledgling advertising salesman at The Chronicle in 1964. Believe me, he was an original! Brilliant, energetic, funny and tough. He majored in agriculture at Cornell before absconding to advertising and later publishing. Allan’s boss and mentor was Pat Rice, another hall of famer at The Chronicle. Together, they helped the paper to dominate the advertising industry in Augusta against all comers.”

And Larry Siciliano added this: “He hired me as an advertising rep while he was advertising director in Augusta. I’d probably still be a Canadian if he hadn’t.”

TODAY’S JOKE: Bill Wood, of Hephzibah, shares this.

An elderly gentleman was working out in the gym when he spotted a pretty young lady. He slipped over to a nearby trainer and asked, “Which machine should I use to impress that young woman there?”

The trainer looked at her, looked back at him and said, “The ATM in the lobby.”


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